GP ambulance scheme saves NHS millions

By Ian Dipple Monday 07 April 2014 Updated: 08/04 12:20

MORE than 2,000 people have been kept out of the county's A&E departments and over £2.5million saved from the NHS budget by having doctors travelling in the back of ambulances.

Worcestershire's three clinical commissioning groups have been using the scheme since October 2012 which involves having GPs joining paramedics to answer 999 calls, when it is felt a patient would be better cared for by them than in hospital.

In the last 17 months more than 2,900 emergency calls have been dealt with in this way, preventing more than 2,300 A&E attendances, freeing up hospital beds and ambulance crews to deal with life-threatening calls. The scheme was recently presented to other health organisations at an urgent care conference in Manchester.

Dr Nikki Burger, urgent care clinical lead for South Worcestershire CCG, said: "This scheme has gone from strength to strength since its launch. The pressures on emergency services are being felt all over the country and we have been really proud of the results that have been achieved in reducing numbers attending A&E."

Michelle Brotherton, general manager at West Midlands Ambulance Service, added: "The use of GPs in this way has been the right thing to do for patients, not all of whom need to go to A&E. The duty GPs also provide sound clinical advice to ambulance staff which, in turn, increases their confidence when seeking appropriate alternative places for treatments."

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