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Ambulance Services

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the letter to her from the Minister of State, Department of Health, responsible for delivery and reform, published on her Department's website on 31 January 2007, whether paramedics are expected to take all patients from 999 calls to accident and emergency. (123068)

The Department has made clear that ambulance clinicians are not expected to take all patients from 999 calls to accident and emergency departments. Some calls may be resolved over the telephone, and some patients may be treated at the scene or in the community and therefore do not need to go to hospital. In 2005-06, national health service ambulance trusts in England received 5.96 million 999 calls, and attended 4.77 million incidents. Of those incidents attended, 73 per cent. resulted in an emergency patient journey. Guidance was issued in 2002, 2004 and 2005 to this effect.

My letter to the Secretary of State for Health expressed the need to build on the Department's action to date on this issue, and emphasised that more patients could be treated at the scene or in the community.