Nurse to take ambulance strain

A SPECIALLY trained nurse is set to take up residence in the ambulance emergency control room.From the Spring the nurse will be able to give medical advice about more minor calls to leave the ambulances free to get to more serious ones on time.

A SPECIALLY trained nurse is set to take up residence in the ambulance emergency control room.

From the Spring the nurse will be able to give medical advice about more minor calls to leave the ambulances free to get to more serious ones on time.

At the moment an ambulance goes to every call with lights and sirens whether it is a serious road accident or to someone who turns out to be suffering the symptoms of a common cold.

Emergency calls to the East Anglian Ambulance Trust have doubled in the last seven years and the move has been taken for the nurse to be able to assist with the increase.


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Craig Cooke, distribution manager for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust, said it will increase the choice of options for patients with urgent, but not life threatening, conditions

Although the Trust is currently meeting its response time performance targets, partly thanks to extra investment in the service by Primary Care Trusts, the extra activity places increased pressure on staff in control and on the road.

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Mr Cooke said: "It makes much more sense to focus our energies on those calls we know we have to reach quickly, while taking some of the pressure out of the system by better responding to the minority of calls which clearly do not require an ambulance response but would benefit from professional nurse advice.

"It is also sometimes not in the best interests of the patient to send an ambulance out to them. In rural areas they will often face a 20 to 30 minute journey to hospital, followed by a wait in an accident and emergency department, when their condition could have been treated more appropriately in the Primary Care setting.

"This type of situation is clearly better for the patient and better for the health service."

Mr Cooke stressed that the ambulance service was not trying to put people off ringing 999, rather attempting to match the type of response to the need.

He said: "We recognise that the vast majority of callers believe they have a genuine medical need when they ring us. But what we can do better is provide the correct response to their call rather than a blanket ambulance response."

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