The Clinical Hub at North East Ambulance Service is being expanded to include specialist assessment and advice.
Call handlers assess patients calling 999 and NHS111 using the NHS Pathways triage system, which is designed for a person who is not clinically trained.
They are supported by the Trust’s Clinical Hub, made up of specialist and advanced paramedic practitioners and, nurse practitioners. As well as providing advice to call handlers, the clinicians are also available to support patients who are waiting for an ambulance and arrange appropriate alternative transport where safe and appropriate to do so.
NHS commissioners have invested in an integrated urgent care clinical hub, expanding the current service to support patients who may not benefit from the current assessment process, but need the more specialised assessment a skilled clinician can give. This is expected to particularly support those patients seeking referrals to mental health, dental health and pharmacies.
The Trust is now also in the process of recruiting GPs on a sessional basis, predominantly out of hours, to offer NHS111 patients advice over the phone, with the aim of treating and discharging them over the phone and avoiding the need to attend another service.
GP Dr Mathew Beattie, Urgent Care Medical Lead at NEAS, said: “Having GPs in our Operations Centre has the potential to offer a much smoother experience to healthcare over the telephone or referral to another NHS provider in a timely manner. The future of urgent and emergency care is in greater integration of skills and services, like this.
“As a regional provider and the organisation at the heart of implementing the urgent and emergency care review, we work in close partnership with the wider NHS across the North East to deliver a seamless urgent and emergency care service. We already deliver effective and high performing 111 and 999 services. Our ambition is to lead the way in the design and delivery of urgent and emergency care, utilising the clinical hub as the driver for improved demand management”.