Fewer people are taking “unnecessary” trips to A&E thanks to a pioneering scheme between the London Ambulance Service and rapid response teams.

According to the latest figures, more than 500 people across North West London have benefitted from the system, which was introduced last year.

It sees ambulance crews assess emergency calls and decide whether those in need should be taken to A&E or if they can receive care at home from a rapid response team.

Supported by the eight clinical commissioning groups across the region, it has eased pressures at hospitals’ emergency departments.

Katherine Murray, head of community independence service, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, said: “A&E is not always the right place to provide care, especially for some of our elderly patients; being taken into a busy and unfamiliar environment can be distressing.

“Where clinically possible it is much better for people to be treated and cared for in their own home.”

Rapid response teams, which include nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and health care assistants who have access to medical and social care input, will be with patients within two hours of them requesting help.

They can deal with a number of conditions including respiratory infection or urinary tract infection, falls and dizziness, cellulitis, exacerbation of a long term condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, catheter problems and diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting or dehydration.

Emily Grist, stakeholder engagement manager at the London Ambulance Service, said: “The on-going work between the London Ambulance Service and rapid response teams across North West London has been extensive and we are seeing some fantastic results.”