Providing an emergency response
To respond to emergency 999 calls, getting medical help to patients who have life-threatening injuries or illnesses as quickly as possible.
In 2010, we handled around 454,723 emergency and urgent calls and attended about 385,646 incidents. In addition, 18,769 calls received telephone advice from our clinical support desks. Every time we receive a 999 call, our staff record the relevant details and use information about the nature of the patient's illness or injury to ensure they are sent the right medical help.
Our call handlers and dispatchers (emergency response assistants and emergency response co-ordinators) use software to categorise the call.
From April 2011, life-threatening calls are classified as RED calls.
We have a range of highly skilled staff who will treat our patients including:
- Emergency care assistants
- Emergency care practitioners
- BASICS doctors
- Community first responders
- Clinical support desk operators staffed by clinicians.
The Trust is required to meet Government set targets for Red calls. These targets state that we must reach:
RED8 indicates a performance target for an emergency response to reach the incident with 8 minutes from the time the call is connected to the ambulance emergency control centre.
National target is to respond to 75% of all these calls within 8 minutes.
RED19 indicates a performance target for a conveying response (ambulance or rapid response vehicle) to reach the incident within 19 minutes from the time the call is connected to the ambulance emergency control centre.
National target is to respond to 95% of all these calls within 19 minutes.
Responding to less serious calls
We receives a large number of calls from patients who do not require an emergency response as they do not have a serious or life-threatening conditions. They can often receive more appropriate care somewhere other than at hospital.
Clinical Telephone advice
One of the alternative pathways for treatment is clinical telephone advice provided by one of the experienced nurses within the emergency operations centre. If a call is identified as other than life threatening or serious, one of our nurses will contact the patient and carry out a further assessment.
Following the assessment they then offer the best course of treatment, this may be care possible at home, being referred to a doctor, pharmacy or a walk in centre or an ambulance being sent.
Emergency Care Practitioners
Some of the calls that are referred to the nurses require medical treatment at home; however this may not be the emergency skills of a paramedic or technician. The Trust has a number of emergency care practitioners (ECPs), ECPs are paramedics with additional skills in the areas of physical assessment, clinical decision making and advanced treatment of minor injuries and illnesses. This allows them to treat patients in the comfort of their home or to be referred to another pathway of care.
We have a very successful Commercial Department, which has Board representation and an approved strategy to generate income through the provision of:
- Patient Transport Services, including excellent bariatric capabilities
- Logistics Services - delivering and collecting items such as medical records, pathology specimens, patient medical records and mail; and providing a staff shuttle service in East Berkshire
- GP Out of Hours - Call Handling and GP driving services
- Commercial Training - First Aid at work and Emergency First Aid courses, including Advanced Levels