'Roving GP' linked to ambulances crews in Suffolk pilot

A "roving doctor" is to be linked with ambulance crews to provide "on the spot" clinical treatment in Suffolk.

The new pilot project launched this week aims to cut the number of people who have to be taken to hospital accident or emergency units by 20%.

Ipswich GP Dr Paul Bethell said: "Every day around 50 people are taken by ambulance to the emergency department.

"Many have non-life threatening conditions and about 10 could be safely treated in the community."

Ambulance crews do not always have the clinical support or knowledge of the local community services to be able to arrange this community care.

Assessment over phone

"Patients would usually prefer care at home to a wait in the emergency department and then being transferred home again.

"The 'roving GP' will provide this specialist support to the ambulance crews."

Before an ambulance is dispatched people in Suffolk are now assessed over the phone and a decision is made whether they need to go to the emergency department.

It the answer is "yes" they are taken there without delay as normal.

"If they do not need emergency transport then the 'roving GP' will respond rapidly and assess and treat as is needed," Dr Bethell said.

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