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Some ambulance callers to be told go elsewhere

A new way of screening ambulance calls is to be introduced across England in an effort to improve response times.

NHS England is asking ambulance crews to review which emergency calls other than those classed as immediately life threatening can be treated elsewhere.

The calls - known as category two - include emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes. But the category also covers some that may not need such a fast response, such as burns and severe headaches.

About 40% of these lower priority calls classed as category two by call handlers will now receive callbacks from a doctor, nurse or paramedic to see whether there is an alternative to sending an ambulance.

In trials in London and across the West Midlands, nearly half of those receiving a callback were advised to go instead to an urgent treatment clinic, their GP or a pharmacist. NHS England is now asking the other eight ambulance services in England to adopt the approach. 

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Source: BBC News, 16 February 2023


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