A new on-demand 24/7 Intermediate Care Ambulance Transfer Service for public and private hospitals in central London has been launched by Medical Services, a leading independent provider of patient transport services to the NHS.
The service meets a growing demand, particularly late in the day and during the night, for a responsive ambulance service to transfer patients between hospitals, clinics and other locations for further care, said Joe Sheehan, managing director of Medical Services.
The company has conducted special training courses for ICATS crews; the entry level grade is the BTEC First Person On Scene qualification with an additional module in cardiac monitoring but will be replaced by the forthcoming BTEC HDU qualification.
Dispatch and control staff have also undergone additional training to prepare for taking ICATS telephone requests. Unlike Patient Transport, but similar to the 999 service, a criteria based system, with an underlying clinical algorithm ensures the company undertakes journeys that match its skills, equipment and its ability to move patients efficiently and safely.
Calls are handled by staff using computerised CBD systems to make sure the patients to be transferred are suitable for intermediate care or whether they need Paramedics or Nurse/Doctor escorts. The company works to high clinical governance standards based on those in place within the NHS
The company has also expanded its fleet and recently took delivery of the first batch of a £3 million order for High Dependency Ambulances, purpose-built to transport different types of patients – from up to 50 stone bariatric cases to new-born babies in incubators.
By October this year it will have 80 ambulances and vehicles per shift to provide the 60 minute response time across London for transfers. This will be supported by the existing PTS fleet.
The new service is being gradually introduced to hospitals within central London and later it will be extended to cover the M25 area within about a year.
Mr Sheehan said that the new service filled a gap left by the London Ambulance Service which provides London with a world class emergency service with great skill and dedication.