A pilot scheme in Berwick for paramedics from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to work alongside other NHS colleagues has been extended for six months.
The community paramedic scheme – which is a joint initiative between the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NEAS - was launched in July and was due to run for three months, but a decision has now been taken to extend it until the end of March 2020.
So far, the community paramedics have seen more than 900 patients since the start of the trial.
The pilot has been extended so that a further assessment can be made of the impact of the scheme. The trial has led to:
- A reduction in the response time by the ambulance service for life-threatening cases;
- more patients being seen and treated at home by paramedics – freeing up GPs so they can see more patients in their surgeries;
- fewer patients being transferred from Berwick to the Northumberland Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington and Borders General Hospital; and
- extra support for care homes in and around Berwick during evenings and weekends.
The paramedics support local GPs by making urgent visits to patients, help with the care plans for patients with long-term medical conditions and work with other healthcare staff, such as the district nursing team. The primary role of the paramedics continues to be to respond to life-threatening emergencies in the Berwick area.