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Found 80 results
  1. News Article
    The first time she was groped at work, Freya says she was 24 years old, a newly qualified paramedic, and was cleaning out the cupboards of the ambulance station crew room. "He came behind me without me realising. I was cleaning away, and he put his hands around my body and grabbed my breasts," said Freya, which is not her real name. "Then he said, 'Well, I won't bother doing that again'. "People just laughed, some didn't even look up from the TV. Like it was nothing, completely normal." Her story mirrors that of other current and former paramedics who, in several interviews with Sky News, painted a picture of widespread sexual harassment and a toxic culture of misogyny. The head of the College of Paramedics, Tracy Nicholls, said: "Problems exist in every [NHS] trust, across all four countries in the United Kingdom." NHS England told Sky News that any form of sexual misconduct was "completely unacceptable" and every trust had committed to an action plan to improve sexual safety. Laura - not her real name - is currently a paramedic for a different ambulance service. She describes sexual harassment as "incessant" in the profession. She says students and new recruits are routinely referred to as "fresh meat", subjected to sexual comments, questions and jokes - even in front of patients - and are continually sexualised by some male colleagues. "It's exhausting," she said. "You come to work wanting to help your patients but every day you're dealing with inappropriate behaviour and sexual comments." Read full story Source: Sky News, 8 February 2024
  2. Content Article
    Lions Clubs Message in a Bottle is a simple but effective way for people to keep their basic personal and medical details where they can be found in an emergency on a standard form and in a common location – the fridge. Message in a Bottle (known within Lions as MIAB) helps emergency services personnel to save valuable time in identifying an individual very quickly and knowing if they have any allergies or take special medication. Find out more about the initiative and how to order a bottle via the link below.
  3. Event
    The Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) encourages investigations across the NHS to apply SEIPS. This 3 hour masterclass will focus upon using SEIPS in paramedic – urgent & emergency care. The SEIPS trainer Dr Dawn Benson has extensive experience of using and teaching SEIPS, as a Human Factors tool, in health and social care safety investigation. She will be joined in this masterclass session by a clinical subject expert. Morning session: 9.30-12.30 Afternoon session: 1.30-4.30 Register
  4. News Article
    Ambulance services in England have experienced a mass exodus of staff in the past year with nearly 7,000 leaving their jobs, figures have revealed. The number of emergency service crew leavers has risen sharply compared with 2019 levels, prompting concern for patient safety during the next NHS winter crisis. The government has been called on to launch an urgent recruitment drive before winter to cover the 2,954 vacancies across all ambulance services in England. Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrats' health and social care spokesperson, said: “With patients struggling to see a GP at the front door of the NHS and unable to access social care at the back door of the NHS, ambulance crews are unfairly caught between a rock and a hard place, picking up the slack from a health and care system that is broken at both ends. “Patients who struggle to access the care they need, when they need it, are then left waiting for emergency assistance in pain and distress for an ambulance. The shortage of NHS staff has caused untold pain for millions of people across the country, especially those left to wait for hours in pain for an ambulance to arrive. “The government must begin an urgent recruitment drive before winter begins and our ambulance services are yet again put under unsustainable strain. There is no time to waste.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 August 2023
  5. Content Article
    Authors conducted a before and after, retrospective, observational study using anonymised, routinely collected, patient-level data from a single English NHS ED between April 2018 and December 2019. The primary outcomes of interest were the proportion of admitted patients, that is, the admission rate, the length of stay in the ED and ambulance handover times. They used interrupted time series models to study and estimate the impact of removing the 4-hour access standard.
  6. News Article
    An ambulance trust accused of hiding information from a coroner about patients that died is keeping a damning internal report about the deaths secret, the Guardian can reveal. A consultant paramedic implicated in the alleged cover-ups continues to be involved in decisions to keep the report from the public. Earlier this month, North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) apologised to relatives after a review into claims it covered up errors by paramedics and withheld evidence from the local coroner about the deceased patients. But a bereaved family left in the dark about mistakes made before their daughter’s death have rejected the apology. Now, it has emerged that a 2020 internal interim report on the alleged cover-up continues to be kept secret by the trust. The damning report by consultants AuditOne has been leaked to the Guardian after first being exposed by the Sunday Times. Paul Aitken-Fell, a consultant paramedic blamed in the report for amending information sent to the coroner and removing crucial passages about mistakes by the trust’s paramedics, remains in post. He also holds the gatekeeper role of FoI review officer, and as such has endorsed decisions to refuse to release the report to members of the public who ask for it. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 24 July 2023
  7. Content Article
    A casually centred proposal identifying how Fire and Rescue Services can improve pre-hospital care and quality of life outcomes for burn survivors.  David Wales and Kristina Stiles have released this report looking at the burn survivor experience in the pre-hospital environment. The work makes ten operational recommendations and also two 'lessons learned' recommendations exploring strategic partnership working and the resulting fragmented services.
