• 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
    • 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
    • Developing leadership in the UK’s ambulance service: a review of the consultant paramedic role

      Hodge, Andrew (2014-03)
      Abstract published with permission. Background: This study seeks to understand part of the emerging clinical leadership framework implemented in the UK’s NHS ambulance services in recent years. The aim is to explore the relatively new role of consultant paramedics and understand their leadership activities in relationship to nationally determined requirements, and the challenges they face performing this crucial leadership role. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with all consultant paramedics in the UK in 2013. Thematic analysis and coding were used to analyse the data and identify emergent themes. Additionally, basic demographic data was collected for comparison against national requirements. Findings: The findings illustrated three key themes: credible clinical leadership, an emerging empowered profession, and role expectations. There is a clear indication that consultant paramedics are a key part of clinical leadership for the paramedic profession. However, they are challenged to remain clinically competent by undertaking regular clinical practice and providing visible leadership on the ground, while strategically taking the profession forward. Operational resistance and power issues were highlighted as some of the problems faced by these clinical leaders. Implications: The findings may prove useful for employers in reviewing their clinical leadership structures, and in workforce planning for future consultant paramedics. The paramedic profession and its professional body may equally find this study useful for informing future strategic planning.
    • Human factors, cognitive bias and the paramedic

      Allen, James (2019-01-12)
      The consequences of human factors and cognitive bias can be catastrophic if unrecognised. Errors can lead to loss of life because of the flawed nature of human cognition and the way we interact with our environment. Seemingly small mistakes or miscommunications can lead to negative outcomes for patients and clinicians alike. It is easy to see therefore why the College of Paramedics now recommends the teaching of human factors at higher education institutions. Using a problem-based approach, this article aims to inform prehospital clinicians about how human factors and cognitive bias can affect them and their practice, and how these can be mitigated. Abstract published with permission.
    • The impact of an ambulance vehicle preparation service on the presence of bacteria: a service evaluation

      Mackenzie, Mo; Pilbery, Richard (2019-03-01)
      Introduction: Around 300,000 patients a year in England acquire a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) while being cared for by the NHS. The contribution from NHS Ambulance Services is not known, but previous studies have identified the presence of pathogenic bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Enterococcus, including resistant strains in some cases, inside ambulances. To improve ambulance cleanliness, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) piloted an Ambulance Vehicle Preparation Service (AVPS) at two ambulance stations, where staff were tasked with ensuring every ambulance at these stations was cleaned every 24 hours. Methods: Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence testing was conducted on 16 ambulances at the two pilot AVPS stations and on 18 ambulances at four ‘business as usual’ (BAU) ambulance stations using a Hygiena SystemSURE luminometer. Swabs were obtained from 10 pre-selected locations inside each ambulance. Results: Between November 2016 and August 2018, a total of 690 swabs were obtained and recorded from 34 ambulances. Overall, median relative light unit (RLU) values for both groups were < 100, with only the BAU group having an upper quartile value > 100. However, when stratified by swabbing area, three areas had a median RLU of > 100 in the BAU group: suction unit handle, steering wheel and airway seat shelf. In addition, the upper quartile RLU values for the grab rail above the stretcher and the passenger seat in the BAU group were also > 100. No swab areas had a median RLU > 100 in the AVPS group. Conclusion: A dedicated AVPS results in better cleaning of ambulance vehicles than the existing cleaning system utilising operational crews. The areas most likely to be contaminated are the suction unit handle, steering wheel, airway seat shelf and grab rails. The position of equipment and the materials that equipment are constructed from should have infection prevention and control (IPC) as a consideration. Abstract published with permission.
    • Individualised nursing support reduces mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes following severe hypoglycaemia requiring ambulance attendance

      Kulavarasalingam, K.; Whittam, B.; Cassidy, S.; james, cathryn; Baxter, Paul; Pearson, S.; Ajjan, Ramzi A. (2018-10)
    • 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
    • Paramedic Pathfinder: is it really better than current practice?

