Tag Archives: East of England Ambulance Service

England | Norfolk heart attack survivor thanks life-saving heroes

Picture courtesy of Antony Kelly at Archant
Picture courtesy of Antony Kelly at Archant

A Norfolk man had the opportunity to thank the paramedic and community first responder who helped save his life in December.

Roy Watts, from Sheringham remembers vividly what happened that December night. He went to bed with his arm hurting telling himself that he would book an appointment at the medical centre in the morning.

“I woke at 2am and straight away I was pretty sure it was a heart attack; I even tried to get on my computer to look it up on Google,” said Roy.

Roy’s help arrived in four minutes in the shape of Paramedic, Kyle Hampshire-Smith who was closely followed by Community First Responder, Nathan Liberman.

“I was so grateful to see them and I’m really pleased to have the chance to thank them for saving my life. They looked after me so well and the whole incident has changed my life.”

Kyle left his rapid response vehicle at the scene to join Roy in the ambulance to help give him every chance of survival:

“I just remember the look in his eyes as if to say ‘If you don’t doing something quick…’ so I was pretty worried about him. It’s great that I can meet him again, fit and well.”

England | Prestigious award for groundbreaking ambulance scheme

philiplumbardresized

A groundbreaking service to help patients who have suffered falls has won a prestigious national award.

The Falls Partnership Team run by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is the first of its kind in the country and – with falls making up one in five 999 calls – aims to cut down on hospital admissions.

The partnership between EEAST and Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust (CCS NHST) have been nationally recognised for their work with older people in the Cambridge area by winning an NHS Innovation Challenge award, receiving a £50,000 prize fund.

EEAST Emergency Care Practitioner, Phil Lumbard, CCS NHST Occupational Therapist, Annami Palmer, and the team attended an awards ceremony in London last week to celebrate their success with other winners.

“We’d heard of the Innovation Challenge and just thought why not? We were doing something different so we sent in our application last summer,” Phil said.

The partnership with the CCS NHST responds to 999 calls where the patient has fallen, an incident which accounts for over 20% of the EEAST’s work. The falls team provide a complete assessment of the patient, including their functionality, mobility, their environment and their medical condition. They can refer the patient onto other services if needed as indicated by the results of the assessment.

Phil mans the falls vehicle alongside either an occupational therapist or physiotherapist from the CCS NHST and they also have a consultant geriatrician on hand for clinical advice.

“We look at whether the patient can get food and drink themselves, how their house is set up, can they get up the stairs and do they need a care plan or other support. There are lots of inconspicuous reasons for elderly people falling so we try to find a specific diagnosis and aim not to send people to hospital,” added Phil.

Annami Palmer, Therapy Lead, CCS NHST, said: “We’re delighted with the  award. Falls represent the most frequent and serious type of accident in older adults. They can cause injury, destroy the person’s confidence, increase isolation and reduce the risk of them losing their independence.  Although the risk of falling increases with age, our aim is to help people who have already had a fall and are more likely to fall in the future.”

The falls team usually spend over an hour and a half with a patient and the vehicle has specialist therapy equipment such as sliding sheets, a lifting cushion and bed and chair raisers on board.

Phil adds that feedback from patients has been brilliant so far with many liking the friendly, thorough and comprehensive service that the falls vehicle provided.

“The benefit of having a falls vehicle is the impact on the wider health care system as we are reducing visits to hospital and also provide an extra resource for the ambulance service.

“Our general population is ageing and we need to understand older people better and be proactive to ensure we can  deal with the increasing demand,” said Phil.

The £50,000 will help to ensure that the falls vehicle continues to run successfully. Since winning the Innovation award, the Falls Partnership has attracted lots of attention and the team have been invited to take part in a national NHS Think Tank Conference in March and are also working with the British Geriatric Society. They have also received interest from other ambulance services in Surrey, Leicester and Derbyshire about setting up a falls service in their area.

England | A record-breaking weekend, in a record-breaking week

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As the ambulance service reflects on its busiest weekend ever, it’s asking that people ‘get to know 999’ and the impact that the volume of calls has on its operations.

The average number of calls per week over the past three years is 16,525 but last week (w/c December 10) this was 19,529 compared to the equivalent week in 2011 of 18,124. The next highest was three weeks ago at 19,011.

The service took more calls over Saturday and Sunday than the beginning of 2012 on New Year’s Eve and Day, handling 3,110 calls compared to 2,638 – nearly 18% more.

