Three exciting things happening in Essex

Date: 08 June 2018

It’s been a busy week for the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) in Essex, with the launch of exciting new programmes in the county.


In the south-west, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital NHS Trust, NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and EEAST have launched the ‘Red Bag scheme’ with 28 care homes. Each care home will have three red bags to send with patients when they are taken to A&E by ambulance.

When a resident becomes unwell and is assessed as needing hospital care, care home staff pack a dedicated ‘Red Bag’ that includes the resident’s standardised paperwork, their medication, as well as day-of-discharge clothing and other personal items. Similar schemes have been introduced across the UK with great success.

It’s a fantastic example of one initiative helping to improve communication between care homes and hospitals, at all points of the resident’s journey. This is a simple change which facilitates a smoother handover between care home, the ambulance crews and the hospital staff.


On Monday, we

launched a new early intervention Vehicle (EIV) for patients in Colchester and Tendring. If they have fallen or are unwell and call 999 but who may not need an ambulance, they will be responded to by an EEAST clinician and a local occupational therapist, with access to a community nurse.

The team will provide support to patients in their home, with the aim of preventing a hospital admission or a trip to A&E, as well as making referrals for extra health and social care support where necessary.

It comes following the success of similar pilot schemes taking place in Norfolk and Hertfordshire, where these vehicles have helped to reduce the number of patients admitted to hospital after a fall.

Glenn Young, Sector Head for Suffolk and North Essex for EEAST said: “One in five of all 999 calls to the ambulance service are to patients who have suffered a fall. Getting an assessment there and then from a range of healthcare professionals means a better patient experience - and they are supported to stay in their own homes. We will also use the vehicle to respond to patients that benefit from earlier support, who have not fallen but who are still unwell – especially those with terminal conditions or with complex needs.”



more than £1 million has been invested in a new community service to support people to stay in their own home rather than going to hospital.

The local NHS has introduced ‘SWIFT’ as part of a wider investment in out-of-hospital’ services in south-east Essex by NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG.  The new SWIFT service will see a team of nurses and care assistants support people in their own homes.

The service is aimed at people who might be having a flare up of a long term condition or have an infection that isn’t getting better, which would usually result in a stay in hospital. This can now be safely avoided with the additional support that the SWIFT team can provide in people’s homes.   

The new community team will visit patients within two hours of receiving a referral from a GP practice, district nurse or community long-term conditions team and the ambulance team (EEAST) to stabilise their immediate health need.



All of these schemes have one overall purpose: to provide a better patient experience for the people of Essex. Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard on bringing them to fruition!


  • Summary:

    It’s been a busy week for the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) in Essex, with the launch of exciting new programmes in the county.