      Goulding, James (2014-08)
      Abstract published with permission. Following the recent publication of an article on the Paramedic Pathfinder in the Emergency Medicine Journal, James Goulding argues that rather than highlighting a step forward for the paramedic profession, it serves as an indication that there needs to be more rigorous research before a change in current methods can be recommended.
    • PTSD, available support and development of services in the UK Ambulance Service

      Dodd, Greg (2017-06)
      Abstract published with permission. The role of front line ambulance staff in the UK has developed so rapidly that it is almost unrecognisable from days gone by, when scoop and run tactics were commonplace. With additional responsibilities, pressurised decision making and a range of sometimes complex interventions, unique pressures have also developed. The purpose of this article is to review pertinent information relating to how these additional pressures can metamorphose into specific conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The prevalence of this and other debilitating conditions such as depression and anxiety specific to the ambulance service is reflected upon, whilst existing support from the ambulance service is examined. By broadening both knowledge and confidence relating to this increasingly significant problem, formulation of our own local improvements can take place in the near future.
    • The role of ambulance clinicians in management and leadership

      Taylor, James (2011-01)
      Abstract published with permission. Ambulance clinicians are ‘professional problem solvers’. As such, they share much in common with managers within organizations, and have much to offer in terms of the contribution that they can make to the management and leadership of the organisations within which they work. This article highlights the importance of management and leadership development opportunities being made available for ambulance clinicians. A practical approach is advocated, whereby ‘hybrid roles’ are developed to enable individuals to gain practical experience of management and leadership within a structured and supportive environment, while retaining an element of clinical practice. A case study is used to illustrate the article, based upon the author's own career within the NHS to date which has combined both management and clinical practice with structured management and leadership development. Practical advice is offered for those ambulance clinicians who may be interested in undertaking such development in future, or who wish to explore further their role as clinical leaders.
    • Suicide among ambulance service staff: a review of coroner and employment records

      Mars, Becky; Hird, Kelly; Bell, Fiona; James, Cathryn; Gunnell, David (2020-03-01)
      Background: There is growing evidence to suggest that ambulance service staff may be at increased risk for suicide; however, few studies have explored risk factors within this occupational group. Aim: To investigate factors commonly associated with ambulance staff suicides. Method: Eleven ambulance service trusts across the United Kingdom were asked to return details of staff suicides occurring between January 2014 and December 2015. Coroners were then contacted to request permission to review the records of the deceased. Results: Fifteen suicides were identified (73% male, mean age 42 years). Inquest data were available on 12 deaths. The most common method used was hanging. Possible risk factors identified included recent return to work following a period of sickness absence, poor mental health, relationship and debt problems, history of self-harm and the loss of a driving licence/change in job role. Conclusion: Identifying characteristics of suicide among this high-risk group is important to inform the development of suicide prevention initiatives. Additional research is needed with an adequate control group to further explore the risk factors identified in this study. This abstract has been published with permission
    • Using vignettes to assess the accuracy and rationale of paramedic decisions on conveyance to the emergency department

      Miles, Jamie; Coster, Joanne; Jacques, Richard (2019-06-01)
      Introduction: Paramedics make important decisions about whether a patient needs transport to hospital, or can be discharged on scene. These decisions require a degree of accuracy, as taking low acuity patients to the emergency department (ED) can support ambulance ramping. In contrast, leaving mid‐high acuity patients on scene can lead to incidents and recontact. This study aims to investigate the accuracy of conveyance decisions made by paramedics when looking at real life patient scenarios with known outcomes. It also aims to explore how the paramedic made the decision. Methods: We undertook a prospective mixed method triangulation design. Six individual patient vignettes were created using linked ambulance and ED data. These were then presented in an online survey to paramedics in Yorkshire. Half the vignettes related to mid‐high acuity attendances at the ED and the other half were low acuity. Vignettes were validated by a small expert panel. Participants were asked to determine the appropriate conveyance decision and to explain the rationale behind their decisions using a free-text box. Results: A total of 143 paramedics undertook the survey and 858 vignettes were completed. There was clear agreement between paramedics for transport decisions ( = 0.63). Overall accuracy was 0.69 (95% CI 0.66‐0.73). Paramedics were better at ‘ruling in’ the ED, with sensitivity of 0.89 (95% CI 0.86‐0.92). The specificity of ‘ruling out’ the ED was 0.51 (95% CI 0.46‐0.56). Text comments were focused on patient safety and risk aversion. Discussion: Paramedics make accurate conveyance decisions but are more likely to over-convey than under-convey, meaning that while decisions are safe they are not always appropriate. It is important that paramedics feel supported by the service to make safe and confident non-conveyance decisions. Reducing over-conveyance is a potential method of reducing demand in the urgent and emergency care system. Abstract published with permission.