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GPs to respond to 999 calls as part of CCG initiative

An emergency care pilot scheme has been launched in Leicester which will see GPs responding to appropriate 999 calls instead of paramedics.

The new ‘Clinical Response Team’ (CRT) – which is made up solely of GPs – will be working with East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) to respond to emergency calls that meet a certain criteria, including patients aged over 60, younger adults with three or more health conditions and patients with dementia.

The scheme, which has been set up by Leicester City CCG, aims to reduce hospital admissions.

It is expected that the team will respond to approximately 700 calls per month between the hours of 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.

On calling 999, the patient will be assessed by an EMAS operation centre, which will pass the calls to a separate assessment team, who will then dispatch a GP if necessary.

The GP who treats the patient will have access to their GP records and will have the appropriate equipment to enable them to assess and treat the patient at the scene.

Professor Azhar Farooqi, chair of Leicester City CCG said: ‘For older people in particular, being admitted to hospital can be distressing and it is often not the best place for them and lengthens their recovery.

‘The CRT will mean more patients are treated closer to home, when it is safe and appropriate, which patients have told us is important to them.’

A spokesman for the East Midlands Ambulance Service said: ‘The scheme is an excellent example of joint working and provides a more appropriate level of care when an immediate emergency response is not appropriate for the patient’s needs.’

In October 2012, a ‘GPs with ambulance’ initiative was launched between the West Midlands Ambulance service, NHS South Worcestershire CCG, Wyre Forest CCG and Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG.