• The A2Z of Immediate Care

      Walker, Alison (2011-08)
    • Addressing the challenges of paramedic recruitment and engagement in AIRWAYS-2

      Pilbery, Richard; Green, Jonathan; Hall, Helen; Whitley, Gregory (2016-09)
      AIRWAYS-2 is an NIHR-funded study to determine the best initial approach to advanced airway management during out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Four NHS ambulance trusts are taking part in AIRWAYS-2: East Midlands, South Western, Yorkshire and East of England. One of the key challenges has been the need to recruit approximately 1300 study paramedics for the trial. The three main challenges in engaging and recruiting paramedics to participate in AIRWAYS-2 have been: ▸ Concerns relating to the potential results of the trial and what this will mean for the continuation of intubation for paramedics ▸ Concerns relating to the restriction on paramedic choice of advanced airway in OHCA and potential skill erosion ▸ Provision of training over large geographical areas at a time when morale is low and many ambulance trusts have recruitment and retention issues. How have these challenges been overcome? ▸ Communication: Identifying the most appropriate communication methods in each Trust e.g. face to face, email, internal trust operational updates ▸ Delivery of key messages: Emphasising why the trial is important and needed, and that its goal is not to remove intubation from paramedic practice. Obtaining the engagement of senior operational management to allay fears over impacts on service performance ▸ Valuing study paramedics: Paying clinicians overtime to attend training sessions, which contributes to their own continuing professional development ▸ Equity and opportunity: Delivery of multiple training sessions throughout each of the four ambulance trusts. Key achievements By November 2015, research paramedics had delivered nearly 350 training sessions and recruited in excess of 1300 paramedics to AIRWAYS-2. Conclusion The research paramedics leading AIRWAYS-2 have collaboratively, and successfully, overcome the main challenges relating to recruiting and engaging the paramedics in their Trusts. This should contribute to achieving the target patient sample size for the trial. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/33/9/e12.1.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-2016-206139.38
    • AMPDS categories: are they an appropriate method to select cases for extended role ambulance practitioners?

      Gray, J.T.; Walker, A. (2008-09)
      To examine the correlation between the AMPDS prioritisation category at dispatch and the use of alternative clinical dispatch using data from an emergency care practitioner (ECP) service dispatching on likely clinical need. https://emj.bmj.com/content/25/9/601 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2007.056184
    • “At the sharp end”: does ambulance dispatch data from south Yorkshire support the picture of increased weapon-related violence in the UK?

      Gray, J.T.; Walker, A. (2009-09-22)
      Objective: To assess whether ambulance responses in South Yorkshire to stabbing, gunshot, penetrating trauma cases have increased over the past few years, supporting the observed increase in media reporting. Methods: A review was undertaken of the frequency with which the ambulance medical priority dispatch system card 27 (stab/gunshot/penetrating trauma) was used, grouped by financial year, and comparison made over time and by patient age group. Results: There is a steady increase in the number of occurrences of these cases and also an increase in the percentage made up by the 10–29 year age group. Conclusions: Ambulance data from South Yorkshire support the media conclusion that there is an increase in stabbing, gunshot and penetrating trauma as well as an increase in the proportion of younger victims. This has wider implications for ambulance staff and the UK as a whole; however, these calls remain a low percentage of overall ambulance service activity. https://emj.bmj.com/content/26/10/741. 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.2008.067298
    • Avoiding admissions from the ambulance service: a review of elderly patients with falls and patients with breathing difficulties seen by emergency care practitioners in South Yorkshire

      Gray, J.T; Walker, A. (2008-02-25)
      To determine the true impact of emergency care practitioners (ECPs) on admissions relative to emergency department (ED) attendance. https://emj.bmj.com/content/25/3/168 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2007.050732
    • Can emergency medical service staff predict the disposition of patients they are transporting?

