Surge in call-outs for ambulance service’s expert medics

Air ambulance paramedics help at the scene of an incident. Air ambulance paramedics help at the scene of an incident.

Thursday, May 8, 2014
8:24 AM

Expert medics are increasingly being sent to deal with emergencies in Norfolk, as specialist teams take the place of more traditional ambulances, new figures have revealed.

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Statistics released by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust show there has been a big increase in the use of doctors, air ambulance crews, hazardous area response teams and advanced paramedics to help seriously injured casualties.

The changes have come about because, in 2011, the service launched a critical care desk, which makes a judgement on each 999 call which comes in across the eastern region.

That team of clinical dispatchers monitors the emergency calls and decides whether the likes of the hazardous area response team (HART), volunteer doctors or the air ambulance would be best equipped to help.

Last year, senior medics were sent out to 6,195 incidents in the eastern region, compared with 5,290 in 2012/13 - a hike of almost a thousand.

The ambulance trust said most of the incidents attended were road traffic crashes, patients having heart attacks and those who had fallen over.

Air ambulance crews are now dispatched about 270 times each month, compared with an average of 190 in 2011, while the activity of HART teams and volunteer doctors also increasing.

Ambulance bosses said those teams can take hospital treatment to patients quickly and administer key drugs. The HART team has a specialist Polaris off road buggy.

Chris Martin, critical care desk lead Chris Martin said: “We’re focused on using the skills we have at our disposal to their full potential and therefore giving our patients the best care possible.

“These teams have increased their availability and we’re monitoring incidents 24/7 to treat more patients than ever.”

The region has five helicopter emergency medical services and volunteer doctors from the British Association for Immediate Care Scheme (BASICS) covering the area.

The statistics come against a backdrop where the East of England Ambulance Service has come in for severe criticism.

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