More people will avoid long waits in A&E this winter as a pioneering scheme to provide the right emergency treatment in the right place, first time expands to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT).
Since its launch in November 2021, the Remote Emergency Access Coordination Hub (REACH) based at the Royal London Hospital has helped over 17,500 patients, with more than 65% of people treated virtually or in the community. This has resulted in a potential saving of over 6,200 ambulance visits to our hospitals and saved more than 6,500 unnecessary walk-in patients attending.
More than 91% of patients reported they felt involved in their care and would recommend the service to others.
Following its success at Barts Health hospitals, the service is expanding and has this week launched across BHRUT. The service, which is run between Barts Health, the London Ambulance Service, North East London clinical commissioning group, and now BHRUT, aims to reduce unnecessary hospital visits by using other appropriate care pathways.
Ambulance crews can call the REACH team directly to get expert clinical advice for the patients they are seeing. Appropriate care pathways include virtual consultations, remote prescriptions, appointments in same day emergency care or specialty hot clinics, or sending rapid response teams to see patients in their own homes.
This specialist service, staffed 12 hours a day and seven days a week by emergency medicine consultants, is also available to NHS111. This means patients can be offered virtual consultations on the most appropriate emergency care instead of going to A&E.
REACH also offers clinical support to community teams and other providers seeking unscheduled care for their patients, so patients can access the full range of acute secondary services.
Dr Tony Joy, emergency medicine and pre-hospital care consultant at Barts Health, said:
“REACH has gone from strength to strength since starting and we’re very happy to be able to extend the service to BHRUT. We’ve seen how this innovative, patient-centred model of care has reduced the number of patients attending via ambulance or walking in, while still offering the best possible care in an appropriate way. We’ve had some great feedback from both patients and staff.”
Ms Tiffany Wishart, Northeast London Senior Sector Clinical Lead at London Ambulance Service, said:
“I am elated that our crews are able to team up remotely with REACH to ensure that our patients get the right care, in the right place first time. The REACH team works collaboratively with our crews to jointly decide on the best care pathway for the patient, the crews are part of the decision-making process and the REACH staff ensure that LAS clinicians are on board and understand the reasoning behind the final disposition. This brings the additional benefit of staff learning from each interaction and building trust, skills and knowledge throughout the whole system.’’