Ambulance service plan to extend mobile phone app use to off-duty staff to help potential heart attack patients

A ‘rapid response’ mental health team and an app to alert nearby first aiders to potential heart attacks are among plans being worked on by ambulance chiefs.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 4:45 pm
Bosses at the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) have been working on the proposals as part of efforts to improve the care on offer to patients.

Bosses at the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) have been working on the proposals as part of efforts to improve the care on offer to patients.

Some measures, such as using the GoodSAM app to notify community first responders, volunteers trained to attend emergency incidents, are already in place, but it is hoped this could be extended to staff as well.

“If you’re off duty but have the app on your phone, we can track it when you say you’re available from the control room,” said Mark Cotton, NEAS’s assistant director of communications.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“If you’re the nearest person to someone who has called in about a cardiac arrest we will call you in while the ambulance is on its way.”

Mr Cotton was speaking at this morning’s meeting of Durham County Council’s Adults, Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

For 2019/20 NEAS set itself three ‘quality priorities’:

To develop a ‘Just and Restorative Culture’; To develop a ‘mental health implementation plan’; To respond quicker to patients in cardiac arrest.

The NEAS Trust Fund already pays to install Community Public Access Defibrillators (CPADs) across the region.

The service is also developing a ‘rapid response car’ for a specialist mental health team which can attended incidents alongside regular ambulance crews.

And it has a long-term aim to overhaul its working practices in a bid to eliminate ‘blame culture’ from the organisation.

Mr Cotton added: “When mistakes happen we look to focus on how people behave at work and whether there is any systemic issues that need to be addressed.

“We’ve moved forward this year and looked at how staff report incidents and tried to address barriers they have to reporting clinical incidents.

“The unique way ambulance services work [compared to other health trusts] means staff are often in a patient’s home and so a lot of good activity and practice is often missed so we want to focus on that.”