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The paramedics keeping patients out of hospital

PUBLISHED

Chest pains for a 63-year-old man might typically mean a hospital trip to check it out. But after Clive Pietzka's 999 call, an advanced paramedic practitioner carried out tests and discharged him.

The Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) job is one of those in a growing team who work to keep people out of hospital.

Solutions like this are being sought following ambulance queues for hospital and worst ever performance figures.

Mr Pietzka, from Barry, who has a heart problem, said initially he did not want to call an ambulance because of high demand.

"They're very busy with Covid and everything else. But the GP practice said to call 999," he said.

However, on this occasion a rapid response vehicle - a car with a single paramedic - came within 15-20 minutes and tests were performed, without a hospital trip.

Advanced paramedic practitioner John McAllister who attended said he sees people more medical low acuity cases rather than emergency and trauma conditions.

"I use assessment techniques and diagnostic tools to assess patients, formulate a diagnosis then put a plan in place," he said.

"It's about trying to treat them at the right time and the right place, without having to take them to A&E."

Adding to the pressure of the pandemic and winter demand, a shortage of social care workers to support patients' safe discharge means a large number of patients find themselves in hospital longer than medically necessary. The knock-on impact means it is becoming harder for new patients to be treated and admitted.

Penny Durrant, the service manager for the clinical support desk at WAST regional headquarters in Cwmbran, said current challenges had led to growth in her team.

She said it was a "recognition of needing to do something different".

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Source: BBC News, 21 December 2021

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