NIAS welcomes EU investment of €1.1 million in Community Paramedic Services

Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Scotland to benefit from Community Paramedic services to enable care to be provided closer to a patient’s home 

This week has seen the formal launch of the €1.1 million EU INTERREG VA funded cross border Community Paramedic Project. Tony O’ Brien, Director General of the Republic of Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE), was joined by representatives from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the HSE’s National Ambulance Service at the launch in Dublin.

This new collaboration between the three national ambulance services has been warmly welcomed and has resulted in the establishment of Community Paramedic services in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Community Paramedics associated with this project are undergoing specialised training accredited by Glasgow Caledonian University. The project has recently commenced and is enabling Community Paramedics to provide safe and effective care to patients in their own homes and communities and is already reducing unnecessary ambulance transports to emergency departments.

Pictured (from left to right) are: Bridget Clarke and Louise Potts, Cross Border CAWT Acute Project; Brian McNeill, Director of Operations, NI Ambulance Service; Bernie McCrory, Chief Officer, CAWT cross border health; Martin Dunne, Director, National Ambulance Service (Rep of Ireland); Wendy Quinn, Head of Service, Scottish Ambulance Service; Sean Murphy, General Manager, Letterkenny University Hospital and Michael Rooney, HSE.

The Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) Health and Social Care Partnership in collaboration with the Scottish Ambulance Service, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the National Ambulance Service in the Republic of Ireland developed the Community Paramedic Project bid for EU INTERREG VA funding which was successful in securing €1.1 million for an 18 month period.

The Project will target specific patient populations in remote and rural areas / border areas of the three regions. The four pilot localities which have been identified for this scheme include Castlederg, Co Tyrone in Northern Ireland; Buncrana, Co. Donegal and Clones, Co. Monaghan in the border region of the Republic of Ireland; and the Argyle & Bute region in SW Scotland.

In addition to providing Community Paramedic training to eligible individuals, the EU funding is being used to invest in new rapid response vehicles for the pilot areas in the three ambulance regions. These vehicles are fitted out specifically to provide care to patients in their homes or their community. This means that, within the pilot areas, more patients can be treated at home instead of having to be transported by ambulance to hospital emergency departments.

Commenting on this initiative, Michael Bloomfield, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said: “At a time when Health and Social Care is experiencing unprecedented demand which manifests itself in extreme pressure in Emergency Departments, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is delighted to be participating in this initiative enabling Paramedics to work closely with other healthcare professionals within rural and border area communities. The greatest benefits will be felt by patients themselves who will receive the appropriate assessment and treatment in their homes, if admission to hospital is not the deemed appropriate. NIAS welcomes the introduction of this enhanced Paramedic role as it offers an excellent opportunity for career progression for staff.”

Community Paramedics participants from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Republic of Ireland’s National Ambulance Service who are undergoing specialist training as part of the €1.1 million EU INTERREG VA funded CAWT cross border Community Paramedic Project. In the vehicle (left to right): Mark Sheerin, Community Paramedic, Buncrana Primary Care Centre and Damian Muldoon, Community Paramedic, Castlederg Primary Care Centre. Standing at the front (left to right): Anne McDermott, Community Paramedic, Buncrana Primary Care Centre; Brendan Finan, Community Paramedic, Clones GP Practice and Declan Smith, Community Paramedic, Clones GP Practice. Standing at the back (left to right): Caroline French, Community Paramedic, Castlederg Primary Care Centre and Scott Ramsey, Community Paramedic, Scottish Ambulance Service.

Speaking at the launch event in Dublin, Tony O’Brien, Director General of the HSE welcomed this new initiative, which allows Paramedics to broaden the routine healthcare services they provide and will help to improve rural urgent medical services. He said: “Emergency Care pressures are a constant challenge for all health systems in Europe. This innovative project, enabled by EU funding and collaboration with other member states, is a good example of how we can ensure patients receive the right care in the right place while also easing some of the pressures on our Hospital Emergency Departments.  I have no doubt that it will be successful and that we will be rolling it out across Ireland as a key part of our Urgent and Emergency Care system in the coming years.”

Welcoming the project Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body said: “The EU’s INTERREG VA Programme provides funding to organisations that can implement joint cross-border solutions to issues that affect citizens living in the border region. This project, involving ambulance services working together, will enhance the health and social care of citizens living in more rural and isolated areas and will enable the transition from tra

ditional institution-based service provision to a more community-based approach.”

