Two new roles have been introduced by North East Ambulance Service in a bid to provide a better service for both patients and staff on the front line.
The new Emergency Care Clinical Managers (ECCMs) role offers a new level of paramedic line management dedicated to staff support and welfare, clinical supervision, leadership and coaching.
Altogether there are 53 ECCMs throughout the trust but, until more paramedics are recruited, only 16 will be coming off the road to undertake their role 100% of the time; the rest will divide their time between their new role and operational shifts.
Since their introduction in April, they are already having a positive effect on the front line.
Figures show that between April 2014 and January 2015, the service responded to 13,576 more Category A red emergencies than in the same period last year – an increase in 9.7 per cent.
Over that same period, NEAS was able to treat over 7,000 more patients without the need to transport them to hospital.
NEAS believes even more patients could be saved from unnecessary trips to hospital – and the introduction of 12 Advanced Practitioners (APs) aims to do just that.
The project comes as part of the trust’s plans to integrate emergency care and transport.
APs come from either a paramedic or nursing background and will respond to both life-threatening and non-life-threatening calls, operating in a rapid response vehicle.
They will treat patients at home where possible and prescribe medication where necessary, refer them to another NHS provider such as a GP or community service or, if they need transporting, call upon the services of a new crew with mixed emergency care and patient transport skills, to convey them to the most appropriate service.
Paul Liversidge, Chief Operating Officer, said: “NEAS is committed to excellence in clinical care, quality and safety, in the right place, at the right time.
“The AP project will provide a better service for patients throughout the North East by saving them from an unnecessary trip to A&E, while at the same time helping improve delays felt in our local hospitals. It will also upskill our paramedic workforce by providing another step up on their career ladder.
“Our ECCMs, meanwhile, are already having a positive effect on our workforce, providing necessary support and leadership to our frontline staff.
“We’re excited to be introducing these new roles and look forward to seeing the results.”