Health ser­vice breaks new ground

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By SOPHIE LEGGETT

Staff work­ing on the new Ur­gent Com­mu­nity Care ser­vice in Porirua are cer­tain it will make pa­tients’ lives eas­ier and safer.

The free ser­vice, which is in­tro­duced to the com­mu­nity this week, will mean when some­one rings 111, their needs will be as­sessed by the op­er­a­tor, and depend­ing on the sever­ity of their ill­ness or in­jury, may be categorised as ‘‘non-life threat­en­ing’’.

In this case, these people with mi­nor med­i­cal is­sues can be treated by ser­vice paramedics in their homes, rather than be­ing taken by am­bu­lance to a hospi­tal emer­gency depart­ment.

Emily Pow­ell, the clin­i­cal lead for the team, said the ser­vice would make pa­tients lives a lot eas­ier, and would also re­duce the num­ber of people who would pre­vi­ously have been taken to the emer­gency depart­ment.

‘‘It’s much bet­ter if the prob­lem can be dealt with in the com­mu­nity . . . help can be de­liv­ered straight to the pa­tient’s home,’’ she said.

The ser­vice has op­er­at­ing in Kapiti for five years, and Pow­ell said there had been a great re­sponse from the com­mu­nity and gen­eral health prac­ti­tion­ers.

She has been work­ing in Kapiti for two and a half years, and will now al­ter­nate be­tween the Kapiti and Porirua.

She said the Kapiti ser­vice at­tended to many el­derly people, but ex­pected to see chil­dren ben­e­fit­ing the most from the Porirua ser­vice, es­pe­cially in win­ter.

‘‘We ex­pect to prob­a­bly see chil­dren with breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, sore throats and skin in­fec­tions,’’ she said. These things are quite com­mon around this time of year due to the weather,’’ Pow­ell said.

Dr Andy Swain, med­i­cal di­rec­tor of Welling­ton Free Am­bu­lance, has been in­volved with the Kapiti ser­vice from the be­gin­ning. He said Porirua pa­tients would re­ceive bet­ter and more tai­lored care as a re­sult of the ser­vice.

‘‘It’s a more ef­fi­cient ap­proach in terms of care over­all, be­cause the para­medic will be deal­ing with [the pa­tients’] prob­lems at the source,’’ he said.

Swain and Pow­ell stressed that noth­ing has changed about the am­bu­lance ser­vice, and that people should call 111 if some­one be­came sick or se­ri­ously hurt.

Photo: SOPHIE LEGGETT

Com­mu­nity care: Welling­ton Free Am­bu­lance med­i­cal di­rec­tor Dr Andy Swain and clin­i­cal lead Emily Pow­ell.

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