Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A New Era for A&E Support; Heeding the Call: The LAS Is Placing More Emphasis on Its Urgent Care Service

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A New Era for A&E Support; Heeding the Call: The LAS Is Placing More Emphasis on Its Urgent Care Service

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH RICHARDSON

THE London Ambulance Service (LAS) is moving away from aone-size-fits-all service to one that ensures all patients get care tailored totheir needs. While many of the 1.2 million calls received by LAS's EmergencyOperations Centre last year were genuine emergencies, the service believes thatin most cases, patients' needs are not best served by the traditional responseof an emergency ambulance with blue lights and sirens.

LAS estimates that only one in 10 calls they receive is to someone in alife-threatening condition and these are classified as category A and B calls.

This is why it is placing more emphasis on the development of its Urgent CareService, which deals with those patients who do not have life-threateninginjuries or illnesses, and operates with staff trained to treat patients intheir homes.

A&E support is at the heart of the service's aim to provide an increased rangeof responses when a 999 call is made. By taking on the workload of as manycategory C calls as possible, A&E support staff are freeing up the frontline toattend to category A and B..

Pat Tomkies and Chris Roast, based in Edmonton, joined A & E support in itsearly beginnings after working a total of more than 23 years between them inthe Patient Transport Service.

"Our job is to respond to calls that are less seriousabdominal pains, falls, back pains and taking patients to hospices," explainsChris. "We get called to people of all agesa baby of 18 months with a temperature, through to a lady of 109 fallen out ofbed."

Pat and Chris get great rewards from their role. On the first call of a recentshift, for example, they attended to a sick 96-year-old woman who was quitefrightened about having to leave her home for hospital. Pat and Chris spent 25minutes with her and her concerned family, reassuring her and making hercomfortable.

The call didn't need the clinical skills of a paramedic, nor an ambulance withflashing blue lights. In fact, no treatment was needed for her, she just neededkindness, concern and a safe trip to the hospital.

Chris explains: "With someone who has fallen in the home, for example, you'renot going to be in and out in 10 minutes. …

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