  8. Content Article
    NHS England commissioned a limited scope independent review into patient safety concerns and governance processes related to the North East Ambulance Service. Chaired by Dame Marianne Griffiths DBE, the review considered the facts surrounding a number of individual cases, reviewed the processes surrounding coronial investigations and reviewed the seven previous investigations and reviews undertaken by the ambulance service to determine if they were sufficient to fully understand and resolve issues.
  9. News Article
    Paramedic Moira Shaw is eyeing the frantic activity at the front doors of Edinburgh's emergency department. She is waiting for the go-ahead to hand over her patients to medics and answer the next 999 call. It can be a long wait. Last week, 1 in 10 ambulances across Scotland took more than 80 minutes to drop patients at an emergency department. BBC Scotland joined Moira and colleague Blair Paul at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where they were among seven ambulances waiting to drop off patients. "At the moment we can be an hour waiting, we sit in the ambulance and we wait until there is a space to go in," explains Moira, who has been with the service for nearly a decade. "This is pretty much an everyday occurrence now. "It's that domino effect, so if patients are waiting to move to other areas, A&E gets clogged up and they can't take any more patients in because they are waiting to move people on." Moira said she has noticed they are attending more calls where people have not been able to get through to their GP so phone 999 instead. Another theme picked up by Moira and her colleague Blair is helping younger sicker patients who need urgent hospital treatment. "I've seen actually quite a lot of people maybe in their 40 or 50s who have got now stage four cancer and they've just not been able to get access to any treatments or anything just due to the pressures on the NHS at the moment," explained Blair. Read full story Source: BBC News, 11 May 2022
  10. News Article
    "Absolutely soul destroying" is how one paramedic describes his job. He is not alone. Over the past few months, BBC Wales has been contacted by employees from the Welsh Ambulance Service who paint a dire picture of a service under immense pressure. Ambulance waiting times have climbed and climbed throughout the pandemic. The impact that has on patients is well known - but what about those on the other side? Mark, who did not want to disclose his real name or show his face for fear that he would lose his job, described the stress of his shifts with a radio strapped to his chest, hearing "red calls waiting, red calls waiting". "That is the potential of somebody's life waiting in the balance - and you can't get there. It's absolutely soul-destroying. We wouldn't treat animals this way, why are we treating humans?", he said. Mark said the job has always come with pressure and anxiety. But over the course of the pandemic that has intensified and he has "never known as many people looking for other jobs as they are at the moment". The stress has become so bad that he is now on antidepressants. Read full story Source: BBC News, 25 March 2022
  11. News Article
    A paramedic was hallucinating after a traumatic call-out when he crashed into a car, an inquest heard. Jason Allen, 49, and Andrew Ralph, 61, were killed after their car was hit by Kevin Lilwall's ambulance on the A49 in Pengethley, Herefordshire. An inquest heard Mr Lilwall was having flashbacks to the previous day when he had been in the area responding to the sudden death of a baby. The paramedic, who had worked for West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) for 28 years, was driving the ambulance when it crossed the white line into the car. The ambulance dashcam showed it heading directly towards Mr Allen’s car for six seconds before the collision. The families of Mr Allen and Mr Ralph said they had been through hell in the past four years, adding they had never had an apology from Mr Lilwall and only one from WMAS after the inquest. The hearing in Hereford was told Mr Lilwall had spent more than 25 hours on duty in the previous 36 hours, with just a 10-hour break between shifts. Medical experts agreed that the hallucination could have been caused by post traumatic stress disorder. Jason Wiles from WMAS admitted it had been a "missed opportunity" regarding the apology and said it had changed its policy to ensure staff had a break of at least 11 hours between shifts following the crash. Read full story Source: BBC News, 28 June 2023
  12. News Article
    Ambulance services are under intense pressure, with record numbers of callouts and the most urgent, category-one, calls last month. BBC Two's Newsnight programme spent from 08:00 to 20:00 on Monday at six hospitals with the longest delays handing patients over from paramedics to accident and emergency staff. This should take 15 minutes or less - but crews often wait many hours and sometimes whole 12-hour shifts, with ambulances queuing outside unable to respond to other emergency calls. At Royal Cornwall, 25 ambulances were queuing by the afternoon, three for at least 10-and-a-half hours, at Derriford, in Plymouth, 20 were queuing up to 11 hours in an overflow car park and the longest wait at Heartlands was more than five hours. "We're right on the fringe of collapse right now," a paramedic who has worked in emergency care for more than a decade said. "People are phoning and being told that they're not going to get an ambulance for six or nine hours. And that's happening routinely - that is happening pretty much every shift." "It would be wrong to say that there are times when I haven't shed a tear... for the people we haven't been able to help because it's been too late," the paramedic said. "They may have died anyway but there are definitely cases that I've been to where we should have been to them sooner and less harm would have come to them." Read full story Source: BBC News, 15 July 2022
