Who makes high use of the emergency ambulance services and how are services responding to meet the needs of these patients?


Chair: Professor Helen Snooks, Swansea Medical School, Swansea University - CI STRETCHED Study funded by NIHR HS&DR Programme

Panel Members: 

Jason Scott, Senior Lecturer, Northumbria University. Chartered Psychologist; former Chair of the National Ambulance Service FreCANN network

Chris Richmond, NHS England's Rightcare Innovation and Strategy Lead, formerly Emergency Care Practitioner Team Leader, Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Penny Gripper and Ashra Khanom, 'STRatagies to manage Emergency ambulance Telephone Callers with sustained High needs - an Evaluation using linked Data' (STRETCHED) research team

Jonathan Hammond-Williams, Clinical Development Officer and Frequent Caller Lead for South West Ambulance Service NHS Trust



Most people call or attend emergency healthcare services rarely, but a small minority make very high use of these crisis services, which may cause or reinforce negative stereotypes about this population. Approximately half of patients contact emergency services for a mental health problem; with other conditions related to falls, addiction and social isolation also commonly presenting. Multiple presentations for complex problems to overstretched services causes operational difficulties as well as being frustrating for patients, the ambulance service and ED practitioners.

In this session practitioners, service users and researchers from across the UK will present and discuss the background, importance, current initiatives and evidence status for the care of people who make very high use of emergency health care services. In some areas, a multi-disciplinary case management approach is being taken to the management of high users of the emergency ambulance and ED services, but in other areas, initiatives exclude patients who repeatedly call the 999 ambulance service. Typically, case management models include regular meetings of clinicians and managers from a variety of settings including the ambulance service, ED, primary care, community mental health, district nursing, occupational health, the police and third sector organisations.

Add your voice to the conversation

Thank you for these interesting presentations and discussion, it was useful to hear so many perspectives. It really highlighted the need for patient centred-care plans as well as appropriate support for ambulance and emergency services practitioners.

I happy to attend a great session

We are evaluating a new approach to the care of people who make high use of the emergency ambulance service, through a cross service multi disciplinary 'case management' model. The STRETCHED study is funded by NIHR HS&DR. Please contact me for more details [email protected]