      Clesham, K.; Mason, S.; Gray, J.; Walters, S.; Cooke, V. (2008-10-08)
      Emergency medical service (EMS) staff in the UK routinely transport all emergency responses to the nearest emergency department (ED). Proposed reforms in the ambulance service mean that EMS staff will transport patients not necessarily to the nearest hospital, but to one providing facilities that the patient is judged to require. No previous UK studies have evaluated how accurately EMS staff can predict which transported patients will require admission to hospital. https://emj.bmj.com/content/25/10/691 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2007.054924
    • Clinical leadership in the ambulance service

      Walker, Alison; Sibson, Lynda; Marshall, Andrea (2010-06-18)
      Ambulance Services in England have recently launched the Report of the National Steering Group on Clinical Leadership in the Ambulance Service. This is the first document specifically reviewing the roles and development of Clinical Leadership, at all levels, for UK ambulance service clinicians. The document covers an evidence-based review of clinical leadership principles outlined in key policy documents, publications and systems; a strategic framework for clinical leadership in ambulance service; and includes examples of good current practice in ambulance service clinical leadership and development Clinical leadership has been referred to in a number of key policy documents; most notably, Taking Healthcare to the Patient: Transforming NHS Ambulance Services (DH 2005) made a number of recommendations of which Recommendation 62 is the most relevant to this document. “There should be improved opportunity for career progression, with scope for ambulance professionals to become clinical leaders. While ambulance trusts will always need clinical direction from a variety of specialties, they should develop the potential of their own staff to influence clinical developments and improve and assure quality of care.” This report focuses on putting theory into practice, a proposed clinical leadership ladder and a clinical leadership self-assessment tool for individuals and organisations. Some clinical leadership examples are also included. The completed report was formally launched at the Ambulance Leadership Forum (English ambulance services, with participation for Clinical Leadership from the other UK ambulance services) in April 2009 and will pave the way for the development of the Ambulance Service National Future Clinical Leaders Group. This national pilot, involving all the UK NHS ambulance services, will comprise of staff with paramedic backgrounds who will receive leadership development to work with the CEOs and Directors of Clinical Care groups to progress clinical quality and clinical leadership development in the ambulance service. https://emj.bmj.com/content/27/6/490.2. 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/emj.2009.078915
    • Decision making and safety in ambulance service transitions

      O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Hirst, Enid; Weyman, Andrew; Shaw, Deborah; Mortimer, Peter; Newman, Chris; Storey, Matthew; Turner, Janette; Mason, Suzanne; et al. (2015-05)
      Introduction Decisions made by ambulance staff are often timecritical and based on limited information. Wrong decisions could have serious consequences for patients but little is known about areas of risk associated with decisions about patient care. We aimed to examine system in fluences on decision making in the ambulance service setting focusing on paramedic roles. Method An exploratory mixed methods qualitative study was conducted in three Ambulance Service Trusts. A document search and 16 interviews were conducted to understand service delivery in each Trust, how they link with other services and potential influences on decisions about patient care. Researchers observed ambulance crews on 34 shifts and 10 paramedics completed ‘digital diaries’ to report challenges for decision making or patient safety. Three focus groups with staff (N=21) and three with service users (N=23) were held to explore their views on decision making and patient safety. Data were charted to produce a typology of decisions then coded and thematically analysed to identify in fluences on those decisions. Findings Nine types of decision were identi fied, ranging from specialist emergency pathways to non-conveyance. In fluences on these decisions included communication with Control Room staff; patient assessment, decision support and alternative options to ED conveyance. Seven main issues in fluencing patient safety in decision making were identi fied: meeting demand; performance and priorities; access to care options; risk aversion; education, training and professional development for crews; communication and feedback to crews; resources and safety culture. Conclusions A range of decisions are made by ambulance staff in complex, time bound changing conditions. Training and development and access to alternative options to ED conveyance were identi fied as particularly important issues. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/32/5/e2.1.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-2015-204880.4
    • Describing and predicting frequent callers to an ambulance service: analysis of 1 year call data

