The effect of a specialist paramedic primary care rotation on appropriate non-conveyance decisions (SPRAINED) study: a controlled interrupted time series analysis

PILBERY, Richard, YOUNG, Tracey and HODGE, Andrew (2022). The effect of a specialist paramedic primary care rotation on appropriate non-conveyance decisions (SPRAINED) study: a controlled interrupted time series analysis. British Paramedic Journal, 7 (1), 9-18.

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Introduction: NHS ambulance service non-conveyance rates in the United Kingdom are around 30%, despite an increase in non-emergency cases and a national policy of integrating urgent and emergency care to provide patients with the ‘right care, in the right place, at the right time’. Emergency department overcrowding is a significant issue for patients, resulting in poorer quality of care, increased healthcare costs and potentially, increased mortality. It also contributes to increased ambulance turnaround times. Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) introduced a specialist paramedic (SP) to improve the management of lower acuity cases, but non-conveyance rates in this group have not been as high as expected. In 2018, Health Education England funded a pilot scheme to rotate paramedics into a range of healthcare settings and in YAS, 10 SPs undertook a 10-week placement in a GP practice. This study aimed to evaluate whether a primary care placement appropriately increased the level and trend of non-conveyance decisions made by SPs following a 10-week GP placement, in a cost-effective manner. Methods: We conducted a controlled interrupted time series analysis using data from incidents between 1 June 2017 and 31 December 2019, to study appropriate non-conveyance rates before and after a GP placement. A costing analysis, examining the average cost per appropriate non-conveyance achieved for patients receiving care from intervention group SPs pre- and post-placement, was also conducted. Results: A total of 7349 incidents attended by intervention group SPs were eligible for inclusion. Following removal of cases with missing data, 5537 (75.3%) cases remained. Post-placement, the intervention group demonstrated an increase in appropriate non-conveyance rate of 35.0% (95% CI 23.8%‐46.2%), and a reduction in the trend of appropriate non-conveyance of -1.2% (95% CI -2.8%‐0.5%), relative to the control group. Post-placement, the cost per appropriate non-conveyance for intervention group SPs was a mean of £509.41 (95% bootstrapped CI £454.92‐£564.26) versus £1257.81 (95% bootstrapped CI £1233.42‐£1283.95) for the same group in the pre-placement phase. Conclusion: In this single UK NHS ambulance service study, we found a clinically important and statistically significant increase in appropriate non-conveyance rates by SPs who had completed a 10-week GP placement. This improvement persisted for the 12-month period following the placement and demonstrated cost savings compared to usual care.

Item Type: Article
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Page Range: 9-18
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2022 13:17
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2022 13:17

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