Procurement begins for national system to replace regional arrangements by the end of the year
The Welsh Government has agreed to provide the national ambulance service with £4.48 million to pay for a new computerised dispatch system to link up the existing regional systems.
It marks an effort to consolidate the response process for the Welsh Ambulance Service, providing a national system in place of the three that are currently in operation.
The service, which operates as a healthcare trust, has said this should improve the speed of allocating calls and dispatching ambulances, providing priority to life-threatening situations and improving the coordination of the service for large events and major incidents.
A spokesperson for the service told UKAuthority that it has begun the procurement process and is aiming to implement the new system later this year.
Richard Lee, the trust’s director of operations, said: “The procurement and implementation of the new computer aided dispatch system is an important part of the modernisation of our three clinical contact centres.
“It will lead to improvements both for our patients and our staff, who will benefit from better allocation speeds and effectiveness.”
The new system will have to manage alerts for 90 ambulance stations around Wales. Its most recent estimate for the number of emergency calls per year exceeded 250,000.
The Welsh Ambulance Service came in for criticism in mid-2015 for its emergency response times, with only about 60% of leading to a paramedic reaching the patient within the eight minute target. But it has since achieved improvements, surpassing the Welsh Government’s target of 65% in each month following the introduction of clinical pilot in October of last year.
It will be aiming for further improvements with the implementation of the next computer system.
Image from Welsh Ambulance Service