Publications from the South Central Ambulance Service. To find out more about SCAS visit their website at https://www.scas.nhs.uk

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  • A critical reassessment of ambulance service airway management in prehospital care: Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee Airway Working Group, June 2008

    Deakin, Charles D.; Clarke, Tom; Nolan, Jerry P.; Zideman, David; Gwinnutt, Carl; Moore, Fionna; Keeble, Carl; Blancke, Wim (2010-03)
    Paramedic tracheal intubation has been practised in the UK for more than 20 years and is currently a core skill for paramedics. Growing evidence suggests that tracheal intubation is not the optimal method of airway management by paramedics and may be detrimental to patient outcomes. There is also evidence that the current initial training of 25 intubations performed in-hospital is inadequate, and that the lack of ongoing intubation practice may compound this further. Supraglottic airway devices (eg, laryngeal mask airway), which were not available when extended training and paramedic intubation was first introduced, are now in use in many ambulance services and are a suitable alternative prehospital airway device for paramedics. https://emj.bmj.com/content/27/3/226.long. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2009.082115
  • The Prognostic Value of National Early Warning Scores (NEWS) During Transfer of Care From Community Settings to Hospital: A Retrospective Service Evaluation

    inada-kim, matthew; Knight, Thomas; Sullivan, Michelle; Ainsworth-Smith, Mark; Pike, Neil; Richardson, Mathew; Hayward, Gail; Lasserson, Daniel (2020-06-23)
  • Intraosseous versus intravenous administration of adrenaline in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a secondary analysis of the PARAMEDIC2 placebo-controlled trial

    Nolan, Jerry P.; Deakin, Charles D.; Ji, Chen; Gates, Simon; Rosser, Andy; Lall, Ranjit; Perkins, Gavin D. (2020-01-30)
  • Is ambulance telephone triage using advanced medical priority dispatch protocols able to identify patients with acute stroke correctly?

    Deakin, Charles; Alasaad, M.; King, P.; Thompson, F. (2009-05-22)
    Background and Purpose: As many as half the patients presenting with acute stroke access medical care through the ambulance service. In order to identify and triage these patients effectively as life-threatening emergencies, telephone-based ambulance software must have high sensitivity and specificity when using verbal descriptions to identify such patients. Software-based clinical coding was compared with the patient’s final clinical diagnosis for all patients admitted by ambulance to North Hampshire Hospital (NHH) emergency department (ED) over a 6-month period to establish the ability of telephone-based triage to identify patients with likely stroke accurately. Methods: All emergency calls to South Central Ambulance Service over a 6-month period resulting in a patient being taken to NHH ED were reviewed. The classification allocated to the patient by ambulance advanced medical priority dispatch software (AMPDS version 11.1) was compared with the final clinical diagnosis made by a doctor in the ED. Results: 4810 patients were admitted to NHH during the study period. Of these, 126 patients were subsequently diagnosed as having had a stroke. The sensitivity of AMPDS software for detecting stroke in this sample was 47.62%, specificity was 98.68%, positive predictive value was 0.49 and negative predictive value was 0.986. Conclusions: Fewer than half of all patients with acute stroke were identified using telephone triage on the initial emergency call to the ambulance service. Less than one quarter received the highest priority of ambulance response. This first link in the chain of survival needs strengthening in order to provide prompt and timely emergency care for these patients. https://emj.bmj.com/content/26/6/442. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2008.059733
  • How do patients with osteoporosis make sense of their doctors’prescribing decisions?

    England, Ed; Portlock, Jane; Brown, Dave; Stephens, Martin (2010-09-30)
  • Speaking up — even when not heard

    Elsey, Abbygail (2020-06-05)
    Decisions made at the end of a patient's life can be some of the most difficult. This month, Abbygail Elsey, shares her most challenging experience yet as a newly qualified paramedic. Abstract published with permission.
  • Evaluation of telephone-cardiopulmonary resuscitation advice for paediatric cardiac arrest

