9 Feb 2018

A review of our remodelled Physician Response Unit (PRU)’s first 111 days has revealed that patients are receiving specialist emergency treatment quickly and avoiding trips to hospital. By taking the Emergency Department to the patient, 67% of those seen have been treated and discharged at home, allowing the patient to begin their recovery immediately in the community.

The remodelled PRU was launched in September 2017, extending the service to operate 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Staffed with a senior emergency doctor and an Emergency Ambulance Crew in the car, the clinical experience of the medics enables the PRU team to treat a wider range of illnesses and injuries at scene compared to ambulance crews which take many emergency patients to hospital.

Here's what the remodelled PRU has achieved in its first 111 days:

  • Of 652 patients treated, 449 patients were treated in the community. Of these, 312 would otherwise have been taken to the Emergency Department at hospital.
  • 97.35% of patients said that they were likely to recommend the service.
  • An estimated £410,938 was saved by health services.

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

“The data has confirmed what we hoped would happen when we gave the PRU the opportunity to operate for longer hours with closer working between all aspects of emergency healthcare provision. We are turning emergency care on its head so that emergency patients are seen in the community by senior clinicians, enabling early treatment and access to alternative pathways without the need to go to hospital."

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 service ensures unwell patients get the very best care from an emergency ambulance crew and doctor. By taking the clinical expertise of the Emergency Department into a person’s home, we can save a patient an unnecessary hospital visit where their condition can be safely managed elsewhere. It also means more ambulances are available to respond to our sickest emergency patients.”

The PRU is run as a partnership between London's Air Ambulance, Barts Health NHS Trust and London Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Find out more about the remodelled PRU here.

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