New ambulance system to be launched

A PIONEERING new computer system designed to ease pressures on the region's hospitals will be officially launched next week. NSC-CAMS is a web-based system which measures bed capacity and patient activity at all eight acute hospitals in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

A PIONEERING new computer system designed to ease pressures on the region's hospitals will be officially launched next week.

NSC-CAMS is a web-based system which measures bed capacity and patient activity at all eight acute hospitals in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

The system will give information to ambulance control and hospitals on bed spaces and the number of patients bound for each hospital, enabling an accurate picture of where pressure is building.

Project manager Christine Ames said: "It will mean hospitals can ask the ambulance service to route some of the less seriously ill or injured patients to a nearby hospital where there is more capacity to treat them.

"It's about using a whole systems approach to equalise the pressure on the NHS across the whole area, which will be better for patients and better for the hospitals."

In December The Evening Star revealed how ambulances faced more delays at Ipswich Hospital than any other in the region, with around a quarter having to wait more than half an hour before they could leave.

Most Read

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital, said the situation had improved but the hospital was still extremely busy.

She said: "It is a very variable picture. We can be calm at 10am and frantically busy at 3pm. What this system allows us to do is work as a team to ease the pressures and the hospital warmly welcomes it."

There will be strict criteria laid down for which patients can and cannot be routed to a hospital other than the nearest - no-one seriously ill or injured can be re-routed and the extra journey time to the alternative hospital should not be more than about 15 minutes.

Family will always be informed of the decision, to prevent them going to the wrong hospital.

Ms Ames said: "It makes sense to harness the overall capacity of our regional NHS for everyone's benefit, and we don't anticipate large numbers of patients being affected."

The NSC-CAMS system is due to be launched on April 25.

Do you think the new system is a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk