7 Dec 2018

Patients in East London are getting specialist treatment quickly and avoiding trips to hospital thanks to our remodelled Physician Response Unit (PRU), new figures released today have shown. A review of the first 365 days of the unique collaboration with Barts Health NHS Trust and London Ambulance Service has revealed that by taking the emergency department on the road, care is being transformed for patients. 

The new figures show that:

  • In its first 365 days, the remodelled PRU has saved local health services an estimated £1,135,000; 
  • The service has treated 1924 patients, 67% of which avoided a trip to hospital;
  • Of the 1288 patients treated in the community, a significant 1085 would otherwise have been taken to an emergency department at hospital;
  • 97% of patients who filled out a feedback from said that they would recommend the PRU.

This has meant that ambulance conveyances to hospital have been avoided, attendances at emergency departments have been reduced, and hospital admissions have been cut.

The service is able to provide this unique community emergency care through the clinical experience of the medics in the PRU car. Staffed with a senior emergency doctor and ambulance crew member the PRU team can treat a wider range of illnesses and injuries at scene compared to ambulance crews which take many emergency patients to hospital. Find out more about the remodelled PRU. 

PRU has saved local health services £1.1m

Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust & Clinical Lead for the Physician Response Unit Dr Tony Joy said;

"The service is incredibly proud of the work it has achieved in the last year... We have built strong collaborative ties with other local care providers which is helping to demonstrate that alternative care pathways can successfully be used to enhance patient care. It also provides great training and development for emergency clinicians to have a chance to work outside the hospital and understand their local patients better, in their own community.

"Our hope is that other areas in the UK will see the value of the PRU service, and look to develop similar models so that even more patients may receive high quality care within their home or community, improving their experience at the same time.”

Malik Ramadhan, Divisional Director of Emergency Care and Medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust, said:

“The PRU has made a real difference in ensuring that patients receive the most appropriate care, meaning that only those who need to be in the Emergency Department are taken to hospital. It is vital that we look at innovative ways of caring for the ever increasing number of emergency patients coming through the doors, and effective use of the Emergency Department is important in enabling the rest of the hospital to flow efficiently. It’s also fantastic that patients have responded so well to the service.”

London Ambulance Service Medical Director Dr Fenella Wrigley said:

“This year our team has helped keep more than a thousand patients out of hospital and allowed them to be treated at home. Patients still benefit from all the medical expertise of an Emergency Department but without needing an ambulance journey to hospital. It also means we have more ambulances available to respond to the most critically ill patients.”

First published Wednesday 5th December 2018


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