• Call to hospital times for suspected stroke patients in the North East of England: a service evaluation

      Haworth, Daniel; McClelland, Graham (2019-09-01)
      Introduction: Stroke is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity. The role of the ambulance service in acute stroke care focuses on recognition followed by rapid transport to specialist care. The treatment options for acute ischaemic strokes are time dependent, so minimising the prehospital phase of care is important. The aim of this service evaluation was to report historical pre-hospital times for suspected stroke patients transported by the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) and identify areas for improvement. Methods: This was a retrospective service evaluation using routinely collected data. Data on overall call to hospital times, call to arrival times, on scene times and leave scene to hospital are reported. Results: Data on 24,070 patients with an impression of stroke transported by NEAS between 1 April 2011 and 31 May 2018 are reported. The median call to hospital time increased from 41 to 68 minutes, call to arrival from 7 to 17 minutes, on scene from 20 to 30 minutes and leave to hospital from 12 to 15 minutes. Conclusion: The pre-hospital call to hospital time for stroke patients increased between 2011 and 2018. The call to arrival phase saw a sharp increase between 2015 and 2017, whereas on scene and leave scene to hospital saw steadier increases. Increasing demand on the ambulance service, reorganisation of regional stroke services and other factors may have contributed to the increase in times. Reducing the on scene phase of pre-hospital stroke care would lead to patient benefits and is the area where ambulance clinicians have the most influence. Abstract published with permission.
    • A comparison of actual versus predicted emergency ambulance journey times using generic Geographic Information System software

      McMeekin, Peter; Gray, Joanne; Ford, Gary A; Duckett, Jay; Price, Christopher (2014-09)
      Study objective The planning of regional emergency medical services is aided by accurate prediction of urgent ambulance journey times, but it is unclear whether it is appropriate to use Geographical Information System (GIS) products designed for general traffic. We examined the accuracy of a commercially available generic GIS package when predicting emergency ambulance journey times under different population and temporal conditions. Methods We undertook a retrospective cohort study of emergency ambulance admissions to three emergency departments (ED) serving differing population distributions in northeast England (urban/suburban/rural). The transport time from scene to ED for all the highest priority dispatches between 1 October 2009 and 30 September 2010 was compared with predictions made by generic GIS software. Results For 10 156 emergency ambulance journeys, the mean prediction discrepancy between actual and predicted journey times across all EDs was an underprediction of 1.6 min (SD 4.9). Underprediction was statistically significant at all population densities, but unlikely to be of clinical significance. Ambulances in urban areas were able to exceed general traffic speed, whereas, the opposite effect was seen in suburban and rural road networks. There were minor effects due to travel outside the busiest traffic times (mean overprediction 0.8 min) and during winter months (mean underprediction 0.4 min). Conclusions It is reasonable to estimate emergency ambulance journey times using generic GIS software, but in order to avoid insufficient regional ambulance provision it would be necessary to make small adjustments because of the tendency towards systematic underprediction. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/31/9/758.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/emermed-2012-202246