Ambulance Service lowers its operational status

Status lowered from 'severe' to 'moderate' pressure

North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust today reports slightly eased pressure.

The Service raised its operational status to “severe pressure” in December under a framework to protect core services for the most vulnerable patients in the region.

The national framework, called the Resource Escalation Action Plan (REAP), contains four levels of alert designed to maintain an effective and safe operational and clinical response for the UK’s ambulance services.

Today, NEAS reduced its operational status to REAP level two, a level of “moderate pressure”.

Simon Swallow, NEAS head of resilience, said: “The decision to go up or down a REAP level is based on a number of factors, including performance and system-wide pressure.

“Since taking the decision to escalate to severe pressure in December, we have continued to be under significant pressure for a number of months.

“In that time we have introduced a number of procedures to try and mitigate the pressure and ensure patient safety, such as boosting the number of clinicians in our Operations Centre, utilising our Patient Transport Service crews for patients who require transport to hospital but do not require clinical intervention, and working closely with our partners.

“We are starting to see a positive impact as a result of this work, which has enabled us to lower our escalation level, however we would still ask members of the public to be mindful of using precious emergency NHS resources wisely.”

The public can continue to help NEAS reach those patients most in need by using 999 wisely. If someone has an injury of ailment which is not an emergency, they can call NHS 111, or seek help from their GP, pharmacist or local walk-in centre.

Local pharmacies can give advice on common illnesses and provide guidance on the most appropriate way to treat them. For persistent illnesses, people should make an appointment to see their GP. By using NHS services properly, A&E departments can be free for those in need of urgent, life-saving care.

Patients are also encouraged to visit the NHS Choices website for advice on treating common conditions.


What is REAP?                                      

REAP stands for Resource Escalation Action Plan.

All UK ambulance services have four levels of alert, based on demand and performance, aimed at maintain an effective and safe operational and clinical response. Normal routine operations would be at REAP Level 1 and at each level there are actions to protect every ambulance trust’s core services.

The REAP is designed to increase operational resource in line with demand, in order to assist the service in coping with periods of high pressure and maintain the quality of patient care. Hence the varying levels reflecting increased pressure on the service, up to Level Four where there is potential service failure.

The considerations and actions within the REAP are designed to assist in protecting staff, patients and the organisation, and to enable the trust to deliver core functions and to recover the full range of service within an agreed timeframe.

There are a number of triggers which decides the REAP level within a service, such as performance and demand at A&E. These triggers are monitored regularly to ensure the service is operating at the correct level.

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