      Scott, Jason; Strickland, Annette Patricia; Warner, Karen; Dawson, Pamela (2014-05)
      Aims Ambulance services in England receive around 8 million calls a year, and no known studies have explored characteristics of frequent callers. This study aimed to identify the characteristics of the most frequent callers to Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) between April 2010 and March 2011. Methods Top 100 frequent callers to YAS were analysed using population comparison, case control and multiple regression methods. 7808 calls were made by the frequent callers, and data were analysed to predict total number of calls made, and explore characteristics of frequent callers. Results Six call codes were associated with a higher number of calls. Frequent callers were assigned slower response levels, or often no call code. Calls increased during the times of 4:00–9:00, 16:00–20:00 and 22:00–2:00, and in the months of December, January and February. Men and patients with all but the very highest conveyance rates had a higher number of different reasons for calling. Patients with a medical diagnosis were more likely to be conveyed, while patients with a psychiatric classification had a higher number of different reasons for calling, were older and were more likely to call for ‘assault/sexual assault’ or ‘haemorrhage/laceration’. Conclusions Frequent callers to YAS were a heterogeneous group that differed from the overall population served, resulting in numerous implications for the delivery of services for this group of patients. Further research is required to determine if and how frequent callers differ from frequent attenders at emergency departments. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/31/5/408.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-2012-202146
    • Elderly falls: a national survey of UK ambulance services

      Darnell, Gareth; Mason, Suzanne; Snooks, Helen (2012-12-29)
      Objective To provide a detailed description of the current UK ambulance service provision for older people who fall. Method National survey of UK ambulance services. Results 11/13 Ambulance services (84.6%) participated in this national survey. Conclusion This survey has highlighted the need for robust evidence to inform policy, service and practice development to improve the care of this vulnerable population. https://emj.bmj.com/content/29/12/1009 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/bmj.h535
    • Emergency Medicine Journal COVID-19 monthly top five

      Tonkins, Michael; Miles, Jamie; O'Keeffe, Colin; Jiminez Forero, Sonia; Goodacre, Steve (2021-02-12)
      Following from the successful ‘RCEM weekly top five’ series starting in April 2020, this is the third of a monthly format for EMJ readers. We have undertaken a focused search of the PubMed literature using a standardised COVID-19 search string. Our search between 1 December and 31 December 2020 returned 1183 papers limited to human subjects and English language. We also searched high impact journals for papers of interest. https://emj.bmj.com/content/early/2021/02/11/emermed-2021-211203 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2021-211203
    • Emergency ultrasound in the prehospital setting: the impact of environment on examination outcomes

      Snaith, B.; Hardy, M.; Walker, Alison (2011-12)
      This study aimed to compare ultrasound examinations performed within a land ambulance (stationary and moving) with those completed in a simulated emergency department (ED) to determine the feasibility of undertaking ultrasound examinations within the UK prehospital care environment. The findings suggest that abdominal aortic aneurysm and extended focused assessment with sonography in trauma emergency ultrasound examinations can be performed in the stationary or moving land ambulance environment to a standard consistent with those performed in the hospital ED. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/28/12/1063.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.2010.096966
    • Exploring ambulance conveyances to the emergency department: a descriptive analysis of non-urgent transports

      Miles, Jamie; O'Keeffe, Colin; Jacques, Richard; Stone, Tony; Mason, Suzanne (2017-12)
      An NHS England report highlighted key issues in how patients were initially navigating access to healthcare. This has manifested in increased pressure on ambulance services and emergency departments (EDs) to provide high quality, safe and efficient services to manage this demand. This study aims to identify non-urgent conveyances by ambulance services to the ED that would be suitable for care at scene or an alternative response. https://emj.bmj.com/content/34/12/A872. 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2017-207308.17
    • Frequent callers to and users of emergency medical systems: a systematic review