  13. News Article
    There are plans for a major overhaul of how people are rescued from car wrecks amid growing evidence that current methods where people wait to be cut free may be harmful. Last year there were 127,967 casualties and 1,560 deaths in England caused by motor vehicle collisions. During the same period, more than 7,000 patients needed to helped out of the vehicle through a process known as extrication, where rescue crews use “Jaws of Life” and other tools to pry apart the wreckage, and then carefully lift people out. “Since at least the 1980s, firefighters have been trained with movement minimisation as the absolute paradigm,” said Dr Tim Nutbeam, an NHS emergency medicine consultant, and medical lead for the Devon air ambulance. “They’ve been told that one millimetre of movement could turn someone into a wheelchair user, so will often disassemble the car around the patient, to avoid movement of the neck.” Yet, doing so takes time – 30 minutes on average – and if that person has another serious injury, such as a head, chest, or abdominal injury, every minute counts. Nutbeam began researching the issue and discovered that trapped patients were almost twice as likely to die as those who were rapidly freed from the wreckage. Further, that the prevalence of spinal injuries among such patients was, in fact, extremely low – just 0.7% – and in around half of these cases, they had other serious injuries needing urgent medical attention. “Our absolute focus on movement minimisation works for maybe 0.3% of patients, but it extends the entrapment time for 99.7% of them,” Nutbeam said. “Potentially hundreds of people in this country have died as a result of extended entrapment times, and if you multiply that worldwide, it’s many, many people.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 6 July 2022
  14. News Article
    Paramedics have begun looking after patients inside an A&E unit, in an initiative by the health service to stop ambulances queueing outside hospitals and ease the strain on overstretched casualty staff. The scheme has led to patients being handed over much more quickly at a hospital that was one of the worst in England for sick people being stuck, sometimes for many hours, in the back of an ambulance. Queen’s hospital in Romford, in east London, has set up an ambulance receiving centre (ARC) near its main casualty unit in which two London Ambulance Service paramedics are on duty round the clock to help look after patients who would otherwise be trapped outside or in a corridor, waiting to be seen. Patients who end up in the new six-cubicle unit behind the A&E nurses’ station have a better experience while they wait and are more comfortable – and safer – because they can have their relatives with them, eat and drink and use the toilet more easily. Almost 2,000 patients have passed through the ARC since it opened last November, saving nearly 13,000 hours of ambulance crews’ time and enabling them to respond to emergency calls more quickly. However, some A&E doctors regard the scheme as merely “a sticking plaster”, given that queues of ambulances have become common outside many hospitals and that casualty units are treating the lowest percentage of patients within four hours on record. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 3 July 2022
  15. News Article
    Student paramedics are missing out on learning how to save lives because they are wasting hours in ambulances outside A&E instead of attending calls, it has been revealed. The College of Paramedics and ambulance directors say the hold-ups mean trainees are missing vital on-the-job experience, leading to fears over the safety of patients. Will Boughton, of the College of Paramedics Trustee for Professional Standards, said handover delays had become a problem for trainees’ development and exposure to real-life experience, meaning training had become “unpredictable”. If steps weren’t taken to increase training opportunities and address wider quality concerns in education, “it is very possible that patient safety may be at risk due to missed experience during practice education”, he warned. “A student could complete a regular shift and see lots of patients, getting lots of things in their portfolio signed off, or they could be the unlucky ambulance that joins the back of a queue and is then at hospital X for however many hours waiting to release that patient, so and it varies from county to county and service to service,” he said. Read full story Source: The Independent, 22 June 2022
  16. News Article
