Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Ambulance Chasing

Today, I visited the Ambulance depot near Chertsey, which services part of the constituency. Our frontline paramedics face a range of challenges - whether picking up the pieces after binge-drinking in town centers, or aiding an ageing population.

The team at Chertsey have rolled out 'Make Ready', a system which has separate specialist teams cleaning, stocking and maintaining the ambulances - so paramedics spend more time responding to patients. Imported to Britain from Richmond, Virginia, in the US, it has been critical both to cutting rates of MRSA and CDiff on ambulances, and driving more efficient use of resources. The depot is viewed as a beacon of best practice.

It is not all plain sailing. Staff explained the distorting effect of straitjacket targets that measure how quickly an ambulance reaches its destination - but ignore whether paramedics save a life on arrival. And there are poor checks on members of the public who call 999, but don't need urgent attention - something it is hoped the new 111 number may help to fix. Still, staff were upbeat and incredibly enthusiastic - their dedication is truly impressive.

(Touring the depot with the local team, led by Clinincal Operations manager, Steve Haire)


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