The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) has launched a new initiative which aims to improve services and engagement with communities throughout the North West region.
The first of its kind in the UK, the Trust has developed a new Advanced Community Paramedic (ACP) role, individual clinicians who will work more closely with communities it serves and help deliver more locally co-designed models of care.
The introduction of the ACP role will provide a stable central role within the community to add additional capacity as a 999 responder and to build relationships with patients, the public and other provider organisations, to create a more integrated and patient-centered approach.
The purpose of the role is to improve the local community infrastructure and to provide safe care closer to home. The ACPs will be co-located with a local primary or community care facility such as a GP Practice, Health Centre or Community Hospital and will remain in the community on a permanent basis.
The role will support and develop existing schemes including; Safe Care Closer to Home, Community First Responders, Mental Health care, end of life care, frequent callers and protecting vulnerable persons. Working with other providers, the ACPs will be able to identify and work with groups of the local population to improve their health and wellbeing.
Director of Operations, Derek Cartwright comments: “The Trust recognised a need within some of the regions most isolated and busier areas for a dedicated clinician to forge proactive and positive relationships within communities. As an innovative new role, the Advanced Community Paramedics will become a familiar face in the area they are based; focusing on meeting the needs of patients and assisting in the strengthening of community services with local businesses, services, and councils.
“We will monitor the progress of the roles closely over the coming months and we are sure they will be a great asset to the Trust and most of all, to our patients.” tweet
Local patient and community engagement forums will be established to improve the quality and experience of services and care provided, with a focus on the co-creation and co-production of services including the identification of how community assets can be used more.
The ACPs will help promote innovation by testing new ideas or technologies in an ambulance setting such as; Patient Activation Measures, Health Coaching, telemedicine and the use of self-care and self-triage guidance by patients.
This scheme will offer patients and the community the opportunity to have a say in how care is delivered by their local ambulance service; improving their health and experience of patients. In the longer term this will result in increased care delivered closer to home, with a reduction in 999 demand and unplanned hospital admissions.
There are 12 localities/communities within the region which have been identified for the scheme, and are a mix of remote rural, rural and urbanised areas. The first phase of placements are: Millom, (Cumbria) Pendle, (Lancashire) and Alsager, (Cheshire).