Nurses and GPs to be ‘first responders’ to emergency calls as NHS winter crisis deepens

Full story in The Independent, 30 December 2017

Nurses and GPs are to be sent to answer 999 calls ahead of ambulance crews in the latest evidence of the winter crisis engulfing the NHS, The Independent can reveal.

Health chiefs in the North East have told nurses and GPs they may have to act as “first responders” for patients who have fallen in their own homes or residential homes and may even need to administer painkillers, including intravenous morphine, if ambulances are delayed.

Bosses said the scheme was necessary because of a massive increase in demand and was intended to avert more “tragic” cases involving older patients with serious fractures and no pain relief. But senior doctors have said the move could affect patient safety.