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Ambulance trusts allowed to refer calls to other NHS services

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People dialing 999 that do not need ambulances can now be referred directly to other services, says the Department of Health.

The government has given ambulance services increased choice over how they handle emergency calls following a successful pilot of the NHS Pathways scheme in the North East.

Ambulance trusts will be able to train staff to offer more advice on clinical need. They will use a directory of services to refer them to a local service or to a health professional.

Those that need an emergency ambulance should notice no difference in response from newly trained staff, said the Department of Health in a statement.

Health minster Ben Bradshaw said: ‘It is important that patients get the right treatment at the right time, whether this is a rapid ambulance response or referral to local out of hours services.’

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