Specialist paramedics to take non-urgent calls in new plan

South East Coast Ambulance service (SECAmb) has announced that critical care paramedics will be placed back to respond to all calls in a new response plan to be unveiled in 2017.

Currently, the critical care paramedics (CCPs) are called out to the most serious and urgent incidents.

SECAmb confirmed that despite the new plan, CCPs will still respond to the most serious and urgent calls as well as other calls.

This comes after SECAmb was placed under ‘special measures’ following a rating of ‘inadequate’ in a Care Quality Commission report back in September.

The reasons for the rating included bullying, delayed response times and putting patients at risk.

A spokesperson for South East Coast Ambulance Service said: “As part of our recovery plan and in order to maximise the clinical care we are able to provide to all of our patients the Trust has been reviewing how to best utilise operational and clinical staff.

“This review will see Critical Care Paramedics brought into the Trust’s overall system status cover plan meaning they will be available to respond to all types of call. The change will be reviewed at the end of March 2017.

“This decision has been taken following careful consideration by the Trust’s Executive, including the three Clinical Directors and taking in the findings of a recent Quality Impact Assessment.

“The Trust Executive recognises the valuable clinical contribution that CCPs make to our most seriously ill and injured patients as highlighted in the assessment. However, it also felt that while demand remains high and our response time performance for all calls poor, the current model of not sending CCPs to some categories of patient, could not continue.

SECAmb has also announced a decision to end the paramedic practitioner and the CCP courses paramedics take to become a CCP.

The spokesperson added: “A decision has also been taken not to recruit to the Paramedic Practitioner course due to start in March 2017 and the CCP course due to start in September 2017. This decision will not affect those currently on courses.

“The Trust believes these decisions will allow a broader review to take place as to how it deploys and utilises its specialist paramedics in the future. We appreciate that these changes will cause anxiety and uncertainty for staff but it is essential that we utilise all our resources to the maximum benefit of all our patients.”

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