The launch was attended by project participants and stakeholders from all three regions.

Match-funding for the project has been provided by both Departments of Health in Ireland and Northern Ireland and by the Scottish Government.

NI Ambulance Service (NIAS) Community Paramedics at the launch of the €1.1 million EU INTERREG VA funded CAWT cross border Community Paramedic Project involving the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and the Republic of Ireland’s National Ambulance Service. Pictured are Damian Muldoon and Caroline French, Community Paramedics from Castlederg Primary Care Centre, Co. Tyrone.
NI Ambulance Service (NIAS) representatives at the launch of the €1.1 million EU INTERREG VA funded CAWT cross border Community Paramedic Project involving the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and the Republic of Ireland’s National Ambulance Service. Pictured (from left to right): Caroline French, Community Paramedic, Castlederg Primary Care Centre, Co.Tyrone; Brian McNeill, Director of Operations, NIAS; Laura Coulter, Area Manager, Altnagelvin Ambulance Station, NIAS; Frank Orr, Assistant Director, NIAS and Damian Muldoon, Community Paramedic, Castlederg Primary Care Centre, Co.Tyrone.

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Falls News

Falls continues to be one of the main reasons people call 999 in NI.

Until now we were only able to refer patients in some areas across NI. From 01 June 2017, NIAS clinicians can refer patients over 65 who are assessed as safe to leave at home to their local falls team no matter where they live.

The Falls team will assess the patient over the phone and can refer you on to a range of services depending on your needs: OT, Physio, Older People’s Doctor, Pharmacy etc.

This is good news!

 

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Register your Defibrillator

Register your AEDNIAS has been working with ‘parkrun’ in Northern Ireland to encourage registration of public access defibrillators, and we would like to urge anyone responsible for one, that hasn’t yet done so, to register it with us by filling out our online form at http://www.nias.hscni.net/our-services/aed

By registering your AED with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, it means that our Emergency Control Operators can direct a caller to the nearest defibrillator, potentially saving a life.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service attempts resuscitation on over 2000 people suffering a pre-hospital cardiac arrest each year.

For every minute that passes whilst in cardiac arrest, chances of survival decrease by 10%.

Increasing the availability of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) throughout Northern Ireland would, without a doubt, improve our cardiac arrest survival rates.

When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their heart stops and blood is no longer being pumped around their body. The longer the patient waits for emergency life-support, the harder it becomes to restart their heart.

A defibrillator is a device used to give an electric shock to help restart a heart when it is in cardiac arrest. If more public access defibrillators were available, more people could receive a lifesaving shock as quickly as possible, before the arrival of an Ambulance, giving them the greatest chance of survival.

AEDs are safe and easy to use by anyone with little or no training. The device tells you, and displays what you need to do, with many devices also showing pictures.

The best possible chance for someone’s survival is for them to receive immediate effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation.

This is where you and your community, organisation or business could make a difference.

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Ambulance Crew Assaulted While Attending Patient

An ambulance crew was assaulted in Trillick last night by a female patient who had called for their assistance moments earlier.

Responding to a 999 call, the ambulance crew sought to do nothing more than help an individual in need. During assessment and initial treatment the patient struck out at one of the female crew striking her on the face and also kicking her.  The second member of the crew, who was also female, attempted to intervene to prevent the patient from damaging equipment and, as a result, sustained an arm injury.

The crew removed themselves from the scene and called for police assistance who arrived and dealt with the individual involved.

Both crew members were stood down as they were unable to continue their shift meaning that the significantly rural area in and around Enniskillen was left with reduced cover between 11pm and 8am this morning with only one crew remaining to cope with calls in the area.

Assaults on our crews continue on an almost daily basis and the Trust hopes that by continuing to highlight those more serious in nature that everyone with influence in local communities and leadership positions wider afield will do all they can to support our staff, particularly by ensuring that those who carry out such attacks are brought before the courts to face the real prospect of custodial sentencing.

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Man & 2 Children Struck by Lightning

lightning-199651_1280The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is urging caution following an incident today when a man and two young children were struck by lightning in Lisburn.

NIAS was called to the scene, just before 2 pm today, following reports that an adult male had been struck by a bolt of lightning. A Rapid Response Paramedic was on scene in 7 minutes to find that two children had also been struck. Three A&E crews and a further 2 RRV Paramedics were sent to the scene.

