NHS ambulance depicting the East of England adult critical care transfer service

Hospital transfer service launches 24/7 working

Patients in the East of England are set to benefit even more from an innovative hospital transfer service as it becomes the first in the country to commit to round-the-clock working hours.

The adult critical care service is dedicated to transporting seriously ill or injured patients between hospitals – either because they require specialist treatment elsewhere or their local ICU is full.

The service accumulates hundreds of thousands of miles a year and is one of only 10 in England, according to Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which hosts it.

The new working practice now means that 18 hospitals across the East of England region will be offered 24/7 support, ultimately taking pressure off frontline ambulances.

Having been launched in December 2021, the service recently celebrated its 1,000th transfer – the team puts its success down to the staff and NHS England funding.

“I would like to pay tribute to our team for their dedication, support and hard work over the last 22 months that has allowed us to reach this point.”

Primarily anaesthesia and intensive care professionals make up the circa 30 consultants who work for the service – this is in an addition to 13 transfer practitioners. Vehicles and technicians are provided by St John Ambulance.

The service also has a clinical director, Dr Anne Booth, who said: “We are all very excited to support the region, ensure patient safety, and work even more closely with our regional colleagues.”

Hannah Donald, the service’s lead nurse, believes the new working hours are “already paying dividends” for the NHS and its patients.

She said: “We were very conscious that overnight transfer of patients could cause delays for front line ambulances working in our region, and we were determined to find a way of preventing this.”

Image credit: iStock

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