The region took 6,030 calls between Friday and Sunday and compared to the same weekend last year, Cambridgeshire saw the biggest hike in calls with a rise of more than 17%.

One scheme that helps ease the pressure on the ambulance service is the SOS Bus initiative which runs in several town and city centres during this period. The buses are an ‘admission avoidance’ answer to reducing the impact on both the ambulance service and A&E hospital departments and work as a drop-in facility for those who need some help with a genuine problem but that is unlikely to need further intervention.

But Director of Emergency Operations Neil Storey said people could support the emergency and other services by practising prevention over cure: “ “I really want to praise our staff for their fantastic work especially during these very busy periods at this time of year.

“We really hope these figures allow people to take stock of just how many incidents we’re called to, at a time when we’re managing resources as best we can to ensure the most seriously ill are attended first.”

“Our call volume tends to increase during this time of year because of a number of factors, including people out celebrating might become ill, or be involved in an accident that could have been avoided.”

“Many of these patients get themselves into serious trouble, suffering potentially life-threatening traumatic injuries.”

“We obviously don’t want them to get into that situation in the first place, and for those who have just been sick or feel just a little worse for wear, they need to consider alternatives and to not automatically use 999 just because ‘it’s there’.”

One common misperception about calling 999 is that patients will be seen quicker if they arrive at A&E – this isn’t correct unless the person is of course very seriously ill.  Also, the eight minute target does not apply to all calls, only to patients in life-threatening conditions – who make up just 30% of the total 999 calls the Trust receives.

Calls nationally are graded for different response times ranging from 8 to 60 minutes and the most minor ones where patients can get to A&E without an ambulance or see a doctor, walk in centre or pharmacist, will receive telephone advice. A broken arm or leg for example is graded for a 30 minute response target which applies to all ambulance services in the country.

So please remember that if you call 999 you’ll get a different response depending on your condition. You should also consider the following:

  • For very minor problems such as a hangover, indigestion, or a grazed knee, people should self-care
  • For minor infections, coughs and colds, advice can be given by local pharmacies
  • For ailments such as stomach pain and vomiting, a persistent cough or ear pain call your GP surgery, visit your local walk in centre or your minor injuries unit.  Details can be found at www.nhs.uk/choosewell   A mobile phone-friendly website is also available at http://bit.ly/nhsnwQR
  • Call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or NHS 111 (Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Waveney at present)

And always call 999 for:

  • pain in their chest
  • breathing that isn’t normal for them
  • reduced level of consciousness or concussion
  • severe loss of blood
  • severe burns or scalds
  • choking
  • fitting
  • drowning
  • severe allergic reaction
  • suspected stroke – do  the FAST test:  Facial weakness (difficulty smiling or drooping mouth or eye), Arm weakness (difficulty raising arms, Speech problems (difficulty speaking clearly and understanding others)

England | EEAST colleagues mourn sudden loss of Peter Kendall

Peter Kendall 1948 – 2012

On Wednesday, November 21, family, friends, and work colleagues past and present, from around the Country, gathered to pay their respects to Peter Kendall, who recently passed away at his Bedfordshire home.

Peter was given a full ambulance service funeral which took place at St Peter de Merton Church in Bedford.

A blaze of green uniforms lined the streets near to and outside the church to form a guard of honour. Ambulance service colleagues from all over the country and representatives from all blue light services, voluntary services, local authorities and NHS partners, paid their respects at a very moving service. The procession arrived at the church after travelling from the Trust’s Bedford Office, was led by two ambulance motorcycle out riders and a vintage ambulance vehicle which Peter had actually crewed when he started in the ambulance service.

Peter’s lengthy career spanned over 48 years ago and he worked in various roles and starting in Worcester in the 1960s and 70s, before moving to head of the control room in Hereford and Kent. He is mostly known for his role within the resilience and emergency preparedness team whist being based at the Bedford Office.

Since 2008 and up until his unexpected death, Peter was seconded to the Department of Health’s Emergency Preparedness Division in London, as an Ambulance Adviser to the National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU.

Steven Moore, deputy head of resilience and special operations, who read at Peters service said: “Peter was my manager for five years and during this time I worked closely with him on a number of projects, during which time I learnt a huge amount from his vast array of experience which he had gathered during a life time of dedication to working in the ambulance service and specifically in the field of emergency planning.”

