The Government is planning to create a specialist paramedic team to treat non-urgent injuries and ailments outside hospital to cut down ambulance waiting times and the number of islanders admitted to A&E.
The Government has allocated £100,000 of funding to develop a business case for the team as part of a £17m investment to improve islanders’ wellbeing, mental and physical health.
Announced as part of the Government Plan 2022-2025, the project will see the ambulance activity and call data from recent years analysed to identify when specialist paramedics could have been called in instead of a double crewed ambulance.
A workforce review will be carried out to help identify the Service’s needs and the best way to help meet or reduce the increasing demand on emergency ambulances.
Pictured: The aim is to reduce the number of patients admitted to the Emergency Department.
Dr Anuschka Muller, the Director of Improvement for Health and Community Services, explained a specialist paramedic team would be able to respond to “less critical calls” and would be trained to treat patients on site.
“That’s not available at the moment so that would be really beneficial,” she said. “This funding would help improve waiting time performance and help reduce the number of patients who are transported to hospital.”
The move was prompted by a rise in demand for ambulance services over the last year, which current resources cannot meet.
Data recently released following a request from Express under the Freedom of Information Law showed the average waiting times for 'Green 2' and 'Green 3' calls - described as “less urgent” problems requiring assessment and possibly transport or referral to alternative services - have increased since 2016 from 7:28 and 09:51 minutes respectively to 10:32 and 24:11 minutes for 2021 so far.
The maximum response times for these type of calls, which include falls with limited or no injury, incidents where social care is required, minor illness such as coughs and colds, and minor injuries, have also increased over the last five years - particularly since 2020 - with a maximum of five hours and 46 minutes recorded in May 2021.
Pictured: The recent rise in demand is related to “lower acuity symptoms” such as general ill feeling, minor breathing difficulty, coughs and cold type symptoms.
A spokesperson for the Justice and Home Affairs Department explained that the recent rise in demand related to “lower acuity symptoms” such as general ill feeling, minor breathing difficulty, coughs and cold type symptoms.
They added that the ambulance service had received a higher number of calls as the number of covid-19 cases surged in the island.
“We believe the calls are being generated through the fear which still exists in the community in relation to covid-19, although thankfully due to the successful rollout of the vaccination programme we are seeing very few seriously ill patients,” they said.
“Concern going forward is that with further easing of restrictions, alongside relaxation amongst the public with general hygiene/ social distancing compliance, we will continue to see calls being received for covid related symptoms for some time to come. This will be alongside the return to normal volumes seen by our service, with the combination resulting in an increased demand.”
In addition to considering the creation of a new paramedic team, the Government is also planning on spending up to £1.3m on the replacement of Emergency and Urgent Care Vehicles.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.