Extra funding for the Scottish Ambulance Service will help them up-skill paramedics, treat more patients in the community and reduce the numbers requiring hospital admission.
A total of £6.3 million Scottish Government funding will support delivery of the Towards 2020: Taking Care to the Patient strategy – focusing on increasing the Service’s capacity for care at home or in the community.
A key output will see more specialist paramedics trained – who carry an extended range of medicines and equipment, meaning unnecessary A&E admissions can be avoided. With 46 specialist paramedics set to complete training in September, their numbers will more than double, from the 32 already in post to 78.
Other actions by the ambulance service being supported by this funding include: Developing the new clinical response model – which aims to send the right resource first time, prioritising patients with time-critical conditions; Increasing collaboration with other healthcare providers, so more services are delivered in community settings that meet patient needs; Continuing progress towards the commitment for 1,000 additional paramedics during this Parliament.
Meeting specialist paramedics at the Scottish Ambulance Service City Station in Edinburgh, Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Shifting the balance of care from hospitals to community settings - by redesigning and reforming the way services are delivered - is all about placing the patient at the centre. Therefore delivering care and support within local communities is a win-win for both patients and the health service.
“The Scottish Ambulance Service have a key role to play in this transformation and I am delighted they are increasing their capacity to provide more patient care in the community. In turn this will reduce pressure on our A&Es and cut the number of avoidable hospital admissions.”
David Garbutt, Scottish Ambulance Service chairman, said: “We welcome this additional investment which will further enable us to deliver the highest possible level of patient-centred care across Scotland in line with our ‘Towards 2020’ strategy.
“The Service is committed to seeing and treating more patients in their own homes and communities, where it is clinically appropriate, rather than taking them away from family support and into a hospital environment.
“Our specialist paramedics have completed additional training in urgent and emergency care which means they can treat patients at home and refer them for appropriate follow up when necessary.
“This ensures more ambulance resources are available to respond to emergencies and immediately life threatening calls, helping us to save more lives.”