04 March 2015 - Introducing Cumbria's changing ambulance service North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) has chosen Cumbria as the place to launch the next phase of its #Team999 campaign – an initiative designed to educate people about what can happen following an emergency call to the ambulance service. During the first phase of the campaign, the public were introduced to representatives of the Service, found what goes on behind the scenes and saw how the team members can positively impact on patients’ lives. #Team999 is made up of representatives from the Service who patients can come into contact with following a 999 call, as well as paramedics, it includes emergency medical technicians, senior and advanced paramedics and specialists who call back 999 patients whose conditions are not thought to be serious and give them advice over the phone. NWAS is bringing the #Team999 campaign to Cumbria to help make people aware of how it has developed to meet the needs of its rural communities. Since 2006, when Cumbria Ambulance Service merged with the others in the region to form NWAS, emergency 999 calls have increased by 10 per cent and the number of paramedics has increased by 18 per cent. To launch the campaign, #Team999 will be stationed outside ‘White Stuff’ on English Street in Carlisle on Thursday 5 March 2015. A range of interactive activities will be taking place throughout the day, including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) demonstrations, as well as the opportunity for the public to explore emergency vehicles and put questions directly to #Team999. Following this, the Service will be tweeting details of its 999 calls from Cumbria on Friday 6 March 2015 between 9am and 5pm; people can follow @NWAmbulance or the hashtag #Team999 to see the action. Peter Mulcahy, NWAS’ Head of Service for Cumbria, said: “We recognise that Cumbria has its own unique challenges and we are constantly developing the way we work to make sure we meet the needs of patients now and in the future. “We can refer patients who have called 999 to a GP or nurse in the community and take patients to specialist centres for treatment instead of their nearest Emergency Departments.” Last year, 18 per cent of patients who received a response from ambulance crews in Cumbria were treated at home without the need to go to hospital. Of those who were taken to a treatment centre, 81 per cent were taken to an emergency department, with the rest receiving care at specialist centres or facilities in the community. Peter continued: “The way the ambulance service works has changed significantly over the last few years. There are so many options available to our clinicians now which provide patients with better, more appropriate care. “We want to break down any myths that exist to help the public better understand what to expect from us when they call 999 and that it doesn’t always result in an ambulance response or trip to hospital.” Over the next few months, the work of #Team999 will be profiled to enable the public to get a greater understanding of the role the ambulance service plays in getting the right care for patients in rural communities.