The doctor will Skype you now!

Ambulance 1 - SWAS

7:56am 17th July 2017
(Updated 8:17am 17th July 2017)

Patients who ring 999 for an ambulance could soon be assessed on video-call technology like Skype if their condition is judged as non life-threatening.

The South Central Ambulance Service, which covers four regions in England including Hampshire, says a trial's underway to see if medics can make more accurate decisions.

The authority says the move could help offset the difficulties posed by diagnosing a patient over the phone without being able to see them.

The trial began at nursing homes with frequent callers for the ambulance service.

A spokeswoman for SCAS said other trusts were also trying video consultations.

"SCAS is currently trialling the use of technology to provide face-to-face consultations over the telephone, as are other ambulance trusts.

"This was initially started at certain nursing homes who were frequent callers to our service. This enables both the patient and the trained clinician within the clinical co-ordination centre (where 999 calls are received) to see each other. This gives the clinician more information when they are assessing the patient as they can see the patient and view the injury severity, symptoms, etc.

"The patient can see the clinician which improves the experience of the assessment they receive.

"There are some injuries or conditions that are more challenging to assess over the phone with no visual aid and this trial provides increased patient safety during a telephone assessment."

According to its website South Central Ambulance Service handles around 540,000 emergency and urgent calls each year.

Other revelations about the work of the ambulance service included that it operates a "no send" policy for its vehicles to the lowest-risk patients during times of peak demand.

SCAS said this was to allow them to prioritise those most at risk if resources are under strain.

During such times, there is also a taxi firm which works with the authority to provide an alternative mode of transport if no ambulances are available to rush people to hospital, it added.


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