In common with other ambulance trusts, East Midlands Ambulance Service is experiencing year-on-year increases in 999 calls, writes Chris Boyce
To understand why, we mapped our demand and activity data with local authority deprivation information (see Emergency services get the most calls from deprived areas). When we looked at the main reasons why people call 999, we found this was a result of falls ahead of breathing problems and chest pain.
Falling is often an important early warning sign which could warrant further investigation. We are working with our commissioners to develop new protocols which will allow our staff to refer patients into local services for assessment, to prevent future falls, potential injury and unnecessary hospital admission.
Our findings also demonstrate that 999 call information can be used to inform local multi-agency plans and we are working in partnership with NHS East Midlands, the government office for the East Midlands and the East Midlands public health observatory to develop tools which will enable us to produce the necessary data.
I would urge other ambulance trusts to work in partnership with their local public health colleagues, as we are certainly benefiting from sharing knowledge and skills. I would also encourage commissioners to consider the contribution their ambulance trust could make to improving the health of their populations - we have a great deal to offer the wider health community.
Chris Boyce, director of business development and community relations, East Midlands Ambulance Service trust