A new pilot will see 12 London Ambulance Service paramedics making house calls on e-bikes to help administer this season’s flu vaccinations. They’ll also be assessing and treating patients, including those who have coronavirus and a pre-existing health condition.
The six-month pilot is an innovation of Merton Health – a collective of six Primary Care Networks comprising GP practices in South-West London.
The aim is to alleviate some of the pressure on GP surgeries, speeding up the time it takes for patients to be seen.
It is hoped that it will also reduce the need to send ambulances and reduce unnecessary attendance at A&E.
Chief Operating Officer of London Ambulance Service, Khadir Meer said: “Winter is an extremely busy time for our health service and with the exceptional year we have had, we hope this pilot will help relieve pressure on GP surgeries and ensure ambulances go where they are most needed.
“Nobody wants to go to hospital unless they have to and with finite resources, our highly-skilled clinicians are well placed to assess whether patients need care at home or if hospital treatment is required.
“We’re proud to partner with Merton Health and to provide their Primary Care Networks with our skilled paramedics. Merton are truly leading the way and we look forward to exploring further opportunities with other Primary Care Networks in the future.”
Mariam Ganesaratnam, Chief Executive Officer of Merton Health added: “This year has been a challenge for the entire NHS, with pressures building in general practice and A&Es and our hospitals seeing an increase in admissions. We have been pulling out the stops to ensure that we are prepared for winter and that our teams are resilient.
“I have had the pleasure of working with London Ambulance Service paramedics on the frontline and we believe that this new service will bring significant benefits to our networks, practices and our patients.
“These paramedics will be vital to relieving winter pressures and will be a real asset to Primary Care Networks in Merton. This has been an exciting opportunity and we hope that this partnership extends beyond the six-month pilot.”
The pilot will run until April 2021, at which point it is hoped that it will become permanent with the aim to then expand it across London.
We reported earlier in the week how an e-bike designed specifically for medics is now in use in Paris.
The Emergency Bike allows doctors to cross the city more quickly than in a motor vehicle and offers enough space to carry all necessary medical supplies.