Devon Air Ambulance is celebrating a year of delivering its clinical service as an independent healthcare provider, a development that is helping patients across Devon.
In the lead up to becoming successfully registered with the Care Quality Commission last April, Devon Air Ambulance established a new integrated Patient Services team which combined the core emergency medical team of 23 Critical Care Paramedics and 15 Critical Care Doctors alongside aspects including research, education and training, clinical governance and a Patient Support service.
“Being clinically independent essentially means that we can develop our service in the way that best meets our patients’ needs” said Nigel Hare, Operations Director at Devon Air Ambulance.
“For example, we were the first organisation in Devon to start delivering LyoPlas – a freeze-dried plasma which helps patients with severe bleeding – in the pre-hospital environment. Within our own team we were able to research this treatment and put in place measures to safely transfer and administer LyoPlas to patients at the scene. Then, through our new patient auditing and clinical governance processes, we have evaluated that the introduction of LyoPlas has already helped a number of patients with traumatic injuries.”
Devon Air Ambulance also now has a greater role to play in supporting its patients post injury or medical incident and its three Patient Liaison Clinicians (PLCs) are there to help patients recover after what could have been very traumatic events. The PLCs can help fill in any ‘gaps’ patients might have whilst they were receiving care, answer any questions about their incident and the care they received and can sign-post patients to other specialist charities and support services.
Nigel Hare went on to add: “Whilst we have always been here to help support our patients if they happened to contact us, through our Patient Support Service we can now provide a holistic package of care for patients and their families. Our PLCs, who are all medical professionals, can help patients with practical help and support on what can be a hugely emotional journey back from their injury or illness”.
Devon Air Ambulance has had one of its busiest years on record having been deployed to 1411 patients. Although most of those patients were in Devon, it also helped 81 patients in Cornwall, 113 patients in Somerset and 44 patients in Dorset. Of those patients who were conveyed by helicopter, over 50% were taken past their nearest hospital and onto a specialist treatment centre that would offer them the best chance of a successful outcome for their specific condition or injuries.
“All of the hard work and investment involved with being an independent healthcare provider underlines our commitment to achieving the best clinical outcomes for our patients. We are very grateful to our dedicated team of clinicians, healthcare specialists and support staff for their role in helping patients across the region,” said Heléna Holt, CEO of Devon Ambulance.
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