A joint effort by health workers in Hawick has received national recognition for slashing admissions to hospital.
The Hawick Practitioner Team, a pilot initiative run by the Scottish Ambulance Service and Teviot Medical Practice, picked up a prize for patient care at last week’s Scottish Ambulance Service awards in Glasgow.
The scheme consists of paramedic practitioners being sent into patients’ homes to provide treatment and assessment of their conditions, helping reduce the pressure for appointments at the 11,000-patient Teviot Road medical practice, as well as cutting unnecessary admissions to hospital.
The team has improved patient care by working alongside GPs, undertaking house calls where appropriate to reduce workload and consolidate newly-gained clinical skills.
It has also reduced the need for patients being transferred under blue lights or the requirement for one-hour GP urgent requests.
And the GPs are now more aware of ambulance pressures and use the service provision more effectively.
Richard Panton, area service manager for the ambulance service, said: “It was hoped this model would improve efficiency during the working day, reduce GP workload pressures and impact positively on patient care.
“The two specialist paramedics involved were able to provide cover during practice opening hours, and house visits were triaged by the duty doctor and then discussed with the paramedics.
“The paramedics then had a direct line of communication with the duty doctor for input and advice if required.
“We were incredibly proud to win the award, especially given the other nominees and the magnitude of the award.
“Thanks to Neil McPhee and his team of partners at the Teviot surgery for their foresight, energy and willingness to collaborate, as well as the willingness of our own staff to ebrace change, particularly specialist paramedics Mark Borthwick and Suzanne Little, and also my own management team for their relentless support and risk-taking.”
Dr McPhee added: “We have been delighted with our collaboration with the Scottish Ambulance Service and the integration of the paramedic practitioners into the primary care team.
“We certainly feel that it has had a positive impact and that we have been able to enhance the care for our patients.
“We would like to thank the ambulance service for the opportunity to undertake this pilot and for the hard work of the paramedics involved.”
A pilot period was set from January to March this year, and over that time, 187 home visits were made.