Plan to cut A&E numbers by treating half of 999 patients at scene

The UK’s biggest ambulance service wants to cut numbers in A&E by using video to assess patient needs.


Paramedics will send images from tablets or smartphones to doctors at a “clinical hub” who can then decide whether a casualty trip is needed.

Also patients who ring the non-emergency 111 number may be asked to send pictures, cutting the number of medics sent out.

Around 3,800 front-line staff already have iPads to access patient notes.

London Ambulance Service claims it can cut the number of A&E cases by 122,000 annually, speeding up treatment times for the most serious cases.


They will target patients who have suffered falls, mental health issues, maternity problems and end of life cases for treatment at the scene.

Officials say the move will save £36.5million each year.


LAS chief executive Garrett Emmerson said: “We’ll continue to provide high-quality care to everyone who contacts us.

"However, the majority have less serious illnesses or injuries and do not need to be sent an ambulance on blue lights.”

But Malcolm Alexander, of the LAS Patients’ Forum, said: “There are considerable risks.”

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