    The number of calls for an ambulance in England have almost doubled since 2010, with warnings of record pressures on the NHS that are seeing A&E patients stuck in corridors and many paramedics quitting the job. Ambulance calls have risen by 10 times more than the number of ambulance workers, according to a new analysis of NHS data carried out by the GMB union. An increase in people seeking emergency treatment, GPs unable to cope with demand and cuts to preventive care are all being blamed for the figures. While the figures represent all calls for an ambulance, some of which go unanswered and do not lead to a vehicle being sent, they reveal the increasing pressures that have led to claims that patient safety is being put at risk by ambulance waiting times. There has been a significant increase in the number of the most serious safety incidents logged by paramedics in England over the past year. Paul, a paramedic and GMB deputy branch secretary, said he had recently seen a crew waiting almost 10 hours between arriving at hospital and transferring a patient to hospital care. “They arrived at the hospital at 20.31,” he said. “They then cleared from the hospital at 05.48 in the morning. The impact of the lack of resources is affecting the ambulance service. “We are also seeing people become aggressive to the ambulance crew, because they’ve waited hours upon hours in an ambulance." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 12 June 2022
  17. News Article
    The London Ambulance Service (LAS) failing on diversity and must implement specific targets for improvements, its leadership has been warned. According to LAS data, just 20% of the workforce is from a Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background despite almost half of the capital’s population (46.2%) being made up of non-white communities. Of that 20%, 40.9% are in the lowest paid roles, compared to 15.9% who are in the highest wage bands, according to the LAS’ Integrated Performance report. The LAS is in the process of developing a new strategy to help attract more diverse staff, which will be published early next year. Research shows that ethnic minority groups suffer disproportionately higher levels of inadequate ambulance care due to a combination of issues such as a lack of cultural awareness among professionals, language and communication difficulties and a limited understanding of how the healthcare system operates for some minority groups. Read full story Source: The Independent, 21 February 2023
  18. News Article
    Emergency patients are being left open to abuse when they are at their most vulnerable because of a lack of vetting of ambulance workers, watchdog officials have warned. One watchdog official warned that abusers would even seek out work as a paramedic because it provided an “attractive environment” for exploitation. Figures show that dozens of ambulance workers have faced action over sexual assault in the past two years, while paramedics account for one in three cases of tribunal action against care professionals. But one survivors’ group warned the figures were just the “tip of the iceberg”. Paramedics who have been struck off in the past two years include one who performed a sex act in front of a patient, while another was handed a suspended prison sentence for possessing thousands of images of child pornography. Helen Vine, special adviser to the Care Quality Commission, told a recent webinar: “There is a small proportion of the population who are seeking to abuse our patients and the ambulance can be an attractive environment for that type of individual. One of the reasons for this is the ambulance sector is predominantly lone working … and ambulance services offer privileged often unsupervised access to patients who can be very vulnerable". She said the lack of checks meant offenders were able to move between providers, adding: “They test the waters and their behaviours ... if they are challenged, they will move on, however, if they are not challenged then they can hide in plain sight, and they are wearing a trusted uniform and given responsible access to that patient group. Read full story Source: The Independent, 12 February 2023
  19. News Article
    Some ambulance trusts are not sending paramedics to up to around a quarter of their most serious calls, according to figures obtained by HSJ. HSJ submitted data requests to all 10 English ambulance trusts after the Care Quality Commission raised concerns about the proportion of category one calls not being attended by a paramedic at South Central Ambulance Service Foundation Trust. The regulator said in a report published in August last year that between November 2021 and April 2022 around 9% of the trust’s category one calls were not attended by a paramedic. Inspectors said this meant some patients “did not receive care or treatment that met their needs because there were not appropriately qualified staff making the decisions and providing treatment.” But data obtained via freedom of information requests reveals other ambulance trusts had far lower proportions of category one calls attended by paramedics than the South Central service last year. Read full story Source: HSJ, 2 February 2023
  20. News Article
