Patients are set to get a better out-of-hours service after the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust was awarded a new contract. The contract will mean the majority of patients who are classed as urgent will be prioritised for medical treatment by a doctor at the first telephone call.
Currently, a patient rings the number and then has to await a call back from the doctor. There will be more mobile units, which means that patients who have a clinical need to be seen in their home will be seen and treated there and better use will be made of clinicians time as they will not be sitting at a base waiting for a call.
If patients frequently see their doctors for long term conditions like asthma, then the new service will ensure that practices and the out of hours teams are kept up-to-date.
The trust was awarded the new contract at the Norfolk Primary Care Trust board meeting on May 22. The ambulance service has run the out of hours service since 2004, and the new service will start August 20.