A key aspect of the Scottish Ambulance Service corporate strategy is to shift the balance of care so that patients receive emergency treatment in the most appropriate surroundings, sometimes at home. There are many patients who attend A&E that could be better treated elsewhere, close to their homes, giving them a better experience while reducing unnecessary pressures on busy A&E departments.
Thousands more patients in Scotland are now being treated successfully at home as a result of the Services’ ‘See and Treat’ initiative. Last year the programme resulted in over 57,000 patients avoiding what was previously a default trip to A&E because ambulance crews can make a clinical evaluation to ensure that it is safe for the patient to remain at home. Patients with manageable conditions such as epilepsy, asthma, diabetes with non-serious complications can be managed at home with a visit from an ambulance crew, without a trip to hospital. The same process is used for minor cuts or nose bleeds.
In every case, the patient is given a full clinical evaluation by the ambulance crew and will not be left at home if there is a risk that their condition will deteriorate. Ambulance staff have the added support of a phone line to discuss the case with a doctor if they feel the need for additional advice.
Patients are always given additional information that recommends appropriate follow up actions, such as notifying their GP, and useful contacts for other agencies that may support them.