By Connie Osborne Friday 30 November 2012 Updated: 03/12 09:52
A NEW pilot scheme aimed at easing the pressure on A&E will see GPs join ambulance crews on emergency calls to assess patients at the scene.
Around 30 GPs from across Worcestershire will respond in their own cars to emergency calls referred to them by West Midlands Ambulance Service.
They will decide if the patient needs to be admitted to hospital or if they can receive treatment then and there.
The project is part of an action plan to reduce the demand at the Worcestershire Royal and Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and has been introduced following fears the hospitals will not cope over the winter period.
Demand in A&E is currently 12 per cent higher than last year and November has been worst hit due to winter pressures and the impact of the Norovirus outbreak.
Chiefs at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which has teamed up with clinical commissioning groups in the county to trial the scheme, said at a board meeting on Wednesday (November 28) they hoped it would tackle issues with patients unnecessarily admitting themselves to A&E and in turn ease pressures on hospital staff, improve financial burdens and support the ambulance service.
Dr Jonathan Leach, medical director at NHS Worcestershire, said: “The three clinical commissioning groups in Worcestershire are spending tens of thousands of pounds on this major initiative and it’s brilliant.”
Chief operating officer Stewart Messer added the scheme had been used by other organisations before and showed significant signs of being successful.
In other areas, out of 100 people assessed by a doctor on an emergency call, only eight needed to be taken to hospital.
A raft of further measures are also being introduced with the help of the PCT and clinical commissioning groups.
Penny Venables, chief executive of the acute trust, said: “These include things like GPs working closely with ambulance services and work with nursing homes sending GPs to assess people and say ‘you don’t have to go to hospital and I can help you instead’.”
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