An Introduction to our Services

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1 An Introduction to our Services

2 Ambulance services are at the front line of the NHS. That s why, at Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS), we put patients and their needs at the heart of everything we do. YAS was established on 1 July 2006 when the county s three former services merged. We cover 6,000 square miles of varied terrain from isolated moors and dales to urban areas, coastline and inner cities. We employ over 4,200 staff and provide 24- hour emergency and healthcare services to a population of more than 5 million. We are constantly developing new and more effective ways of carrying out our core activities: accident and emergency, 999 communications and patient transport. We strive for excellence so that we can ensure the people of Yorkshire consistently receive the right response, as quickly as possible, wherever they live.

3 Accident and Emergency Our communications centres in York and Wakefield receive over 700,000 emergency calls a year. On average that is more than 1,900 a day. To meet this demand we have paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and emergency care practitioners (ECPs) working on the frontline service. Our fleet of over 500 specially equipped emergency vehicles operates from 62 ambulance stations. A network of standby points, where vehicles wait until needed, helps us respond more quickly. Patients are categorised according to the seriousness of their condition. Those whose situation is immediately life-threatening (Category A) receive the fastest response. We work hard to ensure that we meet national targets, in the case of this category, a response within 8 minutes. Rapid response vehicles (RRVs) and ambulances, each with highly skilled staff trained in the use of the latest medical equipment, respond to many emergencies and urgent calls from GPs, but we also have other ways of reaching patients quickly. These can save time and lives, often freeing RRVs and ambulances for use elsewhere. Where speed is vital because of the severity or nature of the injuries, or if the emergency cannot be reached easily by road, we work with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Great North Air Ambulance services. We provide the paramedics for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Congested city centres pose access problems, which is why York, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull now have Lifecycle schemes. Here cycling paramedics or EMTs use specially adapted bicycles to reach patients in the heart of the city and provide emergency care. In other parts of the region motorcycles are used for the same purpose. The bikes carry life-saving equipment such as defibrillators for use in cases of cardiac arrest. Over 2,600 volunteers currently make a vital contribution to the service. There are more than 250 community first responder schemes across Yorkshire where volunteers provide the initial response to certain emergencies, saving vital seconds before the arrival of an emergency vehicle. Each volunteer receives training in basic life support from YAS and is equipped with a first aid bag, defibrillator and oxygen.

4 We also receive support from a network of volunteer doctors. These medics, affiliated to the British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS), have specialist training and their skills are particularly valuable when treating patients with traumatic injuries. We are always looking for ways to improve our service. We now have four RRVs staffed by a paramedic and a police officer. They work on late night weekend shifts and on bank holidays in city centres, attending incidents, such as drunkenness or domestic violence, where both services are needed. These vehicles currently operate in York, Sheffield and Hull. Some of our paramedics have been specially trained to provide an urban search and rescue (USAR) service. They carry out emergency treatment in difficult conditions, for example where patients are trapped underground, so are difficult to reach. Ours was the first paramedic USAR service in the UK. 999 Communications Staff at our communications centres handle all the emergency calls YAS receives and deploy the most appropriate service or vehicle to deal with them. 999 calls are classified and handled according to their severity. An ambulance will be dispatched as soon as the location is known ensuring vital time is not lost. Once this has been done, the telephone adviser asks the caller a carefully structured series of questions. The answers given determine whether the call is Category A, where the patient s condition is immediately life threatening, Category B, serious but not life threatening or Category C, a less serious illness or injury. The category will determine how the call is handled from then onwards. An emergency care practitioner (ECP) may be despatched to the scene. ECPs are trained to make full physical assessments, carry out minor medical procedures and prescribe an increasing number of medicines, enabling them to treat many patients in their own home. Alternatively, the caller may be given clinical advice over the phone, or directed to another service such as NHS Direct or a home visit from their GP. As well as handling emergency calls, we also handle calls diverted from GP surgeries when they are closed. We provide this service for primary care trusts (PCTs) across Yorkshire and beyond. Other out-of-hours cover includes handling calls for some district nursing services, and NHS and private dental services, certain mobile clinicians attached to primary care centres and, most recently, calls for patient transport for hospitals in Barnsley, Rotherham and York. In the case of categories A and B, the first available and nearest resource will be allocated to the incident to make sure the patient receives all the necessary assistance as soon as possible. The first response is often a rapid response vehicle. Vehicles already on their way to Category B or C calls may be diverted to Category A incidents. In less serious cases, emergency backup vehicles will be stood down and a more appropriate form of assistance provided.

5 Transporting Patients We provide non-emergency transport for people who have been referred for treatment to hospital outpatient departments or other treatment centres, but who are unable to use public transport because of their medical condition. The patient transport service (PTS) also provides nonurgent transfers between hospitals. Last year, we made over 1.2 million journeys transporting patients across Yorkshire and the neighbouring counties, providing a vital link between their homes and treatment centres. Our PTS fleet, of more than 460, incorporates a wide range of vehicles. This enables us to carry people comfortably whatever their needs, whether they require a stretcher, a wheelchair or simply a reassuring hand to help them in and out of a car. All PTS vehicles are designed with patients comfort and safety in mind and are crewed by ambulance care assistants who have been trained in first aid, moving and handling techniques and specialist driving skills. In today s health service, patient transport has to be a flexible, patient-centred service giving value for money. We currently have more than 50 agreements to provide non-emergency transport for PCTs and acute trusts across Yorkshire. A programme of investment in new vehicles, technology and staff training will help ensure we deliver and maintain a high quality service for the future.

6 Our Locations

7 Emergency Preparedness The ambulance service forms part of the NHS response to major emergencies like flooding, public transport incidents, pandemic flu and chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents. At YAS, we make sure we have the resources and effective, well-practised plans in place so we are ready for action, whatever the emergency. Working with Patients and Communities Like all NHS trusts, we work with our patients and local communities to ensure their views influence the way we plan and develop our services. This includes finding out what patients think about our service, making links with community and user groups and responding to complaints and enquiries. If you are a patient, our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) should usually be your first point of contact. PALS aims to advise and support patients, their families and carers, provide information on health services, answer queries and listen to concerns or suggestions. Please contact PALS at or telephone: Private Ambulances and Events Anyone organising events, such as football matches, race meetings, concerts or festivals, must provide emergency first aid cover for participants and audiences of more than 5,000 people. To meet this demand, YAS has a dedicated team of paramedics, emergency medical technicians and non-emergency ambulance staff. We also provide ambulance transport for private hospitals, repatriation companies, corporations and private individuals. All the profits from these activities, which generate an annual income of 1.4 million, are reinvested in our front line NHS services. When not providing private ambulances, the team supplements front line resources by undertaking urgent journeys and patient transfers as well as long distance or short notice discharges for PTS.

8 Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust Springhill 2 Brindley Way Wakefield 41 Business Park Wakefield WF2 0XQ Telephone: If you would prefer this document in another format, such as another language, large print, Braille or audio tape, please contact the Corporate Communications department, Telephone: ,

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