Patients the priority, as NEAS reviews accident and emergency provision

Changes would give North East more vehicles and staff

A new structure has been proposed by NEAS to treat patients needing accident and emergency care, as demand on the service continues to rise.

The new proposals would mean relocating some ambulances across the region to meet current anf future demand on services.

An expanded, non-emergency tier is also being proposed to respond to urgent care patients who are not 999 emergencies but still require a level of clinical care during transfers between hospitals or transport at the request of GPs.

999

The proposal would see an increase of 67 additional staff and nine additional ambulances across the North East from those currently in post to continue to meet response time targets and improved quality care indicators for patients.

Paul Liversidge, Director of Operations, said: "Our objective is to ensure a paramedic is sent to every 999 patient who needs one; that there are more front line paramedic-crewed A&E vehicles available for life-threatening emergency calls; and that we provide a service which allows us to meet the demand from non-emergency patients.

"Our existing service was last reviewed in 2006 and no longer represents an efficient or productive use of our resources."

The North East Ambulance Service is currently responding to 78% of life-threatening calls in less than eight minutes, against a national standard of 75% and 97% of these calls were reached within 19 minutes across the region; but the review indicated the these targets would not be met in the future without a re-organisation.

Calls

Mr Liversidge said: "A key area is around the service we provide to our urgent care patients. These patients are often assigned to paramedics who can be diverted to more serious 999 calls elsewhere if they are the nearest ambulance. We do not believe this is a satisfactory provision of 999 A&E services or of the care for our urgent patients.

Maps of the proposed changes can be viewed by clicking on the relevant operating division

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