January 18, 2018
With demand for emergency transport during the winter months at an all-time high, some parts of southeast England are using taxis to aid in the delivery of patients to hospital. With heavy pressure on the NHS for timely services, alternative patient transport has been organised by the trusts in a bid to reduce waiting times.
“Across the region, Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers (HALOs) work in Accident & Emergency departments to manage the flow of ambulance patients arriving at the department.”
Non-Emergency Patient Transport
Hundreds of ambulances had hazardous wait times to get patients into A&E departments over the festive period and a decision was made to try and relieve the problem with extra transport. East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) said they moved to their highest state of alert on December 31 and using taxis enabled them to free up crews to attend more serious or life-threatening incidents. A spokesman for the trust confirmed that patients using taxis didn’t require specialist clinical care, and the taxis represented a very small proportion of calls taken.
Eighteen taxis were used across six counties including Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk to help the emergency ambulances attend priority cases.
Matt Broad, Deputy Director of Service Delivery, commented on the decision to use taxis as patient transport to free up some emergency ambulances.
He said: “Across the region, Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers (HALOs) work in Accident & Emergency departments to manage the flow of ambulance patients arriving at the department. Our HALOs assist the hospital A&E teams and our ambulance crews to handover the sickest patients as a priority. HALOs are working in collaboration with A&E staff to assist with the smooth running of hospital handovers during busy periods.”
“The trust, as well as the wider NHS, is still experiencing incredibly high demand and is under extreme pressure. We’re urging the public to choose wisely when it comes to selecting which NHS service they need and to only call for an ambulance if it is a life-threatening emergency”.