Date: 31 July 2019
A new community paramedic service has been set up in Weardale.
The service started this month and covers Crook, Willington and Stanhope. It will initially operate for a 12-month trial period. The new service is in addition to a similar scheme which currently operates in Barnard Castle.
Paramedics from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) are working with local GPs, district nurses and falls teams to provide improved, community-based health care and reduce the time it takes to respond to life-threatening emergencies.
The scheme is a joint venture involving NEAS, NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (DDES CCG) and the local GP Federation of doctors.
The paramedic team will use a rapid response vehicle and be available from 8am-8pm seven days a week. They will be work solely in the Crook/Willington/Stanhope area and will respond to immediate life-threatening incidents if they are closest to the patient.
They will also help support GPs by carrying out some home visits and work with other healthcare staff to prepare and deliver care plans for patients with long-term conditions.
Phil Blance, the Clinical Operations Manager for NEAS in the Dales said:
“This new scheme will mean that our paramedics will be much closer to local communities and be able to respond more quickly to the most serious incidents.
“The scheme in Barnard Castle has shown that the number of patients taken to hospital can be significantly reduced – that’s good for patients and helps reduce the impact on the rest of the NHS.”
Stewart Findlay, chief officer of NHS DDES CCG, said: “We have been working hard to find a solution to the difficulties in providing an emergency response to our rural areas for some years now.
“For many years we have invested significant additional money in to the two Durham Dales and the service that now runs in Teesdale offers a solution that is popular with patients and GPs alike.
“It offers the best chance of a rapid response and makes best use of paramedic time which is dedicated to the Dale. It demonstrates how well the CCG has been working with NEAS, our local GPs and our local GP federation and I am delighted to see it now extended to the Weardale population.”