Under a major care revolution plan, half of people in London who call 999 will be treated at the scene of an emergency and not be taken to hospital. The reason behind this, – London Ambulance Service (LAS) wants to reduce the number of patients that are sent to accident and emergency departments in an effort to speed up treatment especially for critical cases and save the NHS around £36.5 million a year. Patients suffering from heart attacks, strokes or major trauma will be prioritized.
According to some sources, this ploy aims to ensure the best possible care. It is projected that in 5 years, the number of patients being conveyed to the hospital will fall from 63% to 53%. The intent is to work “smarter and better” leveraging on technological advances. Frontline staff have iPads wherein they are empowered to access patient records, share photographs and hold video consultations with colleagues based in “clinical hubs”.
LAS chief executive Garrett Emmerson said the objective was to “transform” the service, which was upgraded last week to “good” by NHS inspectors. He added: “This will both improve the speed and quality of the care we provide and reduce pressure on the wider system.”
But not everyone is happy about this new plan. Malcolm Alexander, chairman of the LAS Patients’ Forum said: ‘’If you have an 80-year-old who has fallen but not broken her hip, the idea is that the paramedic will be able to phone up someone who will provide alternative care. Without evidence that there is an alternative system available, there are considerable risks to patient safety.”