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More advanced training needed for paramedics to cut A&E admissions

The health service urgently needs more paramedics with advanced training to relieve huge pressure on A&E departments, a key government research body has today warned.

In a new set of recommendations released this week, NICE has stated that the NHS must provide more advanced paramedical practitioners (APPs) in order to reduce the number of patients who are admitted to hospital.

Evidence drawn up by NICE suggests that having more APPs could potentially reduce hospital admissions by up to 13% compared with standard paramedics.

Previously, a British Medical Journal study had suggested that for each APP brought in, the NHS could save £72,000 a year being used on the ground with crews or by applying their expertise over the phone.

“It is essential we spend what money we have wisely, investing in areas where we’ll see a real improvement in care for everyone,” said Professor Julian Bion, chair of the NICE guidance committee.

“Increasing the number of advanced paramedics, we have working across the country is one way we can achieve this. Their skills and expertise can help to ease pressure on emergency departments and ensure patients are cared for in the most appropriate location.”

Included in the draft guidance is also wider recommendations concerning standardising emergency and acute medical services across the NHS.

It recommends that hospitals should consider daily consultant review of patients admitted with a medical emergency including weekends and bank holidays.

Professor Mark baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE, commented: “This draft guidance features recommendations that seek to standardise best practice across our emergency and acute medical services.

“It also highlights where we need more evidence to properly assess what should be done to get the most from the limited resources we have.” 

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