GMB Call On East Of England Ambulance Service To Refine Ambulance GPS Data To Correct Wrong Arrival Times On Systems
There is a need to refine that system so that the ambulance is booked as arriving at the scene and at the hospital when it actually arrives says GMB.
GMB is calling on the East of England Ambulance service work on systems and procedures to improve the reliability and accuracy of the ambulance availability management data to improve the service to patients and to reduce risk of infections.
GMB members have brought to the attention of managers three areas of concern regarding reliability of ambulance availability management data.
The first concerns the GPS system used to book arrivals on ambulances to patients and to hospitals, second the operation of the electronic Patient Care Records and third the implementation of Infection Prevention Controls for ambulance vehicles.
On the first issue the software system used by the ambulance service to book arrival of an ambulance to a patient or at a hospital. Using GPS data this books the ambulance at its location when it is within 200 metres of its destination. This causes a distortion within the statistics as there are many occasions when for instance an ambulance is travelling down a major road to a road traffic accident which is on the opposite side of the road, but within 200 metres the vehicle is booked as being on scene, yet the ambulance still have to travel to the next junction to be able to turn around and actually get to the destination.
This also applies to arrival times at the hospital as the ambulance is booked as being at the hospital yet in reality it is still down the road, has to park and unload the patient which impacts greatly on their time. It is this GPS data which starts the hospitals 15 minute clock for the ambulance to become available to be dispatched again.
The second area that needs to be looked at are the procedures and length of time that completing the ePCR (electronic Patient Care Record) can take. This is especially when crews have been involved in a time critical job that not only uses a lot of the ambulance equipment which must be logged on the ePCR, but if a patient is time critical then starting the ePCR will not commence until the patient has been taken to the hospital and handed over. This may impact on ambulance availability.
Thirdly there is a need to look at the implementation of the Infection Prevention Controls (IPC)which were introduced following the Care Quality Commission's report on the East of England Ambulance cleanliness a couple of years ago. IPC requires that crews must clean the ambulance down after every patient contact, yet if a patient has been really ill (eg sickness/diahorrea) then this also impacts on the turnaround time of the ambulance and its availability.
Tony Hughes, GMB Regional Office, said “More work is needed to refine the GPS system used to book arrivals on ambulances to patients and to hospitals and on the operation of the electronic Patient Care Records and on the implementation of Infection Prevention Controls for ambulance vehicles.
It is important that the system is refined so that the ambulance is booked as arriving at the scene and at the hospital when it actually arrives.
This work on systems and procedures will build on the approach set out by Don Berwick, co-founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston who said in his report on improving patient care that "NHS staff are not to blame – in the vast majority of cases it is systems, procedures, conditions, environment and constraints they face” “.
Contact Tony Hughes, GMB Organiser on 07738 958142 of GMB Press Office on 07974 251823.