Two clinical co-ordination hubs set up as trials by South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, (SECAmb), in partnership with NHS Trusts in Kent, have been extended having delivered positive early results.

The hubs, established in Autumn last year, in the Trust’s Paddock Wood and Ashford operational areas, involve multi-discipline teams from across the Kent healthcare system joining SECAmb Paramedic Practitioners to ensure 999 calls are receiving the most appropriate response.

By reviewing appropriate 999 calls, the hubs are helping to reduce pressure on A&E by guiding patients to the most appropriate service and supporting ambulance crews at the scene of an incident.

Based at the Trust’s Ashford and Paddock Wood Make Ready Centres, SECAmb teams are joined by emergency department consultants and clinicians from East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and urgent care teams, including the Home Treatment Service at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust.

In the 15 weeks since the beginning of October last year, the West Kent Clinical Coordination Hub has made more than 1,400 contacts with crews and discharged more than 200 patients on scene. It has help avoid conveyance to an emergency department for more than 500 patients where the original plan was to convey; supported 79 medical Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) referrals and 19 surgical SDEC referrals; arranged 90 GP in ED appointments; and referred 191 patients directly into a home treatment team.

The Ashford Integrated Care Hub has enjoyed similar success since its launch at the beginning of November 2023. Over the last three months it has made more than 1,500 contacts with ambulance crews and discharged more than 600 patients on scene. It has also arranged more appropriate care for more than 800 patients who were due to attend an emergency department. The hub has supported more than 100 medical SDEC referrals and more than 100 Urgent Community Response (UCR) referrals. Some 180 GP in emergency department appointments have been arranged and the team has referred approximately 250 patients directly into a home treatment team.

SECAmb Operations Manager for Ashford, Nakai Redman said: “The first three months the hub has been in operation have been extremely encouraging. The results have shown that by having a multi-discipline approach to reviewing 999 calls, we can improve the response and ultimately the care we provide the local community.

“We have also seen a significant improvement in work satisfaction from colleagues as they finding they are more often being sent to emergencies where they can make a difference and help patients with the support of shared decision making.”

SECAmb Practice Development Lead and the Trust’s lead at the Paddock Wood hub, Sean Edwards said: "Our clinical coordination hub is a true collaboration between acute and community services that is directly benefitting patients, ensuring they can be seen in the right place, first time for their condition, and reducing unnecessary ED attendances. Furthermore, Ambulance crews have access to senior clinicians to aid in complex decision making, ensuring patient safety and improving the quality of care we can provide our patients in West Kent."