North West Ambulance Service set up urgent care project to cut the number of people going to hospital

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Ambulance chiefs have hailed a scheme to cut the number of people going to hospital a success.

Hundreds of people have avoided a trip to hospital thanks to the new service, which aims to provide patients with the right care closer to home.

North West Ambulance Service's Urgent Care Practitioners

North West Ambulance Service's Urgent Care Practitioners

Earlier this year, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) set up a new urgent care project.

It sees a team of 12 nurses and paramedics, working from specially equipped vehicles, treating patients at home – and referring them to other local services if required – when people have dialled 999 but do not need to go to hospital.

Nurses have been working for NWAS for several years but this is the first time they have been employed in a role responding to patients. So far, 72 per cent of patients treated this way got the care they needed without going to hospital by ambulance.

The pilot scheme is thought to have saved more than 1,000 ambulance journeys during a 90 day period, almost 68 full days of emergency ambulance time.

Mark Newton, NWAS assistant director of transformation, said the findings were “really encouraging” and helped keep resources free “to respond more quickly to life-threatening emergencies”.