Ambulance service receives 261 calls in a year from just one private address in Ipswich

Paramedics treat woman following horse fall

Paramedics treat woman following horse fall

More than 250 emergency calls for paramedic assistance were made from just one private address in Ipswich last year, prompting calls for better co-ordination between services to help vulnerable people.

The 261 calls was the highest number to come from a single address in Suffolk or Essex in 2014, according figures released following a Freedom of Information request to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST).

Of those calls, 39 resulted in a response from the EEAST, placing strain on a service which regularly fails to meet government targets.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter, who is also a health minister, said the repeat callers may have problems with mental health or substance abuse. He suggested it was not appropriate for the ambulance service to be dealing with such a high volume of calls when other agencies may be better suited.

“This calls for better co-ordination between all of our health services in Suffolk and the East of England,” he added.

“The ambulance service should be working closely with hospitals and GPs to share information about vulnerable patients so we can get better care and support from the appropriate services.”

EEAST said it worked alongside clinical commissioning groups, social services and GPs to ensure the right care was offered, often without an ambulance.

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“By working with our partners we aim to provide the right social care and ultimately try to remove the need for a call to be made,” a spokesman added.

Dr Poulter also highlighted the Government’s Troubled Families programme, co-ordinated by Suffolk County Council, as an example of how partnership working could reduce the strain and costs on services while helping vulnerable people.

In Suffolk, 1,150 troubled families were identified in 2011, which were costing the taxpayer an estimated £75,000 a year.

Stuart Hudson, Troubled Families co-ordinator at Suffolk Family Focus, said partnership working could help reduce the strain.

“What the Troubled Families programme looks to do is make sure the responses are joined up and that all agencies are working together in a constructive way so that causes of the problem are identified,” he added.

Further calls have been made to educate people better about when it is appropriate to call 999.

Annie Topping, chief executive for Healthwatch Suffolk, said that when frontline services are under pressures there is a responsibility to use the ambulance service only for genuine emergencies.

“Our recent survey work with the Trust has highlighted that people do not always have a good understanding about when it is appropriate to call for an ambulance and under what circumstances they might access other services such as NHS 111,” she added.

“This suggests the current system for public education is ineffective.”

“We believe that there are changes the wider system can make to support people better in their local community when care is needed.”

Some responses involve an ambulance others may be passed to the Clinical Support Desk, which is manned by nurses or paramedics who assess some less serious calls.

The address from where the calls were made has not been published.

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