When you call 999 your symptoms will be assessed so that we can see what level of response is required and the best way to treat you. Depending on your situation you could be treated by one of our clinicians, or you may also receive help from a community first responder if they are nearby.
Sometimes we receive calls from patients who don’t need to go to hospital; instead they could be helped using local services and facilities. This means that they’re able to avoid a trip to the emergency department whilst also keeping our ambulances available to get to those patients with life-threatening conditions.
Some of these patients may be referred to our clinical hub. If this is the case for you, you will speak with a clinician who will assess you over the telephone to determine the most appropriate care for your needs.
There may also be times where we send a clinician who conducts a face-to-face assessment. They are then able to establish the best way to treat you which can often be a service more suitable than the emergency department. If you’re not in need of any medical treatment, the clinician will be able to advise on any self-care you may need.
The short video above features Ann-Marie, who is one of our urgent care practitioners. Urgent care practitioners are often dispatched to patients who have less serious illnesses or injuries and are more likely to benefit from support at home or in the community. The urgent care practitioner role began as a pilot but is now a permanent feature of our ambulance service.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way in which ambulance services manage patients. To protect patients, staff and the public the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is following the guidance published by Public Health England. The guidance has been written by the National Ambulance Service Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Group, in consultation with NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the National Ambulance Resilience Unit. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-ambulance-trusts
A key part of this guidance is a change to who can accompany a patient in the ambulance to hospital.
From now on family members cannot travel within the patient compartment with a possible or confirmed case, unless the patient is a child or vulnerable person who requires conveyance, in this case it is acceptable for a parent or guardian to accompany the child or vulnerable person. For your safety it will be necessary for you to wear a face covering or mask unless you have legitimate reason not to. This includes (but in not limited to):
· young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
· not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
· if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
· if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
· in order to take medication
· if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering
Please note if you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering you will not routinely asked to give any written evidence of this. For your safety and that of the patient and NHS staff, family members and relatives of these patients are asked to remain at home and not attend the hospital. NWAS will ensure you know to where your family member is being conveyed and you are requested to please phone that hospital later for an update before visiting.