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Ambulance service turns to Twitter to end 999 “myths”


The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) has launched a #Team999 Twitter campaign to show what happens after an emergency call.

It’s to highlight the changing role of the service and the fact that it no longer sends ambulances to every incident, nor does every patient go to the Emergency Department.

“We want to break down any myths that exist about the outcome of calling 999 – predominantly that it doesn’t always mean a visit from an ambulance crew or a trip to hospital,” explained Bob Williams, the acting chief executive of NWAS.

“Our aim is to provide for every patient with the right care, in the right place. Sometimes this will be an ambulance and a visit to the Emergency Department, but not always.

“Around two thirds of our 999 calls are for non-life-threatening incidents. Because of this, we have changed the way we work to make sure patients get the most appropriate care for their specific needs and, most importantly, keep emergency ambulances free for those who need them most.”

Through #Team999, the public will hear from different representatives of the services, including an emergency medical technician (EMT) and paramedic; rapid response vehicle paramedic; emergency medical dispatcher; resource dispatcher; hazardous area response team; paramedic; and urgent care desk specialist paramedic.

Over the next 6 months they will be introduced one-by-one, to show what they do and what role they play within NWAS. They will take part in live Twitter Q&A sessions, roadshows and appear in short films.

“#Team999 really brings to life all of the elements that make up NWAS. It’s the first time the public will get the chance to ‘meet’ the individual team representatives and will give a clear understanding of what happens in the emergency ambulance service,” continued Williams.

Last year 15% of patients seen by NWAS paramedics were treated at home, without the need to go to hospital.

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