999 staff could hit targets with new measures, says NHS team
ELECTRICAL scanners and extra trolleys are among ideas by health bosses to reduce the time it takes for patients to be handed over to hospital staff by 999 crews.
Staff at East Midlands Ambulance Service are expected to transfer patients and pass on information in 15 minutes of their arrival at hospital.
They should then take no more than a further 15 minutes to leave and be available for their next call.
But members of the NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group – the new GP-led organisation set to take over local health services in April – said the first part of the handover was sometimes taking between 20 to 25 minutes.
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National health chiefs have now declared a "zero-tolerance policy" towards hand-over delays across the country, with health trusts facing fines for "significant delays" of 60 minutes or more.
Peter Moore, the group's director of acute commissioning, said they were now looking at ways to reduce handover times.
These include introducing electrical sensors on doors at the Royal Derby Hospital's accident and emergency department, which would collect information about the patient from the trolley carrying them and details being sent straight to the computer system.
Emas said it has already successfully trialled this idea at King's Mill Hospital, in Nottinghamshire.
Extra trolleys would also be added to the department to free up ones which need to be taken back to ambulances, while a new member of staff – called a hospital ambulance liaison officer – would be recruited to oversee 999 staff.
Mr Moore said: "I think these measures can have a huge impact on handover times and have real advantages for both the patient and the staff."
Mr Moore said some measures had already been introduced.
These included creating "make-ready teams" – which he described as being similar to Formula One pit crews – who re-stock ambulance vehicles for the paramedics.
Emas chief executive Phil Milligan said: "Hospital and ambulance turnaround is not something that can be resolved individually by organisations.
"We are working proactively together in the East Midlands to make sure we are all playing our part to promote alternative health services for people who do not require 999 or A&E services.
"We are also working to ensure the smooth transfer of care for patients, enabling our crews to 'book clear' as early as possible."
Derby hospitals' divisional director of medicine, Sharon Martin, said: "We are working hard to do all we can to speed up ambulance handover times so that patients arriving at A&E are seen as quickly as possible – so we welcome the introduction of these additional measures."