Chief executive officer, Hayden Newton, who spoke of Peter’s lengthy career at his funeral said: “Peter joined the ambulance service 48 years ago, originally starting out as a control room manager in Worcestershire before making his way to the East of England. Most will remember Peter from his days in the emergency preparedness team in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, where his commitment, hard work and extensive knowledge really came into their own. Peter was recently seconded to the Department of Health, where I know his expertise was highly valued and appreciated. Respected for his work not just locally, but nationally as well, Peter was a long standing friend and colleague to so many of us and will be very sorely missed.

Mike Shanahan, Deputy Director of NARU and Mr Kendall’s immediate line manager, said: “Peter was first and foremost a real gentleman and always found the time to talk to anyone wanting to speak to him. Peter’s passion was the ambulance service and he gave many, many hours of his own time to that end. Peter was one of the longest serving members of staff in the UK ambulance service and news of his passing away has shocked us all, including many in the wider NHS and Government departments. We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and we will all miss Peter immensely.”

Please follow this link to watch the funeral procession arriving at the church, courtesy of Kathryn Cain & Beds on Sunday Newspaper http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/News/He-gave-his-life-to-the-job-20121121173000.htm

England | Trust us to make the Right Call

The Trust is launching an online campaign to educate people on how 999 calls are handled and prioritised.

The Right Call campaign will focus on how the ambulance service makes the right call for all its patients by correctly assessing and grading each one for the right response time.

This is so crews can get to patients with life-threatening conditions first so they aren’t put at risk.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) campaign will also prompt patients to ask themselves if they are making the right call in dialling 999.

While the Trust deals with a variety of calls, 999 is really designed for people in potentially life threatening conditions or who need intensive clinical intervention en route to hospital and anyone who does not fall into these categories is asked to think about the possibility of more suitable alternative transport to A&E so an ambulance is not tied up unnecessarily when a call comes in for someone whose life is in danger.

Two brand new helpful guides have been written for the public about using 999 to help manage their expectations and set out how and why ambulance services across the country deal with calls in different ways so that they can make the best use of finite resources in the best interests of patients.

One is a combined FAQ and mythbuster and the other is an easy to understand flow chart about how a 999 call is dealt with. These will both be on the special Right Call page which is revealed today on the Trust’s websitewww.eastamb.nhs.uk.

In addition nine tweets marked #rightcall over the next nine days will cover nine different elements of the public education campaign.

While the advice is not new it is the first time the Trust has launched the guides and the online campaign which came about after it became clear there was a need to educate people about the service they could expect for different types of calls.

Because of the publicity surrounding the eight minute target a common misperception is that this applied to all calls when it only relates to patients in life-threatening conditions – who make up just a fifth of the total 999 calls the Trust receives.

So the lives of those patients are not put at risk other calls nationally are graded for different response times ranging from 20 minutes to an hour and the most minor ones where patients can get to A&E without an ambulance or see a doctor, walk in centre or pharmacist, will receive telephone advice.

This system of prioritisation, like the one used in A&E departments, has been in place for a number of years and each grading follows an in depth clinical evaluation by a highly trained call handler using an internationally accredited system to make sure the assessment of the condition is correct.

A broken arm or leg for example or another non life-threatening injury is graded for a 30 minute response target which applies to all ambulance services in the country. Patients should still ask themselves however whether they require immediate life-saving treatment or intense clinical supervision en route to hospital and if not whether they can get to A&E without the need for an ambulance.

Another common misperception is that patients will be seen quicker if they arrive by ambulance but this is not true and it is one of the myths busted by the campaign publications.

Trust Director of Operations Neil Storey said: “Our staff deal with thousands of calls each week, but for one person it might be the only 999 call they make in their lifetime. We want to make it clear to them about what to expect, why a call is being handled in a certain way, and to even think about alternatives to 999.

“Some people feel that the ambulance service hasn’t worked for them in the way they expected – everyone’s needs are different and we address that where we can, but the ambulance service has to work with finite resources and within certain parameters to ensure help is given how and when it is needed. So it’s with the support of the public and education around what we do that will help us provide the care and provision we want to.”

The Right Call page can be found here.

England | Ambulance staff fight flu this season

The ambulance service has joined the largest ever NHS staff vaccination campaign with a programme to protect its staff and patients from flu.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is aiming to make great strides in reducing the spread of flu this season by giving the flu jab to as many frontline staff as possible – with nearly 700 already vaccinated. It is joining the national NHS Flu Fighter staff vaccination campaign, which will support trusts in England to improve staff flu vaccination uptake this flu season.

