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Urgent care

Urgent Care

Urgent care is the term used by the NHS to describe patients who have a healthcare need but who may not need emergency treatment.

Often urgent care patients have an existing long term condition, like diabetes. They may phone 999 if they are experiencing a worsening of this condition or if they develop another condition which is difficult to manage because of their pre-existing condition.

Urgent care is also used to describe patients who suffer from minor trauma like a sprain or a cut.Treatment of patient

Analysis of our 999 calls shows that annually less than 10 per cent of the 999 calls we receive are immediately life-threatening. The majority of the 999 calls received by SECAmb are from patients with an urgent care need.

Traditionally, ambulance services in the UK have had little alternative when treating urgent care patients, other than transporting them to an A&E Department, which was often not the right place for the patient's needs.

However, within SECAmb, we have worked hard to improve the care we provide to these patients, ensuring they receive the most appropriate care to their need.

This has seen SECAmb:

  • improve the training to front-line ambulance clinicians around urgent care
  • develop the new role of Paramedic Practitioner (PP), which sees paramedics build on their existing skills to develop greater patient assessment and management skills. They are able to diagnose a wide range of conditions and are skilled to treat many minor injuries and illnesses.
  • increase the presence of clinicians in the Emergency Operations Centres, who can offter clinical advice by telephone to appropriate patients, as well as sign-posting some callers to alternatives when an ambulance response is not required e.g. by recommending an appointment with a GP


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