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24 April 2017, 15:38
Extra funding of £6.3 million has been announced to help Scottish Ambulance Service staff treat more patients at home or in the community.
The Scottish Government cash will support the training of more specialist roles in an effort to cut the number of people who need admitted to hospital.
As a result, the number of specialist paramedics, who carry an extended range of medicines and equipment, will more than double in September from 32 to 78.
The funding will also help the development of a new clinical response model, which aims to send the right resource first time and prioritise patients with time-critical conditions, increase collaboration between the service and other health care providers and continue progress towards a commitment for 1,000 additional paramedics during this parliament.
Scottish Ambulance Service chairman David Garbutt said: "We welcome this additional investment which will further enable us to deliver the highest possible level of patient-centred care across Scotland in line with our 'Towards 2020' strategy.
"The service is committed to seeing and treating more patients in their own homes and communities, where it is clinically appropriate, rather than taking them away from family support and into a hospital environment.
"Our specialist paramedics have completed additional training in urgent and emergency care which means they can treat patients at home and refer them for appropriate follow-up when necessary.
"This ensures more ambulance resources are available to respond to emergencies and immediately life-threatening calls, helping us to save more lives.''
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "Shifting the balance of care from hospitals to community settings - by redesigning and reforming the way services are delivered - is all about placing the patient at the centre.
"Therefore, delivering care and support within local communities is a win-win for both patients and the health service.
"The Scottish Ambulance Service has a key role to play in this transformation and I am delighted they are increasing their capacity to provide more patient care in the community.
"In turn, this will reduce pressure on our A&Es and cut the number of avoidable hospital admissions.''