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Volunteers to use ambulance cars to transport patients to hospital

Volunteers will transport patients who need extra assistance to hospital to increase ambulance availability for higher-risk patients.

The pilot scheme, using ambulance cars, is due to start in London in May.

London Ambulance Service said the trained volunteers would be sent to lower category 999 calls where the patient needed help to get to hospital.

The service's board meeting was told the scheme would reduce waiting times and increase ambulance availability.

Currently, taxis are used to transport "low acuity patients" to hospital, the meeting heard.

But there were some patients who required "the assistance of one person to walk or mobilise", which taxis could not provide.

"This results in the dispatch of an emergency ambulance, reducing ambulance availability for higher priority incidents and longer waiting times for patients," the meeting heard. As part of the pilot scheme, a volunteer car would be dispatched to these patients.

A spokesperson for the service said: "This project builds on our well-established network of volunteers who respond to emergencies to help ensure our ambulances can reach the patients that need us the most.

"These fully trained volunteers, who already respond to 999 calls in their communities, will help patients who have been assessed not to need of an ambulance but who may need more support than a taxi can provide."

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Source: BBC News, 18 April 2022


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