Bosses at East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) have welcomed the comments and recommendations made in a report by the Government’s Health Committee.
The report by the Select Committee said the failure of emergency departments to meet national waiting time targets earlier this year was as a result of an increased number of admissions in hospitals.
It said there was a need for more information on factors that drove increasing numbers of patients into accident and emergency departments.
Commenting on the report, Phil Milligan, Chief Executive of EMAS, said: “The review of Health and emergency services was carried out in response to the ever increasing demands being experienced by the emergency care system.
“From an ambulance service perspective, I’m pleased to see the Committee have recognised the potential we have to offer by carrying-out an even more central role in looking after patients in the community.
“The expansion of ‘hear and treat’ and ‘see and treat’ are a key component of our Being the Best Programme, this report supports our vision for ambulance services for the future.”
Under current EMAS proposals, the ambulance group is planning to create nine hubs, 19 ambulance stations and 108 community ambulance stations across the East Midlands.
Mr Milligan continued: “The report says ambulance services should be seen as care providers and not a service that simply readies patients for journeys to hospital.
“I agree with this 100 per cent. Ambulance services have made massive strides forward over recent years when it comes to staff’s clinical skills and our highly skilled paramedics are already carrying out advanced treatments on our patients.
“It would be great if they could be trained in an even broader range of skills so more people are treated at scene rather than being taken to a hospital emergency department.
“In another measure to reduce hospital emergency attendances, it’s recommended that we provide ‘over the phone’ treatment and advice for patients.
“Again, we’re already doing this and we expect to expand this, working closely with other community services.
“If the Government has the will to see these recommendations through and ambulance services are given the necessary funding to make the changes, I’m sure it will go a long way to releasing pressure on our hard pressed hospitals, but more importantly, it will mean that patients receive the best possible treatment in the right place at the right time.
“I look forward to hearing more about the exciting opportunities that may arise from the Health Committee’s work.”