Lauren Tough and Ima Williams

New GP and pharmacist leads welcomed at NEAS to help further improve patient care

New roles aimed at improving patient care

Two new recruits have joined North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to help the service develop and improve patient care within its Emergency Operation Centre.

As part of the Trust’s evolution from a transportation service to a clinical assessment and management service, NEAS has been developing its clinical assessment service (CAS) over recent years, bringing in additional specialities, such as GPs and pharmacists, to help ensure patients are treated in the right place at the right time.

As part of this, the Trust has now welcomed Lauren Tough into a new pharmacist and non-medical prescribing lead post and Ima Williams into a new post as lead GP clinical advisor to help further develop the clinical assessment service

Lauren will be managing and developing CAS pharmacists, supporting all staff in the CAS and wider teams with medicines management, pharmacy, prescribing queries and supporting non-medical prescribers in the Trust.

Lauren will also be helping patients by working to ensure more medicine-related queries are managed by a pharmacist, who are best placed to answer such queries, in order to provide a more efficient and expert service to patients.

Lauren’s role also includes governance of prescribing in the CAS, which will ensure high quality and safe patient care.

She said: “I worked as a clinical pharmacist at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust for six years and for the last two years, I’ve been involved in an integrated urgent care NHS England pilot, where I worked between NEAS in the CAS and urgent treatment centres at Northumbria as a practitioner.

“In addition to my new role, I will continue to work as an advanced clinical practitioner (ACP) in the urgent treatment centres.

“My previous roles include working in the clinical informatics team and, in addition to this, I have also undertaken roles conducting complex medication reviews for frail and high-risk patients.

“I also work as part of the Centre for Pharmacy Post-graduate Education (CPPE) and I’m programme guardian for their Urgent Care and CPCS Clinical Skills learning modules.

“I really enjoy working in the CAS and this new role provides me with the opportunity to continue this work and help to develop the role of a pharmacist in NEAS whilst supporting non-medical prescribing in the Trust.”

Inspired by her aunt to become a doctor, Ima qualified from the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences at the University of Sierra Leone, where she originates from, before moving to the UK, gaining experience in a variety of hospitals and GP practices.

Having now made Newcastle her home, Ima has three roles – a sessional GP at Bridge Medical, a sessional GP at Vocare and now her GP lead role at NEAS, developing patient care within the Trust.

As a GP Lead, Ima will work with our deputy medical director and the strategic head of operations to provide clinical leadership in the development of the CAS, both in and out of hours. This is a pivotal role and Ima will be instrumental in enhancing and developing services for North East Ambulance Service and integrating with the wider system.

Ima’s duties include supporting the recruitment of GPs to resource the CAS and develop pathways and clinical protocols to ensure appropriate assessment and advice is delivered to patients, minimising the need for hospital admissions wherever possible.

Ima will also be supporting our multi-disciplinary teams including nurses, paramedics and advanced practitioners, providing enhanced clinical assessment via telephone triage to patients who have contacted NHS 111.

“I am absolutely delighted to be appointed as GP Lead at NEAS, she said. “The pandemic has highlighted the value of the NHS to the British public. I am keen for everybody at NEAS to work together to create an even better service for the public.

“When the lead GP post was advertised, I jumped at the opportunity to apply because NEAS is such a great place to work and I’m keen to help steer its success at a strategic level.

“I aim to support staff and hear what they believe are the challenges and opportunities faced within NEAS. From this, I will be able to work in partnership with staff to draw up plans for our future success. I am also keen that staff have training opportunities to support their advancement and ensure that skillsets are continually updated.

“From a patient perspective, my role is to ensure that everyone who calls our service receives the best possible healthcare during their interactions with us.”

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