New Referral Role For Ambulances

Ambulance crews in Swindon will be able to refer patients to other health workers instead of going to hospital. The NHS initiative means that Great Western Ambulance crews could directly refer patients to staff at Swindon Primary Care Trust and social services. The scheme aims to avoid unnecessary trips to hospital.

Project leader Ian Main said: “Our crews have the training to assess patients to enable them to make a clinical decision as to whether a hospital admission is needed. If they consider it is not, but that some sort of health or social care is needed, they will be able to ring a central number to organise appropriate care.”

Chief executive of Great Western ambulance service Tim Lynch said: “At last we are realising the untapped potential of the ambulance service.

“This is the beginning of a new era when ambulance services will be playing a far wider role in the NHS and taking healthcare to the patient.”