Ambulance service launches new specialist moving team

Evacuation team tasked with complex moving and handling incidents

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has today launched a specialist Evacuation Team tasked with responding to patients with complex moving needs.

The Trust has invested £350,000 into a 12-month trial, which will see the team of evacuation trained staff working on two specially-adapted vehicles, tasked with responding to bariatric patients and patients who have fallen in hard to reach areas around the home or who are uninjured but require assistance from the floor.

As well as being dispatched to support frontline operational crews with live incidents, the Evacuation Team will also provide risk assessments for pre-planned admissions, transfers or discharges to ensure the right resources are sent to take the patient into hospital.

NEAS expects the new service to support at least 1,000 patients over the next year.

Although all ambulance services offer some form of evacuation-capable model, NEAS is the first ambulance service in the country to introduce a specialist team specifically to deal with such incidents.

Clinical operations manager Gareth Campbell, who is leading on the project, said: “This service is all about providing the best possible care to our patients.

“All of our emergency ambulances and patient transport vehicles are equipped and capable of extracting and carrying patients, but in more challenging situations some cases take longer for us to deal with, thereby potentially delaying treatment for the patient and extending the length of time our resources are on scene. We were also often calling upon the services of our fire service colleagues to support us.

“By developing this model, we hope to be able to provide a better patient experience and to support our frontline crews, not just by providing additional support on scene but by speeding up the process so they can be back out responding to other patients in need of their clinical skill. We should also be able to reduce our calls to our fire service colleagues, who we regularly call upon for support with these types of incidents.

“Our team has been trained to deal with any complex moving incident. This could include an elderly patient who has fallen in a confined space, such as a bathroom or down the side of their bed, a bariatric patient, or it could include someone who has fallen on a set of stairs for example.

“We’re really excited to be launching this service and hope we’re able to prove its success over the next 12 months with a view to making it a permanent service offered by NEAS.”

The launch of the Evacuation Team complements a number of falls initiatives launched by NEAS over the last few years aimed at improving care for the region’s fallers.

This has included teaming paramedics up with occupational therapists to provide a holistic care package and rapid response service for patients who fall and providing specialist falls training to its volunteer community first responders.

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