An ambulance service in North Carolina has launched a new program that lets people who call 911 with minor concerns speak to a nurse before deciding whether to be transported to a hospital by ambulance.
Nurses at Carolinas Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital, in Charlotte, NC, are on hand to speak to people who call 911 with minor problems such as nausea, nosebleeds, or constipation, if they prefer not to be immediately transported by ambulance.
The new program was launched April 1 by Mecklenburg County’s ambulance service, Medic, reports The Charlotte Observer. Medic officials say only four or five callers each day will be appropriate to speak with a nurse and that it’s an alternative for patients who wish to avoid an ambulance transport or emergency room wait.
The program has been tested by Medic for four years to ensure its safety. Medic received nearly 100,000 calls last year, more than 700 of which were handled by nurses over the telephone.
The nurse service is not available for calls concerning children younger than two or older than 65. Similar programs are on offer in Richmond, VA, and Louisville, KY.