Thursday, 15 July 2010

Patients Forum London Ambulance Service AGM - New Chair and Recommendations

On Monday night we had the AGM of the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum, the largest patient and public involvement body in the country. I was elected as the new Chair of the Forum succeeding the well known health activist, Malcolm Alexander, who became the Vice Chair.

As guest speaker we had the Chair of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The Forum made a number of important recommendations in our Annual Report which was presented at the meeting. They are:

  1. Equal access and choice of services and treatment. LAS services should be fully accessible and available to all. Neither physical nor mental disability, health problems, language nor any aspect of a person's social, ethnic or cultural being, should reduce access to services.
  2. Clinical partnership with other care services. The LAS should actively work with hospital A&E departments and other healthcare organisations to jointly improve care and care pathwas for patients.
  3. Training of paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians. The LAS should ensure that all paramedics and emergency medical technicians have access to all appropriate training and ensure their development as the most effective practiitioners.
  4. Alternative ways of providing emergency and urgent health care. New ways for the LAS to provide urgent care through NHS Direct and community based services are welcome. However, these new pathways must be robust enough to give confidence to the public and LAS crew that they will be available when required, clinically appropriate, fully funded and subject to regular clinical audit and tests of reliable and continuous access.
  5. Non-emergency care. The LAS should introduce maximum waits for patients who need help, e.g. older people who have fallen but may not need an emergency or urgent care service.
  6. Mental Health Services. Significant improvements are needed to ensure that people with severe mental health problems that become ill in the street or in their homes and require emergency care, are treated by paramedics and emergency medical technicians who have specialist training in the care of people with mental health problems.
  7. Patient Transport Services. The LAS should actively support the Patients Forum Quality Standards for PTS. These promote highly effective patient transport services, which are built around dignity, the needs of users and their active involvement in the monitoring, assessment and development of the service.
The Forum will be busy over the next year especially with the new proposed changes (yet again) to the NHS in London and the prospect of the LAS becoming a Foundation Trust next spring.

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