Week two of the Explorer pilot - the Welsh Ambulance Service’s trial of ring-fencing ambulance resources within the Cwm Taf area – has seen a further improvement for 8 minute response times to the most urgent calls. Since the beginning of the pilot, 8 minute response times across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf have risen to 55%.
Judith White, Head of Operations in Cwm Taf for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We have seen steady improvement in our 8 minute response times over the first two weeks of the pilot. This means we’re getting to more patients in a shorter period of time.
“We want to see a continued improvement and members of the public can help by only calling for an ambulance when it’s appropriate to do so.”
The Welsh Ambulance Service began a trial of ring-fencing ambulance resources within the Cwm Taf area for a six-week period on 30 March.
The aim is to improve ambulance 8 minute response times and outcomes for patients by reducing cross border activity and improving efficiency.
WAST and Cwm Taf University Health Board are working closely together to raise awareness of the ‘Explorer’ project among staff and the public as well as publicise key messages around ‘choosing well’ and only calling an ambulance for emergencies.
Prior to the Explorer pilot, ambulances were frequently deployed to calls in neighbouring Health Board areas, which significantly affected the ambulance service’s ability to meet the 8 minute response time target in Cwm Taf.
During the ‘Explorer’ project, all calls in Cwm Taf are being responded to by a Cwm Taf vehicle, and, with the exception of Red 1 (highest priority) calls or requests for back up to Red 1 calls and major incidents, no vehicles will be dispatched to calls outside the Cwm Taf boundary. Additionally, no vehicles will be deployed to calls within Cwm Taf, with the exception of Red 1 calls, Red 1 backup and major incidents.
As well as more appropriate use of ambulances a new process of managing lower priority patients needing a hospital admission through the use of dedicated additional vehicles will be trialled for a two week period during March.
The Explorer will continue to be monitored closely throughout the period and data will be analysed in order to inform long term improvement measures.
Judith White, Head of Operations in Cwm Taf for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “Historically, there has been a significant pull on Cwm Taf ambulance resources outside the Cwm Taf area. Many of our emergency ambulances were frequently deployed to respond to calls in neighbouring Health Board areas affecting our ability to respond to patients within the Cwm Taf area; this has been a significant factor affecting our ambulance response times.
“Additionally, we know that some of our call demand does not always require an Emergency Ambulance to transport a patient to Hospital, which is why we are keen to test a new process of managing this by using our Urgent Care vehicles or taxis where it is clinically safe and appropriate to do so.”