A scheme to bring a new kind of paramedic care to the people of Pembrokeshire is being pioneered by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

A network of skilled, highly-trained and equipped mobile paramedics is being set up to not only respond to emergencies but make decisions about aftercare and treat patients in their own homes.

The first specialist practitioners have been chosen from the ranks of the service’s paramedics and nurses and they have been undergoing training to graduate and postgraduate level to provide care above and beyond the existing service.

In Pembrokeshire, the first to take up the post is paramedic Paula Jeffery, but others will be joining her in what is the first such scheme in the UK.

Paula, 40, from Carew, has been a paramedic for two years but has 20 years experience as an accident and emergency nurse including eight as an army nurse.

She is working towards a BSc Hons and is based in Tenby alongside colleague Lowri Davies. She said: “The new specialist role should bring some really good gains here because if we can manage a patient at home then we are saving a two-hour round trip to hospital.

“At the moment the only care pathway available to an ambulance crew is the A and E unit at their local hospital, but a lot of patients don’t need that sort of care which can tie up huge amounts of resources, especially in rural areas.

“The idea of the specialist practitioner is that you are clinically more focused and able to do an assessment of the patient and then come to a conclusion about whether he or she needs to go to hospital and if they can be treated at home then that’s better for everybody.

“Clearly some people do need to go to hospital but huge numbers don’t and you need the educational process to make you competent to do that and to attain a higher level of skills and clinical expertise and that’s what this is all about.”