Extended Care Paramedics (ECPs) have enhanced clinical role in assessment, examination, recognition and management of minor injury or illness presentations. They provide definitive care in patient’s homes or places of residence following a call to Triple Zero (000) and routinely refer patients to General Practice in cases where treatment at an Emergency department (ED) is not necessary.
ECPs do not provide a real time clinical handover to a patient’s General Practitioner (GP) contributing to a breakdown in continuity of care. ECPs leave a paper referral letter with the patient to provide to their GP at a subsequent appointment. This acts as the clinical handover from ECP to GP. Where this is not provided GPs may remain unaware of ambulance attendance, assessment findings or need for follow up care.
Sydney North Primary Health Network (SNPHN) interviewed general practices where ECPs had previously referred patients. SNPHN confirmed instances where GPs had not been provided ECP referral letters by their patients.