Can new rapid ambulance reduce 'inequality' of response times?

Terry Hicks, head of operations for EEAST

Terry Hicks, head of operations for EEAST. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The introduction of a new rapid ambulance vehicle is being aimed at reducing "patient inequality" when it comes to response times in Fakenham and the surrounding area. 

The rapid response vehicle (RRV), a blue-light car staffed by an advanced paramedic, is being rolled out on a three-month trial.

The new RRV, a blue light car, which is staffed with an advanced paramedic, is starting a six-month trial

The new RRV, a blue light car, which is staffed with an advanced paramedic, is starting a six-month trial. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

It will be based in Fakenham as the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) looks to tackle longer response times in communities stretching up to Wells and along the coast. 

Terry Hicks, head of operations for EEAST, hopes to see emergencies in the area being responded to in a much faster time. 

“What we're looking to do is reduce the inequality of patient outcomes and patient response time so we can improve on what we've previously done,” he said.

“Patients wait a long time out here and it's not right.

Terry Hicks, head of operations for EEAST

Terry Hicks, head of operations for EEAST. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

"We absolutely want to get the best outcome for all of our patients, regardless of where they are, and this is one way of doing that.”

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The core principle of the RRV is to reach patients more quickly than would be possible in a regular ambulance 

It will, primarily, be attending 'category one' call-outs, which include cardiac arrests, drowning incidents, imminent births and situations where patients are unconscious or having difficulty breathing. 

The paramedic will assist patients immediately and, if necessary, transfer them to the next available ambulance for transportation to hospital. 

Tom Abell, chief executive of EEAST.

Tom Abell, chief executive of EEAST. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Tom Abell, chief executive of EEAST, said the vehicle’s impact will be reviewed on a monthly basis. 

“The national standard for the most time-critical and most life-threatening calls is that we should be with the patient within about seven minutes," said Mr Abell.

"We'll be measuring things against that standard and saying 'are we making an impact on that?'

The new RRV, a blue light car, which is staffed with an advanced paramedic, is starting a six-month trial

The new RRV, a blue light car, which is staffed with an advanced paramedic, is starting a six-month trial. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

"Clearly, at the moment it is longer than seven minutes and that's partly why we've put the vehicle here - to try and tackle that.

“If we improve response times, get better patient outcomes so we save lives and patients don't have to go to the hospital - and they report a good experience of the service - then it'll be something we'll look to continue."

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