A&E is not always the answer

A South Western Ambulance Service crew at work. Picture: David Rogers.

A South Western Ambulance Service crew at work. Picture: David Rogers. - Credit: Archant

South Western Ambulance Service launches new scheme that will reduce unnecessary hospital trips.

SOUTH Western Ambulance Service Trust will be explaining its new Right Care initiative and offering free health checks on Thursday this week (Feb 21) at Atlantic Village in Bideford from 9am-4pm.

It says dialling 999 need not mean a trip to hospital; instead patients may receive advice, be pointed towards alternative healthcare services or taken directly to the most appropriate treatment centre.

The service says it wants to reduce unnecessary A and E admissions but make sure patients get appropriate care.

It says it has more resources available now and is working with healthcare providers to open up more options and new referral pathways for our patients, be this via minor injuries units, community nurses, hospices or specific hospital wards.


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The trusr said admissions to emergency departments have increased over the last decade, despite the resident population remaining near constant and ambulance services are often left with little option but to convey patients there, regardless of their complaint and the appropriateness of the referral.

The event on Thursday will include stands by the Bideford Minor Injuries Unit promoting the services which are available, such as the Choose Well Campaign, Devon Doctors and the North Devon Hospice.

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Clinicians will be on hand to carry out free health checks and explain what Right Care is all about.

“This does not mean that previously an ambulance would have been sent to every 999 call and subsequently conveying to A&E, we do however have more resources available to us now,” said Suzie Marshall, Right Care co-ordinator.

“This is something the South Western Ambulance Service has always done and done well, however as I say we have not always had the pathways available to us.”

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