There are three main areas paramedics can support in primary care:
Urgent and unscheduled care
Paramedics are experienced in dealing with the unexpected and will conduct a detailed assessment and initiate a management plan knowing where the best place for that patient will be.
- manage urgent and unscheduled care to allow GPs to work with medical complexity
- reduce conveyance rate to hospital
An evaluation of the first phase of the rotation paramedic pilot reported non-conveyance rates of at least 70%
“Paramedics bring a valuable skillset to primary care, in particular their grounding in the medical model, diagnosis and independent decision making and their experience in emergency and urgent care.” Paramedic in primary care
Paramedics can deal with acute or acute-on-chronic conditions freeing up the GPs to deal with more complex patients.
- manage triage for urgent conditions
- responsibility for home visits for acute presentations
“Having niche skills from Paramedics adds to the depth of the offering that can be provided in General Practice, but being competent generalists for common conditions is the most important attribute.” GP
Prevention of unplanned admissions
Paramedics can be the eyes and ears of the GP, conducting regular ward rounds at nursing and care homes or visiting vulnerable patients at risk of admission to support management at home. Paramedics are specialist generalists, and will add value and a unique perspective to the general practice and multidisciplinary teams.
- admission avoidance
Studies have highlighted that the addition of paramedics in a primary care setting decreases GP workload.
A number of studies also document high satisfaction levels from patients who were visited by a paramedic in their home.