Publications from the South Western Ambulance Service. To find out more about SWAST visit their website at https://www.swast.nhs.uk/welcome

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  • Development and pilot of clinical performance indicators for English ambulance services

    Siriwardena, Aloysius; Shaw, Deborah; Donohoe, Rachel; Black, Sarah; Stephenson, John; National Ambulance Clinical Audit Steering Group (2010-04-12)
    Introduction There is a compelling need to develop clinical performance indicators for ambulance services in order to move from indicators based primarily on response times and in light of the changing clinical demands on services. We report on progress on the national pilot of clinical performance indicators for English ambulance services. Method Clinical performance indicators were developed in five clinical areas: acute myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest, stroke (including transient ischaemic attack), asthma and hypoglycaemia. These were determined on the basis of common acute conditions presenting to ambulance services and in line with a previously published framework. Indicators were piloted by ambulance services in England and results were presented in tables and graphically using funnel (statistical process control) plots. Results Progress for developing, agreeing and piloting of indicators has been rapid, from initial agreement in May 2007 to completion of the pilot phase by the end of March 2008. The results of benchmarking of indicators are shown. The pilot has informed services in deciding the focus of their improvement programme in 2008–2009 and indicators have been adopted for national performance assessment of standards of prehospital care. Conclusion The pilot will provide the basis for further development of clinical indicators, benchmarking of performance and implementation of specific evidence-based interventions to improve care in areas identified for improvement. A national performance improvement registry will enable evaluation and sharing of effective improvement methods as well as increasing stakeholder and public access to information on the quality of care provided by ambulance services. https://emj.bmj.com/content/27/4/327. 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.2009.072397
  • Research paramedics’ observations regarding the challenges and strategies employed in the implementation of a large-scale out-of-hospital randomised trial

    Green, Jonathan; Robinson, Maria; Pilbery, Richard; Whitley, Gregory; Hall, Helen; Clout, Madeleine; Reeves, Barnaby; Kirby, Kim; Benger, Jonathan (2020-06-01)
    Introduction: AIRWAYS-2 was a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing the clinical and cost effectiveness of the i-gel supraglottic airway device with tracheal intubation in the initial airway management of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). In order to successfully conduct this clinical trial, it was necessary for research paramedics to overcome multiple challenges, many of which will be relevant to future emergency medical service (EMS) research. This article aims to describe a number of the challenges that were encountered during the out-of-hospital phase of the AIRWAYS-2 trial and how these were overcome. Methods: The research paramedics responsible for conducting the pre-hospital phase of the trial were asked to reflect on their experience of facilitating the AIRWAYS-2 trial. Responses were then collated by the lead author. A process of iterative revision and review was undertaken by the research paramedics to produce a consensus of opinion. Results: The main challenges identified by the trial research paramedics related to the recruitment and training of paramedics, screening of eligible patients and investigation of protocol deviations / reporting errors. Even though a feasibility study was conducted prior to the commencement of AIRWAYS-2, the scale of these challenges was underestimated. Conclusion: Large-scale pragmatic cluster randomised trials are being successfully undertaken in out-of-hospital care. However, they require intensive engagement with EMS clinicians and local research paramedics, particularly when the intervention is contentious. Feasibility studies are an important part of research but may fail to identify all potential challenges. Therefore, flexibility is required to manage unforeseen difficulties. Abstract published with permission.
  • ECPs: avoiding emergency department attendance or hospital admission?

