AMBULANCES will no longer take patients from care homes to A&E unless they are in a ‘serious condition.’

The move is aimed at reducing pressure on the ambulance service and hospital emergency departments in Worcestershire.

Instead of ambulances taking care home patients to A&E, they will be seen by community nursing teams, pharmacists and out of hours GPs.

For patients living in a nursing or care home, residential home, rest home or other sheltered accommodation across Worcestershire, the Strategic Capacity Cell (SCC) system will be used, which is where ambulance crews try to find safe alternatives to taking someone to A&E. This is unless the patient is in a serious condition and requires immediately treatment at the nearest emergency department.

The ambulance service has a target-time of handing over a patient to a hospital within 15 minutes of arrival there. However, in December 2019, the total number of hospital handover delays exceeding two hours and three hours at Worcestershire Royal Hospital was 236.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The service utilises the Strategic Capacity Cell (SCC) all year round to assist crews in finding suitable and safe alternatives to taking patients to A&E departments. Since its launch in March 2019, the SCC has safely diverted more than 20,000 patients away from A&E departments with the use of alternative pathways. All patients who are in a serious condition and require the receiving hospital to be placed on alert will still be conveyed immediately without the need to contact the SCC.”