The Adult Critical Care Emergency Support Service (ACCESS) ensures that a fleet of specialist ambulances in the capital transport patients safely between local hospitals and specialist centres.
It will focus on moving the sickest patients to centers where they can receive specifically tailored care, such as a heart center or a hyperacute stroke unit.
The four vehicles will carry additional equipment, including ventilators and specialized monitors, and will be staffed by expert clinicians, effectively acting as a network of mobile intensive care units.
The ambulance fleet will be based at locations across London and is expected to transport around 2,000 patients a year.
Clinicians will staff the adapted ambulances under the supervision of a consultant, with the London Ambulance Service (LAS) handling calls, crews and vehicles. Other support functions will be carried out by partners in South West and North West London.
A dedicated phone line will be made available to clinicians at the LAS emergency control center, who will dispatch vehicles upon approval by an on-duty consultant.
The ACCESS program is based on the successful North East London Critical Care Transfer And Retrieval (NECCTAR) service, which facilitated the long-distance transfer of adults with complex needs during the Covid pandemic.
The service will be run by a partnership of Barts Health NHS Trust, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, with the LAS.
Dr. Mamoun Abu-Habsa, Joint Clinical Director of ACCESS, said: “Transporting critically ill patients between hospitals is inherently a high-risk activity. uniform vision on equal access to specialist care.
“Our pan-London specialist teams will facilitate fair access to highly specialized heart, trauma, neurosurgical and burn care and return patients to their local Intensive Care Units across the country. This is the largest such service in England.”
Dr. James Marsh, Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer for St George’s, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and Health Group, said: “Critically ill patients always need easily accessible specialist equipment and care, especially when moving from one hospital to another.
“Our partnership means that seriously ill and injured Londoners receive the excellent care they need from our teams of highly talented clinicians wherever they live in the capital.”