The adult was taken to the nearby Lagan Valley Hospital and the two children were taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. All three are being treated for the injuries sustained and they remain in our thoughts.

As more thundery showers are forecast with the possibility of lightning we would ask people to remain very vigilant when they are out and about. If
there is a high chance of thunder storms – lightning safety advice would suggest that you stay indoors but if you are outside you should avoid open fields and hilltops. You should also stay away from tall, isolated trees. If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current travelling between group members. You should also stay away from water and wet items as well as metal objects, which are all excellent conductors of electricity.

Please – just stay safe!

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NIAS advice to the public ahead of industrial action

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is facing more than two weeks of industrial action from Monday 27 April 2015, in addition to action already being taken by NIPSA which commenced at the beginning of April.

UNISON and GMB trade unions have informed the Trust that they will be advising their staff to work to contracted hours only from that date. The UNISON action will finish on 10 May and GMB will complete their action the following day.

Additionally the UNITE trade union has advised NIAS of their intention to withdraw labour for a 24 hour period on 6 May.

How will this impact on NIAS’s ability to deliver a service?

Working to contracted hours will reduce our capacity to respond as staff are being asked by Trade Unions not to work voluntary overtime. As a result of the withdrawal of labour by UNITE staff on 6 May 2015, NIAS anticipates that there will be an impact on the frontline but also within the Control room.

What will this mean for those who have need of the service?

In relation to the “working to contracted hours only” NIAS anticipates that this will impact on our ability to respond to calls as quickly as we would like and that a backlog of calls may build up.

In relation to the day of action on May 6, the Trust anticipates that there may be delays in answering calls in the control centre which will have a knock on impact on the despatch of ambulances.

What advice can NIAS provide to the public for this period?

The most important advice is that, at all times but particularly over this period, people should only use 999 when they really need it.

NIAS will continue to prioritise calls and will respond first to those with the highest clinical need.

Before calling 999, we would ask the public to consider:

•  Visiting a pharmacy

•  Contacting a GP

•  Using “out of hours” services

•  Using Minor Injury Units

•  Making their own way to the Emergency Department if appropriate

When would NIAS advise patients to phone 999?

NIAS would advise patients to call 999 especially, but not exclusively, in cases of:

•  Unconsciousness

•  Severe blood loss

•  Chest pain

•  Breathing difficulties

•  Severe burns or scalds

•  Fitting

•  Choking

•  Drowning

•  Severe allergic reactions

For more information, please visit our ‘Calling 999‘ page.

Is it possible that calls may not be responded to?

NIAS will seek to respond to all calls from the public. However due to the prioritisation process applied there may be delays for those less clinical urgent calls which we appreciate may cause distress to those involved including elderly people who may have fallen, some young children with broken bones or people who may have been involved in road traffic collisions and have not suffered serious injury.

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Press Statement Issued jointly on behalf of NIAS Trust and Trade Unions

Ref: Industrial Action 13 March 2015

  The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has been advised by Trade Unions of the intention of their members to strike on Friday 13 th March. The Trust recognises and respects the right of staff to participate in Industrial Action alongside the need to engage with Trade Unions to maintain patient safety and emergency services.

Discussions with Regional representatives had resulted in an agreed protocol whereby gaps in cover for emergency services and activities would be further discussed with local Trade Union representatives.

Following productive discussions today with local Trade Union representatives where the Trust has been informed that staff will either,

•  exercise their right to completely withdraw their services for full or part of the day or

•  staff may report for duty and only respond to Category A (potentially life threatening) calls. (Where possible staff who wish to respond from a picket line will be facilitated.),

a joint Management and Trade Union statement has been issued to staff highlighting progress that has been made during the discussions.

This current position protects response to the most seriously ill, potentially life-threatening patients, however, it represents removal of the capacity of the ambulance service to respond to and transport to hospital urgent but not immediately life-threatening patients, which accounts for 60% of 999 calls.

In relation to non-emergency work, NIAS has identified areas of work which would still be considered clinically critical including palliative care patients, oncology patients, renal patients and paediatric patients, towards which PCS resources will be directed as appropriate. The Trust must now cancel all other PCS activity on the day of the strike and patients will be informed accordingly.

Ambulance control staff are also involved in the strike action and this may impact on the speed at which calls to the Control centre are answered.

NIAS and Trade Unions continue to engage in a process to identify measures to address gaps in cover for emergency services and will reconvene on Thursday in an effort to progress these matters.

 

END

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