Have you heard about the clinical support desks in the Trust’s control rooms? Clinical General Manager Darren Maguire gives his perspective about their function, their benefits and what you can expect if your 999 goes through to the desk.
“The clinical support desks (CSD) are manned by clinical advisors who talk to patients or someone who has called 999 on their behalf about less serious conditions to see if we can give them a more appropriate response.”
“When you consider that Christmas 2012 was our busiest period ever with the team of clinical advisors finding alternative care for more than 2,000 patients who called 999 each week, you get an idea of the impact the clinicians can have. Since Christmas our workload has remained high and generally follows the demand we see as a Trust…so when crews are busy treating patients face to face, the advisors and clinical coordinators are also busy hearing and treating patients over the phone.”
“We are seeing positive ‘Hear & Treat’ outcomes for nearly 900 calls, allowing EEAST resources to be sent to more appropriate calls. As you can imagine, speaking with patients over the phone isn’t always easy as having dialled 999, they expect a response in the form of an ambulance crew, even if that isn’t clinically appropriate. The team uses software as a guide to their triage, making decisions and creating a patient care record for every patient contact and in order to ensure quality, we audit a portion of calls against national standards each week and we’re on average 98% compliant.”
“In recent weeks we have started to use a ‘bridge’ to utilise the regional Directory of Services, to hopefully further improve appropriate pathways for patients as we should be able to access more accurate information on local services. We have also been working to help identify those who frequently call 999 and as the desks play a vital role in responding to these patient, hopefully we will be able to improve this area further.”
“For a small team – only 1% of the Trust’s clinical staffing – they do an amazing job in managing 8% of our overall emergency so if you do call 999 and you’re transferred to the CSD desk, be sure that you’re getting a high quality of clinical care from the off and the right response for you.”