New divert policy

A Local Divert Policy, launched by North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (NDCCG) is being put in place to help reduce pressures in relation to ambulance conveyances arriving at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust’s University Hospital of North Durham (UHND).

From 13 April 2015, when one of two trigger points occur, North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) may divert patients away from UHND, instead taking them to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Gateshead.

All key partners, including NEAS, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) and Gateshead Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, have been involved in developing the policy.

NEAS will take overall responsibility for co-ordination of the policy, ensuring appropriate discussion about potential diverts takes place with senior staff within UHND and the QEH in Gateshead.

They will arrange, where appropriate, ambulance diverts from UHND to QEH and keep a record of the conversations, reasons for any diverts and report on agreed Key Performance Indicators back to NDCCG to enable monitoring of the service.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust will take part in conversations about potential diverts, accept agreed diverts into their new Emergency Care Centre and to an inpatient bed where necessary and manage the patients’ acute care. They will manage the discharge process linking in with community based teams including Intermediate Care Plus, Continuing Health Care, Social Services and patients’ own GPs.

CDDFT will take part in conversations with NEAS about potential diverts and facilitate actual diverts where necessary.

The policy is only applicable to patients aged 18 and over and does not apply to a number of groups of patients. These are paediatrics, stroke, critical care, maternity and vascular patients.

It will be in operation for a two-year period and will be subject to robust monitoring and review throughout.

Petrina Smith, Head of Contracting, said: “Queuing ambulances creates pressure on our system by preventing us from getting to more patients, and means patients are waiting longer to be seen.

“North Durham CCG’s policy is designed to relieve pressures on UHND and help us at the same time. It will also mean we’re able to give a better quality of care to our patients.”

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