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DoH provides emergency call operators with more choice

23rd February 2009

The Department of Health (DoH) has provided ambulance services with a greater choice in how they answer emergency calls to make sure patients get the most out of the NHS, it has been reported.

Named Pathways, the scheme aims to reduce the number of callouts by allowing trained 999 operators to offer more advice to patients who do not actually require an ambulance.

The programme has already been used in the north-east for two years and has safely handled over one million calls.

Patients who dial the emergency services will be given a range of options including having an ambulance dispatched to them and being referred to a local service if this is more appropriate.

Ben Bradshaw, health minister, explained medical care for the public has changed significantly in recent years, due to the creation of walk-in centres, minor injury units and extending GP opening hours.

He commented: “It is important that patients get the right treatment at the right time, whether this is a rapid ambulance response or referral to local out-of-hours services.”

The DoH also recently launched a new scheme to help people on sick leave back to work.

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