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Seeing Double as Blue Light Services Join Forces

12 June 2007

12 June 2007

Late night revellers in York could be forgiven for thinking they're seeing double as the city's first-ever joint emergency force takes to the beat.

In a county-wide first, the pairing of a paramedic with a police officer on late night weekend shifts means emergency care is now on the city's streets - helping to reduce unnecessary 999 calls and visits to A&E.

It's a partnership formula which, say health chiefs and the police, is already proving to be a huge success.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service area manager Dave Butterfield, the man whose idea impressed North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust to fund the six-month pilot, says the scheme is a win-win situation for all the partner organisations.

He said: "It works for the people who are injured because they're seen quicker, it works for the police because they have a paramedic on the scene, helping to cut down unnecessary trips to A&E, it works for the hospital because they see fewer people who don't need A&E treatment and it works for us because it frees up our two-crew ambulances for serious incidents and emergencies.

"This is about being able to treat those people who might have had a bit too much to drink, fallen over, or got into a fight. We're able to treat them on the scene while the police officer is able to handle difficult situations and public order. It makes for a really good partnership."

The paramedic is also able to make decisions, based on the patient's clinical needs, whether they need to go to hospital. The rapid response car is then able to take them, instead of calling for an ambulance.

Director of Nursing and Patient Care for North Yorkshire and York Primary Care, Trust, Gary Hardman said: "This new scheme is about joined-up, innovative thinking by NHS staff which benefits everyone and even though it's early days, feedback is so far extremely positive. It means using the skills and resources we have to their full advantage and not compromising patients who have a genuine need for attending A&E or being admitted as an Emergency."

Chief Inspector of Operations, North Yorkshire Police Central Area, Dave Hall, said: "We are happy to assist with what shows every sign of being a first rate service to the public. So far it is working extremely well and we are very happy with this excellent example of practical partnership working."

Chief operating officer at York Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Mike Proctor, said: "Innovative schemes like this enable our accident and emergency staff to concentrate on treating and caring for patients who need urgent attention and we're delighted that the early feedback is so encouraging."

The scheme started at the beginning of May and is three weeks into its six-month pilot. 

Notes to Editors:

1. The rapid response police and paramedic team works Friday and Saturday nights, Bank Holidays and occasions where large numbers of revellers are anticipated, such as race meetings.
2. Yorkshire Ambulance Service runs similar schemes in Hull and Sheffield, and a trial scheme has just finished in Leeds.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department