By Tara O’Connor
Cycling paramedics will soon be taking to the streets of Merton in a bid to reduce winter pressures at GP surgeries.
As part of a pilot scheme, 12 paramedics will be getting on their e-bikes to deliver flu vaccines, assess patients who have been discharged from hospital and visit those suffering with long-term conditions.
The new team will also be visiting coronavirus patients and paramedics will decide where patients should be referred to hospitals.
The six-month pilot is expected to start this month and is a partnership between London Ambulance Service and Merton Health.
As well as cutting the time it takes for patients to be seen, it is also hoped that it will reduce pressure on the ambulance service and cut unnecessary trips to A&E.
GP borough lead for Merton, Dr Vasa Gnanapragasam, said: “This is an innovative way of helping people get the right care and support, whether the paramedics are visiting patients with coronavirus, checking on someone after being in hospital or helping those who struggle to get out have a flu jab.”
While Mariam Ganesaratnam, chief executive of Merton Health, said she hopes the system will carry on beyond the six-month pilot.
The trial is expected to run until April 2021 when it will be re-evaluated by the ambulance service and could be rolled out across London.
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