    Coates, David (2010-04)
    The aim of the literature review was to identify and appraise studies that have compared the effectiveness and decision-making of emergency care practitioners with other health professionals. There is no ‘gold standard’ for determining whether the actions of an emergency care practitioner (ECP) results in a patient avoiding attendance at an emergency department (ED) or hospital admission. Consequently, reporting on the cost effectiveness of ECPs is potentially spurious, especially as the cost difference between ED attendance and hospital admission is considerable. Medline and EMBASE databases were searched for publications relevant to the study area. Additional searches were carried out using the online search function offered by the Cochrane Library and the Emergency Medicine Journal. Twenty-nine publications met the inclusion criteria. Nineteen of these papers were considered suitable for background information only. Ten studies were analyzed in further detail and three main themes identified: non-conveyance rates, decision-making and admission avoidance. Studies show that patients assessed by ECPs are less likely to be conveyed to the ED, than when attended by a traditional ambulance response. The Department of Health (DH, 2005) refer to a traditional ambulance service response to a 999 call as sending a double-crewed paramedic ambulance to the patient, provide any necessary life support to stabilize the patient and transport to the ED. The decision-making of ECPs compares favourably with other health professionals when deciding whether a patient can be treated at home, or requires ED attendance or hospital admission. No studies were found that determined whether an ECP is able to accurately decide whether their intervention results in patients avoiding ED attendance or admission. There is a need to evaluate the validity of data collection methods which differentiate between emergency department and admission avoidance as a result of the actions of ECPs. Abstract published with permission.
  • Acute stroke life support: a United States based training course; is it appropriate for and transferable to the English health care setting?

    Davis, David; Crook, D.; Hargroves, D.; Miller, G.; South, A.; Jenkinson, D.; Smithard, D. (2009-12-01)
  • The new coronavirus disease: what do we know so far?

    Tang, Sammer; Brady, Mike; Mildenhall, Joanne; Rolfe, Ursula; Bowles, Alexandra; Morgan, Kirsty (2020-05-05)
    View Article Abstract Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel coronavirus that causes the new disease COVID-19. Symptoms range from mild to severe with a higher incidence of severe cases in patients with risk factors such as older age and comorbidities. COVID-19 is mainly spread through the inhalation of respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing or via contact with droplet-contaminated surfaces. Paramedics should be aware that some aerosol-generating procedures may put them at a higher risk of contracting the virus via possible airborne transmission. Use of remote triage clinical assessment is likely to increase as a result of the pandemic. There is no curative drug treatment for the virus and some medications may exacerbate its effects or make patients more susceptible to it. Evidence and guidelines are evolving on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. Paramedics should keep up to date with the latest clinical guidance from their employers. Abstract published with permission.
  • UK ambulance service resuscitation management of pulseless electrical activity: a systematic review protocol of text and opinion

    Coppola, Alison; Black, Sarah; Johnston, Sasha; Endacott, Ruth (2020-06-01)
    Abstract published with permission. Background: Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients with pulseless electrical activity are treated by paramedics using basic and advanced life support resuscitation. When resuscitation fails to achieve return of spontaneous circulation, there are limited evidence and national guidelines on when to continue or stop resuscitation. This has led to ambulance services in the United Kingdom developing local guidelines to support paramedics in the resuscitative management of pulseless electrical activity. The content of each guideline is unknown, as is any association between guideline implementation and patient survival. We aim to identify and synthesise local ambulance service guidelines to help improve the consistency of paramedic-led decision-making for the resuscitation of pulseless electrical activity in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Methods: A systematic review of text and opinion will be conducted on ambulance service guidelines for resuscitating adult cardiac arrest patients with pulseless electrical activity. Data will be gathered direct from the ambulance service website. The review will be guided by the methods of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI). The search strategy will be conducted in three stages: 1) a website search of the 14 ambulance services; 2) a search of the evidence listed in support of the guideline; and 3) an examination of the reference list of documents found in the first and second stages and reported using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses. Each document will be assessed against the inclusion criteria, and quality of evidence will be assessed using the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Text and Opinion. Data will be extracted using the JBI methods of textual data extraction and a three-stage data synthesis process: 1) extraction of opinion statements; 2) categorisation of statements according to similarity of meaning; and 3) meta-synthesis of statements to create a new collection of findings. Confidence of findings will be assessed using the graded ConQual approach.
  • What out-of-hours antibiotic prescribing practices are contributing to antibiotic resistance: a literature review

