PATIENTS using South Western Ambulance’s Hear and Treat service have said their experience was positive.

The Hear and Treat service means clinicians in control rooms are able to further assess patients over the telephone, giving them advice or directing them to alternative healthcare providers such as walk-in-centres, community nurses or pharmacies.

The service has been praised by patients canvassed for a Care Quality Commission survey.

The results show that 98 percent of respondents felt the call handlers listened to what they had to say and 97 percent said they felt they were treated with dignity and respect, therefore establishing the right level of trust before then speaking to one of our control room clinicians.

SWASFT chief executive, Ken Wenman said: “The survey showed that the majority of respondents felt they had confidence in our staff and THAT THEY were treated with dignity and respect.

“This is really important as we want to make sure our patients are comfortable and happy with this new initiative.

“Having a need to call 999 is obviously very unsettling and distressing to say the least and we must ensure that patients understand the care they are being offered – whether that is an ambulance responding to them or them being given advice over the telephone.”