Published Date: 18 February 2010
By Lyndsay Moss
MORE patients calling an ambulance in Scotland could be treated at home by paramedics rather than going to hospital, a report on the future for the service reveals.
The “strategic vision” for the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) over the next five years suggests more conditions could be treated without going to hospital, reducing trips to busy A&E departments.
At present, conditions that can be dealt with by paramedics at home under so-called “see and treat” guidelines are panic attacks, fainting, minor head injuries, fitting and epilepsy, diabetes and asthma. The report also said the service would work with “vulnerable” rural communities to improve the services they received, including more home care.
The SAS said it would develop a new system with NHS 24 and local out-of-hours providers to make sure patients got through to the right service they needed, after its consultation suggested widespread public confusion.
It comes after The Scotsman revealed last week that doctors were increasingly concerned the NHS will not be able to cope with rising demand for emergency out-of-hours services.
The report, which follows a lengthy public consultation, looks at plans to improve the care given to patients from 2010 to 2015.
Demand for ambulances is growing every year. Between 2003-4 and 2008-9, call-outs went up 35 per cent, with a 41 per cent rise out of hours. At the same time, more patients are being treated in Scottish A&Es. This year, it is expected they will deal with more than 1.6 million patients.
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