Triage experts make their mark in winter

Rita Bains, team leader with the Emergency Clinical Triage Team, at work at Bedford EOC.

Triage experts make their mark in winter

Our Emergency Clinical Advice and Triage team (ECAT) have proved their worth during another winter.

In the three months from 1st December 2018, the team triaged more than 21,000 calls. They avoided the dispatch of ambulances in just over 16,000 cases. That means we were able to send our ambulances to the patients that most need us.

The ECAT service diverts around 175 ambulance attendances each day across the East of England.

The team is made up of experienced registered clinicians – ranging from paramedics to emergency care practitioners and nurses. Supported by admin staff, they are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to assess and possibly treat patients over the telephone.

With access to patient medical records via systmone (with consent), the ECAT clinicians are often able to advise the patient or caller on self-care or alternative care pathways. These could include booking an out-of-hours GP appointment or visiting a walk-in centre.

Over the last 12 months the ECAT team has been one of the best-performing ‘hear and treat’ services in England, typically calling back more than 7,000 patients each month to provide additional support.

The patients who call 999 most frequently are also triaged by the ECAT team as part of their frequent caller management plans. They also support operational staff by providing a clinical advice line (CAL), discharge of care and access to MiDoS, toxbase and Systmone.

The ECAT centres also have:

  • clinical coordinators
  • ECAT team leaders
  • ECAT assistants
  • Single point of contact
  • a frequent caller team
  • a CAD markers team
  • a MiDoS team
  • an EOC clinical operations manager
  • A senior operations centres manager – clinical services.

They are currently recruiting clinicians to work in their emergency operation centres (EOCs) in Bedford, Chelmsford and Norwich. They offer full time, part time, secondment, bank and dual working opportunities.

If you’d like to visit one of the EOCs to observe the triage team in action for a couple of hours, please email ECATPlanning@eastamb.nhs.uk with your availability.

Published 15th March 2019

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