      Scott, Jason; Strickland, Annette Patricia; Warner, Karen; Dawson, Pamela (2014-08)
      Background There appears to be a paucity of studies examining the characteristics and impact of frequent users upon emergency medical services (EMS). Objective To review current primary research on frequent users of EMS and to identify possible gaps in the literature. Methods Ovid, PubMed and CINAHL/Medline were systematically searched for articles that were published in English and either referred to frequent callers to or users of an EMS, or referred to frequent users of other services where admissions were via ambulance. Studies were included regardless of quality. Findings Eighteen studies were included. Ten were emergency department based, seven in EMS and one in a psychiatric emergency service. In emergency department studies, frequent users were more likely to arrive via ambulance than infrequent users. In EMS studies, between 0.2% and 23% of patients using EMS were frequent users accounting for 1.4% to 40% of all ambulance use. No two EMS studies used the same definition of a frequent user. No studies focused on characteristics of callers to EMS. Two studies explored interventions for frequent callers to EMS, with mixed results in reducing ambulance use. Discussion It is unknown to what extent frequent callers impact upon EMS resources. Research should identify predictors and characteristics of frequent users of EMS, and a consistent definition of a frequent caller to or user of EMS would provide greater comparability. The lack of studies identified in this review suggests that further research is needed in order to inform policy and practice. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/31/8/684.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-2013-202545
    • Introduction of non-transport guidelines into an ambulance service: a retrospective review

      Gray, J.T.; Wardrope, Jim (2007-10)
      Recent government policy has looked at improving the role of ambulance services in delivering alternative care models for patients. https://emj.bmj.com/content/24/10/727. 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI 10.1136/emj.2007.048850
    • An investigation into suicide amongst ambulance service staff

      Hird, Kelly; Bell, Fiona; Mars, Becky; James, Catheryn; Gunnell, David (2019-01-14)
      Background In 2015, Ambulance Service Medical Directors raised concerns regarding a perceived increase in suicide deaths among ambulance service staff. The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) then commissioned a research study to investigate these concerns and provide recommendations towards a suicide prevention strategy. The aim of this study was to determine whether staff who work in the UK ambulance services (AS) are at higher risk of suicide than staff who work in other professions. Methods Data was requested from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) regarding AS staff suicide. Eighteen AS were invited to return data on Occupational Health (OH). AS in England and Wales (n=11) were also asked to return data on staff suicides. Coroners were contacted to request permission to review the records of the deaths. Results The ONS analysis of occupational suicide risk between 2011 and 2015 indicated that there were 20 suicide deaths amongst paramedics in England during that period. The risk of suicide amongst male paramedics was 75% higher than the national average. Over a 2 year period, 8 AS trusts identified 15 staff suicides (11 male, 4 female). The mean age of those dying by suicide was 42 years. Findings from coroners’ records indicated that the predominant suicide method used was hanging (66.7%). Conclusions The following recommendations have been accepted by the AACE: a) Develop a mental health strategy for all staff which includes specific emphasis on suicide prevention b) Review and assess suicide risk at times of increased vulnerability c) Collect and monitor data on AS suicides d) Review occupational health, counselling and support services e) Training for staff in identifying and responding to a colleague in distress f) Return to work discussions should consider and establish the status of an individual’s mental health and wellbeing. https://emj.bmj.com/content/36/1/e3.1. 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-2019-999.6
    • Is it cost effective to introduce paramedic practitioners for older people to the ambulance service? Results of a cluster randomised controlled trial

