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Ambulance contract update faces resistance

Ambulance contract update faces resistance

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A contract forcing ambulance crews to take fewer frail elderly patients to hospital, initiated by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is facing opposition. 

North Staffordshire CCG's new contract would see performance indicators brought in to ensure the service meets the new targets, underpinned by financial penalties for failings. 

It will see GPs sent into the home instead. 

The CCG hopes this will ensure the frail elderly have care brought to their doors instead of facing hospital admissions. 

The contract will also ensure that terminally ill patients can spend their last days at home instead of on hospital wards. 

However, the West Midlands Ambulance Trust said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the change. 

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "Paramedics will only take patients to hospital if it is necessary. The trust has invested heavily in its staff and will become the first in the country where there will be a paramedic on every vehicle.

"We are already seeing this plan lead to many more patients being treated at home, with the number of patients taken to hospital at an all-time low.” 

Dr David Hughes, North Staffordshire CCG chief accountable officer, said: "I accept it will be challenging for them to operate differently, but I know the service is keen to work with us.

“We need to know that when an ambulance goes out to see a patient with a terminal illness, it does not automatically take them to hospital.”

The changes could be in place by April 2014. 

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