Every year in the UK, flu kills hundreds of people who are elderly, very young or weakened by illness.  EEAST takes patient safety very seriously and will be working hard to encourage its staff to get vaccinated – helping to prevent them from catching flu or passing the virus on to patients.

The vaccinations are being provided free of charge at a range of times and locations to suit all staff, including night workers and those out in the community. With more than 100 clinics scheduled region-wide and other access provided outside of these, the Trust is hoping to beat the 1200 vaccines delivered to staff last year.

Chief Executive Hayden Newton said: “It’s so important that staff choose to get vaccinated this year, to help protect themselves, their families and their patients.

“The NHS sees millions of patients every year whose age or poor health means flu could have a serious impact on their lives. The vaccinations are safe, effective, and really help to protect others.

“I hope we will see flu vaccinations become commonplace for NHS staff and I’m sure our patients want to see the same.”

The NHS Flu Fighter campaign, now in its second year, aims to raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination against flu and educates staff about the availability of the free vaccine. Flu jabs for NHS staff are not compulsory, so can only be given to those who request them.

Last year, the national NHS Flu Fighter campaign encouraged an additional 100,000 NHS staff in England to be vaccinated – an increase from 34.7 to 45 per cent of the frontline workforce compared to the previous year (1). The campaign is run by the NHS Employers organisation and aims to continue increasing staff vaccinations until they become routine practice for all staff, helping to stop flu in its tracks and protect patients.

In 2010/11, influenza caused 602 deaths in England. 70 per cent of fatal influenza cases occurred among people aged between 15 and 64 where normally a higher number of deaths tend to be among older people (2). Nearly 9,000 patients were admitted to hospital with influenza in England in 2010/11, of which 2,200 were admitted to intensive care (2,3).

More information is available at www.nhsemployers.org/flu

England | Stay safe for Halloween and Guy Fawkes urges ambulance service

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) is urging parents to pass on a few simple tips and advice to their children when they are taking part in this year’s Halloween and Guy Fawkes night celebrations.

Every year ambulance crews throughout the region are called to patients who have been injured whilst celebrating Halloween and Guy Fawkes night, and this year will be no exception.

EEAST’s Director of Operations Neil Storey said: “Potentially our crews may be required to attend incidents during the lead up to the event and on both nights. Fireworks used properly are safe and accidents are avoidable. However, they can cause devastating injuries if safety precautions are not followed.”

Neil added: “Now that the cold dark nights have finally drawn in and the weather conditions are changing, a few simple tips may prevent an unnecessary journey to the local accident and emergency department. Whilst out trick or treating, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, preferably something reflective. Remember, be safe and be seen.”

“We recommend that people go along to a professionally-organised public display. But, if you are planning to host your own event, we urge you exercise caution and make safety a priority to ensure everyone has a good time without getting hurt.”

Here is are some tips to make the celebrations go smoothly -

  • Make sure an adult always accompanies children trick or treating, never let them go out alone
  • When you are out trick or treating always carry a torch, and remember to walk and not run
  • Wear something reflective so you can be seen in the dark, remember be safe and be seen
  • Make sure you use the green cross code and stick to the pavements
  • Trick or treaters, please stay close to your home and stay in streets that you all know
  • Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  • Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire

Eastern England | Pedalling paramedics go permanent in Cambridge

Cambridge | 280712

Four new pedalling paramedics will be finishing their training in Cambridge tomorrow as the life-saving cycle response unit celebrates being made a permanent fixture in the city.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) unit was launched as a pilot last October.

The life-saving scheme’s overwhelming success – demonstrated by an average two minute response time – means patients will now benefit from it being brought in permanently.

The move means the number of paramedics and emergency medical technicians trained to be available to the unit will more than double from three to seven and two new bikes are being brought in alongside the existing one to ensure that cover can be provided at all times.

The four extra crew members will be seen in Cambridge city centre tomorrow completing the intensive advanced emergency cycling course.

The bright yellow and green, fully kitted two wheeled ambulance is based in the heart of Cambridge, dealing with all the same emergencies as regular ambulances, but able to get to the patients much faster.

Kitted out with all the same equipment found on an ambulance, including oxygen and a defibrillator, used for returning a patient’s heart rhythm after a cardiac arrest, means these bikes weigh in at around 45kg. They even have blue flashing lights and a siren.

