Collaborative scheme launched in Hertfordshire to help patients be seen more quickly and reduce ambulance delays

Published: 3rd November 2022

Central London Healthcare Community Trust (CLCH) is working with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) and the Hertfordshire & West Essex Integrated Care Board to deliver a new approach that will see patients getting the help they need more quickly.

New ways of integrated working and new digital systems have been put in place to allow 999 ambulance referrals to be sent directly to the Rapid Response service run by CLCH.

This means that, where appropriate, people will be seen sooner in their own home by the right healthcare practitioner rather than requiring an ambulance and/or going to hospital – saving hours of delays and in many cases providing a more tailored approach to their care.

The new approach includes access for CLCH to EEAST’s lower priority cases, and ‘clinical conversations’ – where EEAST paramedics identify appropriate patients and discuss with local health teams if their care can be transferred to a community service. This potentially eliminates the need for patients to go to emergency departments for assessment and further treatment, and helps to avoid complications that can arise from long waits for an ambulance and admission to hospital.

The Rapid Response service enables onward referral and follow up within community services to be made, helping people to get the ongoing healthcare they need to stay well and maintain greater independence in their own home.

 John Harle, Hertfordshire Unplanned Care CBU Manager, Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said:  

“This exciting new approach means that patients who have fallen or have minor illnesses or injuries in their own home, and who would otherwise require an ambulance, can be seen quickly by the community teams to avoid unnecessary trips to hospital. Community practitioners make sure the patient’s home environment is safe, resolve any immediate issues and, if needed, can refer them directly to another CLCH or neighbouring community team to make sure they get the follow up care they need. This means people can stay living independently in their own homes and get back to doing the things they enjoy.”

EEAST chief executive Tom Abell said:

“We believe this will deliver real benefits for patients in getting them the help they need. 

“This will help free up our dedicated people to see patients who most need our care and help reduce pressure on hospitals, reducing handover delays at emergency departments. Emergency patients with time critical care will always be taken straight to hospital for treatment.”

“We are rolling out this approach across our region to improve care for patients.”   

Herts and West Essex ICS Director of Operations Elizabeth Disney said:

“When people dial 999 we recognise that we must meet their needs rapidly and effectively.  This innovative partnership arrangement and new way of working has shown us that this is possible at the same time as reducing waiting times at the Emergency Department and increasing the number of ambulances available to respond to the most urgent cases. 

“We are very pleased with the results of the pilot and are working through the necessary arrangements for the service to continue. 

“We look forward to continuing this work and finding further solutions that best meet the needs of patients.”

Erin and Avril Rapid Response.jpg

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