    Hart, Jasmine; Phillips, Peter (2020-03-01)
    Abstract published with permission. Background: Overuse of antibiotics and inappropriate prescribing has resulted in a rapid increase in the rate of antibiotic resistance, with poorer patient outcomes and increased health costs. In the out-of-hours setting, a high proportion of antibiotics are prescribed and practices need to improve to reduce antibiotic resistance. Purpose: To identify antibiotic prescribing practices in European out-of-hours primary care services that are contributing to antibiotic resistance. Design: The review was conducted in alignment with the PRISMA statement (Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff, Altman, & PRISMA Group, 2009). Methods: A literature search was performed using MySearch to identify European literature. The search was focused on antibiotic/antimicrobial prescribing in an out-of-hours environment, and any reports that described factors correlating with the nature of prescribing practices were examined. Results: The literature search located 91 articles, out of which seven met the inclusion criteria. Two articles described clinicians’ experiences in antibiotic prescribing in out-of-hours, two compared in-office and after-hours prescribing, two described prescribing patterns in out-of-hours and one examined prescribing in children. Four main themes were identified: antibiotics prescribed and conditions associated with prescribing; consultation time; the day of consultation; and parental opinion. Conclusion: Overprescribing to self-limiting conditions, prescribing of broad-spectrum antibiotics, time constraints, safeguarding issues and poor communication are all contributing to inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. Further research is needed relating to whether clinicians are adhering to antibiotic guidelines and to explore patients’ experiences and expectations from the out-of-hours practitioners with respect to antibiotic prescribing.
  • PRe-hospital Evaluation of Sensitive TrOponin (PRESTO) Study: multicentre prospective diagnostic accuracy study protocol

    Alghamdi, Abdulrhman; Cook, Eloïse; Carlton, Edward; Siriwardena, Aloysius; Hann, Mark; Thompson, Alexander; Foulkes, Angela; Phillips, John; Cooper, Jamie; Steve, Bell; et al. (2019-10-07)
    Introduction Within the UK, chest pain is one of the most common reasons for emergency (999) ambulance calls and the most common reason for emergency hospital admission. Diagnosing acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in a patient with chest pain in the prehospital setting by a paramedic is challenging. The Troponin-only Manchester Acute Coronary Syndromes (T-MACS) decision rule is a validated tool used in the emergency department (ED) to stratify patients with suspected ACS following a single blood test. We are seeking to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the T-MACS decision aid algorithm to ‘rule out’ ACS when used in the prehospital environment with point-of-care troponin assays. If successful, this could allow paramedics to immediately rule out ACS for patients in the ‘very low risk’ group and avoid the need for transport to the ED, while also risk stratifying other patients using a single blood sample taken in the prehospital setting. Methods and analysis We will recruit patients who call emergency (999) ambulance services where the responding paramedic suspects cardiac chest pain. The data required to apply T-MACS will be prospectively recorded by paramedics who are responding to each patient. Paramedics will be required to draw a venous blood sample at the time of arrival to the patient. Blood samples will later be tested in batches for cardiac troponin, using commercially available troponin assays. The primary outcome will be a diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction, established at the time of initial hospital admission. The secondary outcomes will include any major adverse cardiac events within 30 days of enrolment. Ethics and dissemination The study obtained approval from the National Research Ethics Service (reference: 18/ES/0101) and the Health Research Authority. We will publish our findings in a high impact general medical journal.Abstract, URL 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: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032834
  • They think it's all over - managing post cardiac arrest syndrome

    Page, Michael (2012-04-06)
    Abstract published with permission. Return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) is the first stage in the successful management of the cardiac arrest patient. The care that the patient receives during the immediate post-ROSC period, has a major impact on subsequent survival from out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), particularly in terms of surviving to hospital discharge neurologically intact. For the first time, the 2010 Resuscitation Council (UK) (Nolan, 2010) guidelines incorporates a section specifically relating to the mangement of OHCA. This review will outline the guidance from the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the International Liaison Committee On Resuscitation (ILCOR) on the management of post cardiac arrest syndrome (PCAS) and how this can be practically implemented in the pre-hospital environment. interventions directly applicable to the pre-hospital phase until handover at the emergency department (ED) will be considered. In addition, specific guidance relating to the management of the ROSC patient in the pre-hospital phase of their care will be provided.
  • Electronic records in ambulances – an observational study (ERA)