    Deakin, Charles D.; Evans, Siân; King, Philip (2010-07)
    Abstract Introduction Telephone-cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) advice aims to increase the quality and quantity of bystander CPR, one of the few interventions shown to improve outcome in cardiac arrest. We evaluated a current paediatric telephone protocol (AMPDS v11.1) to assess the effectiveness of verbal CPR instructions in paediatric cardiac arrest. Methods Consecutive emergency calls classified by the AMPDS as cardiac arrests in children <8 years old, over an 11 month period, were compared with their corresponding patient report forms (PRFs) to confirm the diagnosis. Audio recordings and PRFs were then evaluated to assess whether bystander CPR was given, and when it was, the time taken to perform CPR interventions, before paramedic arrival. Results Of the 42 calls reviewed, 19 (45.2%) were confirmed as cardiac arrest. CPR was already underway in two cases (10.5%). Of the remaining callers, 11 (64.7%) agreed to attempt T-CPR, resulting in an overall bystander-CPR rate of 68.4%. The median time to open the airway was 126 s (62–236 s, n = 11), deliver the first ventilation was 180 s (135–360 s, n = 11), and perform the first chest compression was 280 s (164–420 s, n = 9). Conclusion Although current telephone-CPR instructions improve the numbers of children in whom bystander CPR is attempted, effectiveness is likely to be limited by the significant delays in actually delivering basic life support.
  • Spinal injury: how should we immobilize in the prehospital environment?

    Warner, Stuart (2010-03)
    Correct spinal immobilization is key to reducing the potential for further injury to the spinal cord. Effective management of actual injuries, or the potential for injury, has led to a protracted debate on which piece of equipment is fully fit for purpose. For the past 20 years, the UK ambulance service has been regularly using the rescue board (colloquially known as the ‘spinal board’) to immobilize patients. This paper seeks to review the current equipment and debate their appropriate applications. Abstract published with permission.
  • The influence of time to adrenaline administration in the Paramedic 2 randomised controlled trial

    Perkins, Gavin D.; Kenna, Claire; Ji, Chen; Deakin, Charles D.; Nolan, Jerry P.; Quinn, Tom; Scomparin, Charlotte; Fothergill, Rachael; Gunson, Imogen M.; Pocock, Helen; et al. (2020-03)
  • Incidence and costs of severe hypoglycaemia requiring attendance by the emergency medical services in South Central England

    Farmer, A.J.; Brockbank, K.J.; Keech, M.L.; England, Ed; Deakin, Charles D. (2012-11)
  • Improving the quality of ambulance crew hand-overs: a qualitive study of knowledge transfer in emergency care teams

    Murray, Steve; Crouch, Robert; Pope, Catherine; Lattimer, Val; Thompson, Fizz; Deakin, Charles D.; Ainsworth-Smith, Mark (2011-03)
    Introduction Ambulance crews make 3.6 million emergency journeys each year. Effective patient transfer relies on verbal, non-verbal and documentary handover of complex information in time-limited environments. Weaknesses in ambulance handover have been noted but little work has been done to investigate the process and identify good practice. Research has looked at communication during transfer of care; standardised resuscitation handover formats have been used but do not always improve accuracy. Ineffective handover threatens patient safety, quality and efficiency of care. This study provides an in-depth examination of handover to inform practice and education. Method We are conducting an ethnographic case study of handover in an ambulance Trust. Researchers are accompanying crews as they undertake their day-to-day work, using observation and video-recording to capture handover—from data collection at scene, pre-alerting (by radio, telephone and computer) through to the hospital. We are also collecting information from patient records along with training materials, policies and directives pertaining to handover. Ethnography allows for informal conversations to take place as appropriate during the fieldwork to clarify understandings and explore emerging themes in the analysis. In addition we are using semi-structured interviews with patients, carers, ambulance staff, nurses, doctors and non-clinical hospital staff to explore the handover process. Result The project started 2nd April 2009. This poster will outline the methodology, present some of the emerging themes from our analysis and describe future data collection and analysis plans. Discussion This is an ongoing project. We will present our experience of undertaking this unusual project—especially issues surrounding accessing staff and the practicalities of data collection. By presenting this work we seek to inform future research into emergency care. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/28/3/e1.11.full.pdf This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2010.108605.19
  • Occupational stress, paramedic informal coping strategies: a review of the literature

    Mildenhall, Joanne (2012-06)
    Abstract published with permission. Frontline ambulance staff have high rates of sickness absence; far greater than any other National Health Service worker. Reports suggest that many of these instances are attributable to stress, anxiety and depression. Indeed, studies have observed that occupational stress is significant within the Ambulance Service. While academics frequently associate the causative factor as being related to traumatic incident exposure, there is a small, growing trend of researchers who have found that daily hassles are equally, if not a greater source of stress. Many of the studies investigating the psychological aftermath of a stressful occupational experience focus on formal coping strategies such as critical incident debriefing and trauma risk incident management. However, it has been found that paramedics often prefer to manage stressful feelings informally within their own occupational culture. This literature review explored these informal coping strategies, and found that cognitive mechanisms and peer support were the most used methods. Research in this domain is currently very limited; therefore, this review identifies several areas for further study.
  • Management of an isolated neck-of-femur fracture in an elderly patient

