Across its operational area in 2015/16 North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) attended 14,484 emergency incidents with the location flagged as being a care home. During the first six months of the year, there was an average of 38 incidents per day, rising to an average of 41 per day in the latter half of the year. There were 30 care homes that NEAS were called upon to attend on 90 or more occasions in 2015/16. Of those, ten accounted for over 9% of the total care home activity that year. One care home in Northumberland made this list.
While this showed that Northumberland based care homes made only a small call on NEAS emergency services, from feedback we understood that some care homes were concerned about the length of time they have had to wait for an emergency ambulance to attend for their residents.
Between September 2016 and January 2017, Healthwatch Northumberland took a closer look at the issue. We specifically wanted to know the extent of the issues and understand what the ramifications could be for residents and the operation of the care homes.