Reaching the patient quickly is vital in life-threatening situations, such as cardiac arrests, heart attacks, asthma attacks and traffic accidents, but as well as these calls, other more minor emergencies can often be dealt with just by the CRU, leaving the traditional ambulances free to be dispatched elsewhere to other emergency calls.

Increasing traffic and pedestrianised centres have meant that often a cycle is the quicker option in reaching a patient within time, meaning that more and more ambulance services are turning to them.

Darren Rutterford, the CRU lead for EEAST, said: “The pilot has been a great success getting to patients in two minutes on average in a variety of incidents, including cardiac arrests.

“It has saved the lives of many patients and we are delighted to get the funding to continue it.”

Eastern England | Ambulance workers praised for “first rate” service over Jubilee weekend

Cambourne | 8 June 2012

Ambulance staff and volunteers have been praised for the “exceptionally hard work” that ensured patients continued to receive an excellent service over the long weekend break as 999 calls soared by more than 17% in some areas.

From Saturday June 2 to Tuesday June 5 inclusive the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) saw calls rise overall by 6.61% compared to the equivalent period last year.

A county breakdown showed the demand rise vary from 2.17% in Essex to 17.38% in Cambridgeshire.

In total the Trust took nearly 9,000 calls during the four days from Saturday June 2 to Tuesday June 5. During the first weekend of June and the following Monday and Tuesday last year the total number of calls was 8,347.

Neil Storey, Director of Emergency Operations (Interim), praised staff and volunteers for all their efforts in ensuring patients continued to receive a first class service.

He said: “The executive team and I would like to extend our sincere thanks to the exceptionally hard work of staff and volunteers over the four days. Public holidays and national celebrations will of course always be a challenge, and this was an incredibly busy weekend with 999 calls in some areas up by more than 17% on the same period last year.

“But the service managed extremely well. Performance was excellent over the entire holiday and this simply would not have been achievable without crews, managers, control room and support staff and volunteers giving up a long weekend to ensure patients continued to receive a first rate service from us.”

Mr Storey also took the opportunity to remind members of the public to choose their health service wisely, only calling 999 in an emergency such as suspected stroke or cardiac arrest.

Non-life threatening emergencies can be referred to more appropriate services such as directly to A&E, walk in centre, minor injuries unit, out of hours doctor, GP surgery, pharmacy or NHS Direct.

If patients do call 999 in a non emergency they will be clinically assessed and prioritised in a similar way to A&E and may have to wait for a response or be advised over the phone

 

Eastern England | Don’t score an own goal during Euro 2012

Cambourne | 8 June 2012

Ambulance bosses today urged footballs fans to play safe and not score an own goal as Euro 2012 kicks off.

East of England Ambulance Service crews are putting in extra time over the next few weeks to ensure those who require emergency treatment are well looked after. But fans of every nation are being urged to take care of themselves and avoid the need for an ambulance.

The European championship starts today as hosts Poland take on Greece with England’s group matches taking place next  Monday (June 11), Friday (June 15) and the following Tuesday (June 19).

Neil Storey, Interim Director of Operations for the ambulance service, said: “We want everybody to enjoy themselves during the tournament and not face the penalty of excess drinking. No-one wants to end up in an ambulance so don’t fall foul to avoidable illness and injury. You can easily do this by drinking safely and responsibly and staying safe.”

Mr Storey added that although no-one would want to discourage people enjoying the event – or indeed commiserating any bad results – the Trust would not tolerate abuse or violence against its staff.

He said: “We understand that watching football matches will generate a party atmosphere and also heighten people’s emotions – but please respect ambulance staff. After all they are there to help those in need.”

Mr Storey also took the opportunity to remind members of the public to choose their health service wisely, only calling 999 in an emergency such as suspected stroke or cardiac arrest.

We do not want to deter anyone from enjoying the celebrations, but we would like the public to take on board a few simple steps to make these times as safe and enjoyable as possible:

  • Keep an eye on what you’re drinking and intersperse alcoholic drinks with soft drinks
  • Make sure you eat a meal before going out to watch the games
  • Pre book a taxi to and from the venue you are watching the games or arrange a lift, leave your car at home – never drink and drive!
  • Be careful while walking home, especially in unlit areas such as country lanes
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Respect the emergency services

Help for non-life threatening emergencies can be found at more appropriate services such as walk in centres, minor injuries unit, out of hours doctors, GP surgery, pharmacy or NHS Direct.

If patients do call 999 in a non emergency they will be clinically assessed and prioritised in a similar way to A&E and may have to wait for a response or be given advice over the phone.