    Eaton, Georgette (2012-07)
    Abstract published with permission. Femoral neck fractures affect up to 75 000 elderly people per year, with up to a third of these patients dying within twelve months. While there is a paucity of research specific to the pre-hospital field, current evidence demonstrates that optimal treatments include appropriate and adequate analgesia, fluid management and correct immobilisation of the injured leg. Analgesia should be considered in a step-wise approach and should be progressive to the patients' needs. Pain relief should be sought through the variety of options open to paramedics and should be initiated immediately. Transfer to the ambulance should be done in a safe manner, ensuring the patient is immobilised and remains pain free. This pre-hospital management of the patient with a femoral neck fracture ensures they receive adequate analgesia and fluid replacement before any definitive treatment at hospital.
  • An evaluation of the role of SCAS in the attendance to call-outs and the transport to hospital of older people with dementia

    Lofthouse-Jones, Chloe; Pocock, Helen; King, Phil; Jadzinski, Patryk; England, Ed; Taylor, Sarah; Cavalier, Julian; Fogg, Carole (2019-09-24)
    Background Our previous work has shown that 35% of ambulance attendances by SCAS are to people aged 75 and over; 17% of these have dementia. The research literature suggests that older people with cognitive impairment/dementia experience longer stays, or die, in hospital. It is unclear whether factors such as call time or availability of social care impact conveyance rates. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of out-of-hours call-outs and social care provision on ambulance conveyance rates for people aged ≥75 years, including patients with dementia. Methods For this service evaluation, electronic records for patients aged ≥75 years attended by SCAS were extracted over one year. The proportion of conveyed patients according to a dementia record, out-of-hours call, time of year, triage grade, social care provision and indices of deprivation were calculated. Univariate and multivariate analyses identified factors which may influence conveyance. Results A total of 111,548 electronic records were included, 16.5% with dementia. 63.7% of calls resulted in conveyance (59.1% with dementia). Conveyances reduced in out-of-hours periods for all patients. 13.6% more patients living alone and 16.5% more patients living with family were conveyed to hospital if there was no care package in place. Adjusted for other factors, having a care package reduced the risk of conveyance in older people living alone by 36% (Odds ratio 0.64, 95% Confidence interval 0.62–0.67). Conclusions Availability of social care and time of call appear to be important determinants of conveyance in older people, both in those with and without dementia. More research is needed to improve needs assessments and local referral services and pathways, https://emj.bmj.com/content/36/10/e6.2. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2019-999abs.12
  • A retrospective service evaluation of the presentation of anaphylaxis to a UK ambulance service

    Groom, Nicholas; Taylor, Sarah; England, Ed; Pocock, Helen; Deakin, Charles D. (2019-09-24)
    Background There is a lack of data relating to frequency and presentation of anaphylaxis to the ambulance service in England. Little research exists relating to the patients’ self-treatment of anaphylaxis and there is an absence of evidence to evaluate the impact of self-administered adrenaline, there is a need to describe this patient group to evaluate any potential to develop their care. Methods Retrospective data were collected from the electronic patient records of a single NHS ambulance service serving a population of approximately four million. Records between 1stApril 2017 and 31st March 2018 were included where a diagnosis of anaphylaxis was recorded. Gender, age, incident location, allergy history, were summarised to identify any trends in presentation. The frequency of patient self-administration, as well as ambulance administration, of adrenaline was also included for analysis to determine any correlation. Results 326 records were included in the analysis. The mean, median and modal patient ages were 34, 29 and 20 respectively. Patient ages ranged from six months to 95 years. Patients were 65% female, 35% male and 59% of incidents occurred at home. 76% of patients reported having a known allergy with food being the most common allergen (44%). Peak times for calling 999 were midday and 6pm. 35% of patients had self-administered adrenaline. 52% received ambulance-administered adrenaline. The doses of self-administered adrenaline ranged from 0–3 doses and ambulance administered adrenaline ranged from 0–8 doses. Patients who self-administered adrenaline were less likely to receive further adrenaline from the ambulance service. No correlation was found between the number of self-administered doses and ambulance administered doses. Conclusion Patient demographics such as age, gender and allergies were consistent with two previous small-scale studies. This study suggests that early self-administration of adrenaline is beneficial. Opportunities for improvements in data recording as well as patient education were identified., .https://emj.bmj.com/content/36/10/e9.2 This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2019-999abs.20
  • Look at the patient and follow your gut

    Elsey, Abbygail (2019-08-07)
    In this month's issue, Abbygail Elsey shares the best advice she received as a student paramedic, and how it is only now making its impact in her role as a new clinician. Abstract published with permission.

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