      Dixon, S.; Mason, Suzanne; Knowles, Emma; Colwell, Brigitte; Wardrope, Jim; Snooks, Helen; Gorringe, R.; Perrin, J.; Nicholl, Jon (2009-05-22)
      Background: A scheme to train paramedics to undertake a greater role in the care of older people following a call for an emergency ambulance was developed in a large city in the UK. Objectives: To assess the cost effectiveness of the paramedic practitioner (PP) scheme compared with usual emergency care. Methods: A cluster randomised controlled trial was undertaken of PP compared with usual care. Weeks were allocated to the study group at random to the PP scheme either being active (intervention) or inactive (control). Resource use data were collected from routine sources, and from patient-completed questionnaires for events up to 28 days. EQ-5D data were also collected at 28 days. Results: Whereas the intervention group received more PP contact time, it reduced the proportion of emergency department (ED) attendances (53.3% vs 84.0%) and time in the ED (126.6 vs 211.3 minutes). There was also some evidence of increased use of health services in the days following the incident for patients in the intervention group. Overall, total costs in the intervention group were £140 lower when routine data were considered (p = 0.63). When the costs and QALY were considered simultaneously, PP had a greater than 95% chance of being cost effective at £20 000 per QALY. Conclusion: Several changes in resource use are associated with the use of PP. Given these economic results in tandem with the clinical, operational and patient-related benefits, the wider implementation and evaluation of similar schemes should be considered. https://emj.bmj.com/content/26/6/446. 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.2008.061424
    • Is referral to emergency care practitioners by general practitioners in-hours effective?

      Gray, J.T.; Walker, A. (2009-07-22)
      Objective: To evaluate the cost effectiveness to primary care trusts (PCT) in commissioning general practitioner (GP) referrals in-hours to emergency care practitioners (ECP). Methods: A retrospective case note review for patients referred by GPs in-hours to ECP over a 4-month period to ascertain any added value over a GP visit. Results: In a 4-month period 105 patients were referred. In most cases (90.5%) the ECP was utilised as a substitute for a GP rather than providing any additional skills. Defining an avoided attendance as the ECP undertaking an intervention outside a GP skill set this equated to a 9.5% avoided attendance rate compared with the ECP service standard rate of 60%. This has implications both in terms of financial benefit and ongoing ECP service sustainability. Conclusions: There is little value in a PCT commissioning this service as they will pay twice and care must be taken in accepting new referral streams into existing services. https://emj.bmj.com/content/26/8/611. 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.2008.059956
    • Mobile Radiography at a Music Festival

      Walker, A.; Brenchley, J.; Hughes, N. (2009-07-22)
      Limb injuries are common at music festival sites and traditionally patients seen by on-site medical services require referral to hospital emergency departments for radiographic exclusion of bony injury. This takes clinical personnel off site, increases demand on local emergency departments and is inconvenient for revellers. This is an audit of the use of a portable digital radiography system at the Virgin music festival in Staffordshire over a 3-year period. https://emj.bmj.com/content/26/8/613. 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.2008.059006
    • National swine flu adult assessment guidelines: retrospective validation of objective criteria in three proxy datasets

      Challen, K.; Bentley, A.; Bright, J.; Gray, J.; Walter, D. (2011-04)
      OBJECTIVES: To validate the objective criteria in the Department of Health Adult Swine Flu Assessment Tool against proxy datasets for pandemic influenza. DESIGN: Comparative validation study with 3 datasets. SETTING: Urban Emergency Department (group 1) and prehospital care (groups 2 and 3). PARTICIPANTS: Adults with community-acquired pneumonia (group 1, n=281), shortness of breath (group 2, n=211) or any respiratory diagnosis (group 3, n=300). OUTCOME MEASURES: Hospital admission (group 1), hospital admission or intravenous therapy (group 2) and transfer to emergency department (group 3). RESULTS: Sensitivity and specificity of the tool were 0.73 (95% CI 0.67 to 0.8) and 0.83 (0.72 to 0.9) in group 1, 0.64 (0.55 to 0.71) and 0.63 (0.52 to 0.73) in group 2 and 0.84 (0.75 to 0.9) and 0.55 (0.48 to 0.62) in group 3. Analysis of individual components of the tool and a summative score is presented. CONCLUSIONS: The objective criteria of the proposed DH assessment tool do not perform particularly well in predicting relevant clinical outcomes in feasible proxy conditions for pandemic influenza. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/28/4/287.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.2009.083683