Won’t travelling a greater distance to the Emergency Care site jeopardise patient care or, in the most serious cases, survival?

Clinical evidence tells us that in an emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke, getting patients to the right hospital to receive the right treatment leads to better outcomes. Paramedics routinely diagnose patients in an ambulance to make sure that a patient is taken to the right hospital for the most advanced treatment. This often means that a patient will travel further and may drive past an A&E department to get them to the right place.

Ambulance services are equipped to deal with longer distance journeys keeping the patient safe and stable, both in equipment and skills. Paramedics have access to more equipment and drugs intended to keep patients safe for longer distances to the best place of care for their condition.

A new study from the University of Sheffield has found that any negative effects caused by an increase in journey time to an Emergency Department can be offset by other factors. For example, if new specialised services are introduced or if the care received at the now nearest hospital is more effective than that provided at the hospital where the Emergency Department closed. The report is available at https://bit.ly/2MQBeQl

The CCGs have commissioned a specific ambulance modelling activity exercise to explore and determine what impact both options would have on ambulance and patient transport activity and travel times, and produce a formal report.  This report has been published and is on the Improving Healthcare Together website (www.improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk). Across the options for locating the new specialist emergency care hospital (Epsom, St Helier or Sutton) 99.7% of people will still be able to access an acute service within 30 minutes, as they do now, by either car or blue light ambulance.