Doctors in our control room are helping our patients access the right care, at the right place, at the right time

Doctors in our control room are helping our patients access the right care, at the right place, at the right time

Paramedic Ashley Price is stood smiling in front of an ambulance.
Ashley Price is a Leicestershire based paramedic who says the support from the doctors in the control room is invaluable.

As an ambulance service, we do much more than simply transport poorly patients to hospital.

Not everyone who requires an ambulance response necessarily needs to be taken to the hospital Emergency Department (ED). 

Last year, we told you how we continue to take the right path for patients to ensure they access the right care that is appropriate for their needs.

In April 2020, we introduced a team of doctors in our 999 control rooms, made up of GPs and air ambulance doctors.

The doctors assist our highly-skilled frontline ambulance crews when they need a second opinion about their patient who has a complex medical issue, but it’s not immediately life-threatening.

Dr Mark Folman is Deputy Medical Director at EMAS, as well as being a GP and air ambulance doctor.

He said: “After an initial assessment, the ambulance crew may realise that their patient may not need to go to hospital, but they may need to access alternative services.

“Using the detailed information about patients provided to us by our frontline crews who are on scene, we are able to assist them with higher-level clinical decision-making, so we can provide the most appropriate alternative to an ED admission.

“This can mean booking them a follow-up appointment with their GP, referring them to health and social care services, or having longer-term care plans put in place for people to better manage their condition at home in the future. Hopefully this will eliminate the need for that person to be such distress again that they feel the only option for them is to ring 999.”

Ashley Price is a paramedic with two years’ experience of working for the ambulance service.

He has attended numerous patients who have presented with serious health issues but who he believed would not benefit from attending ED, and so he has found having the doctors in the control room to be a valuable resource.

He said: “Combining my face to face clinical observations of the patient with the knowledge and experience of the doctors in the control room allows us to work together with the patient and get them the right care as soon as possible.

“For example, I attended a patient who accidently overdosed on their medication.

“Usually, I would have taken this type of patient into hospital for further emergency investigation.

“However, I was able to speak to a doctor in the control room and advise them on what the patient had taken and how much.

“Based on this information, the doctor advised that the patient should miss their next dose and they would be fine to continue with their normal intake the following day, avoiding a hospital admission.”