REACHing out to more patients

We’re joining a pioneering scheme to help more people avoid long A&E waits this winter. The Remote Emergency Access Coordination Hub (REACH) aims to reduce unnecessary hospital visits by giving paramedics direct access to expert advice from emergency clinicians.

It was first introduced at the Royal London Hospital in November 2021, run in partnership between Barts Health, the London Ambulance Service, and North East London clinical commissioning group. Our joining the scheme is another example of our closer collaboration with Barts Health, and the benefits for our communities.

Ambulance crews can call the REACH team directly to get advice on alternative options to A&E, such as virtual consultations, remote prescriptions, appointments in same day emergency care or specialty hot clinics, or sending rapid response teams to see patients in their own homes.   

This specialist service, staffed 12 hours a day and seven days a week by emergency medicine consultants, is also available to NHS111. This means patients can be offered virtual consultations on the most appropriate emergency care instead of going to A&E.  

Since launching across Barts Health, the hub has helped over 17,500 patients, with more than 65 per cent of people treated virtually or in the community. This has resulted in a potential saving of over 6,200 ambulance visits to hospital and saved more than 6,500 unnecessary walk-in patients at A&E.  

REACH also offers clinical support to community teams.

Caroline Van Luttmer, Emergency Care Improvement Advisor at our Trust, said: “I’m delighted we’re joining this already successful partnership, which will help reduce unnecessary A&E visits and ensure patients get the care they need, in the right place.

“Our A&Es have been under immense pressure this winter and this will help reduce overcrowding and patients facing long waits in A&E. It’s a great example of what can be achieved when working together to improve care for our patients.”

Dr Tony Joy, emergency medicine and pre-hospital care consultant at Barts Health, added:  

“REACH has gone from strength to strength since starting and we’re very happy to be able to extend the service to BHRUT. We’ve seen how this innovative, patient-centred model of care has reduced the number of patients attending via ambulance or walking in, while still offering the best possible care in an appropriate way. We’ve had some great feedback from both patients and staff.” 

Tiffany Wishart, Northeast London Sector Senior Clinical Lead at London Ambulance Service, said:

“I am elated that our crews are able to team up remotely with REACH to ensure that our patients get the right care, in the right place first time.

“The REACH team works collaboratively with our crews to jointly decide on the best care pathway for the patient, the crews are part of the decision-making process and the REACH staff ensure that LAS clinicians are on board and understand the reasoning behind the final disposition.’’

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