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A trial using nurses being sent out to less urgent 999 calls has resulted in thousands of people avoiding trips to accident and emergency departments.
The initiative was trialled by the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust and ran between May 2018 and June 2019. It saw experienced nurses and paramedics in the new role of Urgent Care Practitioner.
The trial used 12 Urgent Care Practitioners which spent half their working week providing triage and advice via the telephone, while the other half was spent responding to less urgent call outs where they could either provide immediate treatment or refer to a relevant community health service.
The trial has now concluded and due to the success of the scheme, the ambulance service has continued with the initiative and now employs 18 Urgent Care Practitioners. There are also plans to further expand this.
Claire Carrie is an experienced A&E nurse and took on the role of Urgent Care Practitioner. She had this to say
“As nurses – and particularly with my background in A&E – we know what would be done in hospital and what wouldn’t be done and can be done in community settings.
Some patients do still have to go to hospital, but if someone just needs an X-ray we are aware of other facilities in the area that are able to X-ray and prevent that A&E admission.”
With reports that no A&E department hit the 4 hour waiting target in November 2019 any initiative that reduces the burden on emergency care is a positive step.
When departments are stretched to the limit, mistakes can creep in. Patients may not be checked as often as they should, important signs may be missed, and where the A&E department require diagnostics from other departments, delays could reduce survival chances of patients.
The specialist medical negligence solicitors at Blackwater Law have experience in dealing with NHS trusts where negligence has resulted in physical injury or requiring further treatment. If you believe you have a valid delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis claim, them please contact us to discuss your case.