Experts on the end of a phone improve patient care

Date: 29 March 2019

Rita Bains, team leader with the Emergency Clinical Triage Team, at work at Bedford EOC.

It can be scary being ill or injured.

At the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust we understand that sometimes when people call 999 for an ambulance, they don’t actually need an ambulance response.

In some cases reassurance and clinical advice are enough to ensure the patient receives appropriate care and treatment. That can involve a friend or relative safely taking them to A&E or to another care provider or the person following our self-care tips.

That’s the idea behind the trust’s hugely successful emergency clinical advice and triage centre (ECAT). This allows our ambulances to reach our higher need patients  more quickly.

Depending on the time of day, 6-15 paramedics, emergency care practitioners and nurses are on duty to triage some of the 999 calls coming into one of our three control rooms.

Sandra Treacher, Senior Operations Centre Manager for Clinical Services, said: “Around 350 calls per day are triaged by our clinicians and clinical managers.  

"They range in need from someone with a cut finger, dislocated shoulder or a minor illness to patients with serious long term conditions. Whatever the problem, we ensure that our patients receive the right response at the right time.”

  • Summary:

    At the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust we understand that sometimes when people call 999 for an ambulance, they don’t actually need an ambulance response.