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999 call crew data in focus.


ONE in nine ambulances attending emergency calls in Teesside do not include a paramedic, data shows.

Ambulances are attending calls with ambulances technicians or emergency care assistants.

The North East Ambulance Service, the trust responsible for emergency response on Teesside, said that not all patients needed a paramedic and they are always available as back-up if they're not sent initially.

Data supplied under Freedom of Information laws showed around 200 of the most serious calls - classified as Red 1 emergencies where ambulances must arrive within eight minutes - were answered by vehicles without a paramedic, in the last two years.

However the numbers come with a caveat; they are based on vehicle counts, so for some incidents more than one ambulance may have attended, some of which may have been crewed by paramedics.

And there are some vehicle types that may have had a paramedic on board, but would not be as standard.

A spokeswoman for the ambulance service said: "Providing unmatched quality of care every time we touch lives is at the absolute centre of everything we do, no matter what resource is dispatched to a patient.

"Not all patients require a paramedic or even hospital admission and, in light of the national paramedic shortage, it is even more important to ensure the additional clinical skills of our paramedics are reserved for those patients who need them."

She said the service has a number of types of vehicles and recent NHS England changes to ambulance service standards makes it easier to identify a patient's needs before deciding who to send.

"For those patients who do require hospital admission, our emergency care technicians are able to deal with a number of conditions, such as breathlessness, without the need to call upon a paramedic," she said.

"But [they] are able to request a paramedic if, following an assessment of the patient, they feel a paramedic is required."

According to the Health and Care Professions Council, technicians and care assistants provide basic to intermediate level emergency healthcare.

Technicians are clinically trained and practise autonomously, but are able to administer a smaller range of medicines and have a more narrower range of practical invasive skills than paramedics, while ECAs are trained to provide basic life support.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 25, 2017
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