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Dear North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust,

During the COVID-19 pandemic, as public we’ve seen private and voluntary ambulance crews respond to lower-acuity jobs, and patients of higher priority have had to wait longer - even when there have been ambulances available for them. Why have third-party or VAS crews;
a) Not had access to proper communication equipment?
b) Diverted, or stood-down because jobs are ‘upgraded’ - when you’d send a CFR but not a conveying vehicle.
c) How many of these third party providers have reported to you serious breakdowns in communication?

Yours faithfully,

A. Timpson

FOI Enquiries, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

2 Attachments

[1]North West Ambulance Service - NHS Trust

 

Thank you for your request for information which is currently being
reviewed under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We will
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respond to any FOI requests within the usual 20 working day deadline, but
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FOI Enquiries, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

North West Ambulance Service
 
 
 
 
 
Email:   [1][email address]
 
FOI2047
 
Dear A Timpson,
 
In response to your Freedom of Information request please find the
following answers to your questions:
 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, as public we’ve seen private and voluntary
ambulance crews respond to lower-acuity jobs, and patients of higher
priority have had to wait longer - even when there have been ambulances
available for them. Why have third-party or VAS crews; a) Not had access
to proper communication equipment?
 
The procurement of third party providers is done via a contract with 365.
All resources are provided with a telephone contact number for the trust’s
Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) who coordinate the allocated work to the
providers via a dedicated desk. They also have a backup emergency phone
number to use if they are unable to get through on the general line for
emergency situations.
 
The trust have a number of private providers working on behalf of North
West Ambulance Service and are from many locations across the North West.
We do not have the capacity to provide airwave radios as these are used by
our trust resources.
 
b) Diverted, or stood-down because jobs are ‘upgraded’ - when you’d send a
CFR but not a conveying vehicle.
 
Third party providers have a limited set of response determinants. During
the processing of an emergency call, the priority for the patient may
alter due to changing clinical circumstances. In this case, a third party
provider may be stood down from a call as it no longer sits within their
scope of operations, conversely they may be diverted to call which better
suits their skills.
 
At no time is a CFR allocated to a call without the back-up of a conveying
vehicle; the CFRs and eCFRs have different skillsets to those of third
party providers and a call which sits outside the third party codeset may
be suitable for some CFRs or eCFRs.
 
c) How many of these third party providers have reported to you serious
breakdowns in communication?
 
There has been one issue with communication between a third party provider
and one of the Emergency Operations Centre Clinical Hubs. This was due to
a fault on the phone line which has been reported for repair. An
alternative number was available through the main EOC until the line was
repaired.
 
I hope this information is of assistance.
 
Kind regards
Caroline Turner
 
Freedom of Information
North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Headquarters, Ladybridge Hall, 399 Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 5DD
01204 498306
[2][email address]
[3]www.nwas.nhs.uk  
 
 

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Dear FOI Enquiries/ Caroline,

Thank you for providing me that information. It is of assistance - I do however have three additional question based on the response of NWAS.

b) “Diverted, or stood-down because jobs are ‘upgraded’ - when you’d send a
CFR but not a conveying vehicle”

NWAS: Third party providers have a limited set of response determinants. During
the processing of an emergency call, the priority for the patient may
alter due to changing clinical circumstances. In this case, a third party
provider may be stood down from a call as it no longer sits within their
scope of operations, conversely they may be diverted to call which better
suits their skills.
 
At no time is a CFR allocated to a call without the back-up of a conveying
vehicle; the CFRs and eCFRs have different skillsets to those of third
party providers and a call which sits outside the third party codeset may
be suitable for some CFRs or eCFRs.

Question: I am aware some third-party providers have staffed their ambulances with health care professionals (Nurses, Paramedics and IHCD/Associate Ambulance Practitioners) with adequate medicines and equipment; which will enable them to respond to higher acuity incidents. These skills clearly outweigh, in some situations the scope of practice of CFRs and eCFRs.
i) Why does NWAS not recognise the higher level skills that are provided by some third-party ambulances, especially when those skills are better suited to dealing with higher-acuity patients in our communities?
ii) if a CFR or eCFR have higher skills than a third party crew - why not still send that vehicle to assist with conveying and clinical assessment?
iii) What is the training package of a CFR or eCFR (course length, course content etc) compared to what NWAS expect of a third party urgent care crew’s scope of practice?

Yours sincerely,

A. Timpson

Alice Finch, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

2 Attachments

[1]North West Ambulance Service - NHS Trust

 

Dear A Timpson,

 

In response to your Freedom of Information request please find the 
following answers to your questions:

 

Question: I am aware some third-party providers have staffed their
ambulances with health care professionals (Nurses, Paramedics and
IHCD/Associate Ambulance Practitioners) with adequate medicines and
equipment; which will enable them to respond to higher acuity incidents.
These skills clearly outweigh, in some situations the scope of practice of
CFRs and eCFRs.

 

i)                 Why does NWAS not recognise the higher level skills
that are provided by some third-party ambulances, especially when those
skills are better suited to dealing with higher-acuity patients in our
communities?

 

Third party providers are commissioned by NWAS to undertake urgent care
work only.

 

 

ii)                if a CFR or eCFR have higher skills than a third party
crew - why not still send that vehicle to assist with conveying and
clinical assessment?

 

Third party providers respond to low acuity incidents that have been
triaged by our Clinical Hub.

 

A CFR is a volunteer who responds to emergencies in their local area and
due to their proximity are able to provide potentially life-saving
intervention before an ambulance crew arrives.  

 

iii) What is the training package of a CFR or eCFR (course length, course
content etc) compared to what NWAS expect of a third party urgent care
crew’s scope of practice?

CFRs complete a 4 days classroom based training course that covers medical
emergencies plus pre course learning modules

 

ECFRs complete a 4 month on line training course with 5 classroom sessions
covering medical and Trauma related emergences

 

Both CFRs and ECFRs are assessed during and at the end of their courses
and also complete yearly CPD modules and have an annual  reassessment

 

For third party urgent care crews we request that the crew member is
qualified to level FREC 4.

 

Kind regards,
Alice

 

 

Alice Finch

Communications Officer (Media)

Ext: 4797

 

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