    Porter, Alison; Black, Sarah; Dale, Jeremy; Harris-Mayes, Robert; Lawrenson, Robin; Lyons, Ronan; Mason, Suzanne; Morrison, Zoe; Potts, Henry; Siriwardena, Aloysius; et al. (2019-09-24)
    Background The introduction of information technology (IT) in emergency ambulance services to electronically capture, interpret and store patient data can support out of hospital care. Although electronic health records (EHR) in ambulances and other digital technology are encouraged by national policy across the UK, there is considerable variation across services in terms of implementation. We aimed to understand how electronic records can be most effectively implemented in a pre-hospital context, in order to support a safe and effective shift from acute to community-based care. Methods We conducted a mixed-methods study with four work packages (WPs): a rapid literature review, a telephone survey of all 13 freestanding UK ambulance services, detailed case studies in four selected sites, and a knowledge sharing workshop. Results We found considerable variation in hardware and software. Services were in a state of constant change, with services transitioning from one system to another, reverting to paper, or upgrading. Ambulance clinicians were dealing with partial or unclear information, which may not fit comfortably with the EHR. Clinicians continued to use indirect data input approaches such as first writing on a glove. The primary function of EHR in all services seemed to be as a store for patient data. There was, as yet, limited evidence of their full potential being realised to transfer information, support decision making or change patient care. Conclusions Realising the full benefits of EHR requires engagement with other parts of the local health economy, dealing with the challenges of interoperability. Clinicians and data managers are likely to want very different things from a data set, and need to be presented with only the information that they need., https://emj.bmj.com/content/36/10/e14 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.32
  • Public and patient involvement in prehospital care research development – designing the rapid 2 trial

    Evans, Bridie A.; Bulger, Jenna; Ford, S.; Foster, Theresa; Goodacre, Steve; Jones, S.; Keen, L.; Longo, M.; Lyons, Ronan; Pallister, I.; et al. (2019-04-26)
    Background Involving patients and public members in research helps ensure evidence is relevant, accountable and high quality. Public and patient involvement (PPI) is required in many funding applications. We aimed to involve public contributors in designing a research bid about prehospital management for hip fracture. Method We recruited two public contributors with experience of hip fracture and prehospital care to our research team of academic, clinical and managerial partners developing the RAPID 2 proposal evaluating paramedic administration of Fascia Iliaca Compartment Block, a local anesthetic injection into the hip. We supported them to consult with a public/patient group and identify patient priorities to inform our decisions. We held research development meetings and shared project drafts to gain views, share decisions and amend documents. Results Consultation responses suggested patient priorities after hip fracture were to return home, recover mobility and gain independence. These views guided our decisions on setting primary outcomes which were length-of-hospital-stay and health-related quality-of-life. Their concern about the study design causing delayed access to treatment meant we decided to identify common exclusion criteria before randomisation to expedite access to pain management and reduce attrition. Public contributors also agreed patients should be offered an incentive for completing and returning questionnaires to enhance data completeness. Conclusion Involving public contributors enabled the research team to identify patient-prioritised outcomes and adjust the proposed study design to reflect these in the proposal. Public contributors will remain involved if funding is awarded to ensure patient perspectives inform all stages of research management and dissemination. Conflict of interest None. Funding PRIME Centre Wales. 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, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/., https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/Suppl_2/A8.2 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/bmjopen-2019-EMS.22
  • Storytelling via social media in the ambulance services

    Cotton, Mark; MacGregor, Murray; Warner, Claire; Bateson, Fiona (2019-09-11)
  • Characteristics of neighbourhoods with high incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and low bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation rates in England

    Brown, Terry P.; Booth, Scott; Hawkes, Claire A.; Soar, Jasmeet; Mark, Julian; Mapstone, James; Fothergill, Rachael; Black, Sarah; Pocock, Helen; Bichmann, Anna; et al. (2019-01-01)
  • Reducing thrombolysis call to needle times - preliminary results from the Stroke90 project

    Kendall, J.M.; Dutta, D.; Brown, E.A.M.; Caine, S.E.; Whiting, R.; Bosnell, R.; Shaw, L.J.; Black, T.; Rashed, K.A.; Aujla, K.S.; et al. (2013-05)
  • Research developments within the Allied Health Professions Research Network (AHPRN)

    Williams, Julia; Robinson, Maria; McClelland, Graham (2014-01)

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