    Ambulance crews say they are treating a growing number of patients who are falling ill because they are unable to afford to heat their homes. The soaring cost of gas and electricity has forced many people to switch off their heating in the winter months. Scottish Ambulance Service crews say they are seeing people who are unwell because their homes are so cold or they cannot afford to eat properly. Charities have warned many people are dealing with a "toxic cocktail" of increasing energy bills, growing inflation and higher interest rates this winter. Glasgow ambulance workers Tanya Hoffman and Will Green say that most weeks they see patients who are facing the stark choice between eating and heating. They have been in homes which feel ice cold, where the patients are clearly struggling to cope. "It is sad to see people are living like that," said Tanya. "There's been quite a few patients I have been out to who can't afford to buy food. They have to choose one or other, heating or food. "So they'll sit quietly at home and it's usually a relative or a friend who will phone for them as they don't want to bother anybody. "They're sitting there [and] you can't get a temperature off them because they're so cold. "So you take them into hospital because they are not managing. You know if you leave that person at home they are probably going to die through the fact they are so cold." Read full story Source: BBC News, 24 January 2023
  21. News Article
    Paramedics are being told to take a police escort to more than 1,200 addresses for fear of attack, The Times has revealed. The College of Paramedics said the figure was outrageous and called on courts to implement tougher sentences for assaults on paramedics. Ambulance services have marked hundreds of addresses after violence towards crew. Notes on addresses include “patient keeps axe under pillow — serrated knife hidden round the house and is known to be a risk”, “shoots/throws acid”, and “patient is anti-ambulance”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 4 June 2023
  22. News Article
    Healthcare systems across Australia are buckling in the wake of COVID waves and the flu season. Pictures of ambulances piling up outside hospitals have become commonplace in the media. Known as “ramping”, it’s the canary in the coalmine of a health system. As a major symptom of a health system under stress, state governments across Australia are investing unprecedented amounts into ambulance services, emergency departments (EDs) and hospitals. South Australia has committed to an increased recruitment of 350 new paramedics. Likewise, New South Wales has committed to 1,850 extra paramedics. Victoria, meanwhile, has committed an additional A$162 million for system-wide solutions to counter paramedic wait times, on top of the A$12 billion already committed to the wider health system. This could begin to alleviate the system pressures that lead to ambulance ramping. But what happens when the paramedics return yet again to ED with another patient? Will they simply end up ramped again? We also need to consider better care in the community – and paramedics could play a role in this too. Read full story Source: The Conversation, 21 July 2022
  23. Content Article
    Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) can operate as a single responder to an incident or support a paramedic on a double-crewed ambulance. They have many of the same skills as paramedics, such as being able to assess, triage and provide lifesaving treatment.[1]   In this account, an EMT describes their current experience of being on the frontline. They talk about patient care, getting stuck in ambulance queues and how they have adapted to new ways of working, beyond their training. Lastly, they offer insight into where the solutions might lie and how improvements could be made.
  24. News Article
    Angry exchanges between paramedics and A&E staff in Liverpool have broken out after new measures were deployed to hold and treat patients in the back of ambulances. Sources said there have been “Mexican standoff” situations at Aintree Hospital in recent days, after hospital staff insisted patients who had been brought inside should be returned to ambulance vehicles. Staff at North West Ambulance Service told HSJ they were informed of a new protocol last week, which said patients should be kept in the back of ambulances if the corridor of the emergency department is full with patients. There have been repeated orders from NHS England and the Care Quality Commission over the past year for hospitals to ensure patients can be offloaded by ambulance crews, even if they fear they do not have adequate staffing or beds to accept them. One senior source at NWAS said: “To see a new protocol like this is absolutely unprecedented. I very much doubt the execs had approved it. “We’ve had Mexican standoff situations over the weekend with crews who have brought patients into ED being told to take them back out to their vehicles, but they’ve refused to do this as it means they cannot cohort. “We completely accept that taking extra patients means the ED and hospital staff have to deal with additional and unacceptable risk, but holding ambulances is not the solution because the risks to patients out in the community are even greater. Despite repeated instructions from NHS England and the CQC this still doesn’t seem to be understood.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 17 October 2022
  25. News Article
    Hannah Rusby reassures her patient he’s in good hands. He is in his eighties, skeletal, confused and struggling to answer basic questions. His breathing is rapid. After a few minutes of probing questions and basic tests, Rusby knows this is serious — after months of decline while living alone, the man is critically ill and needs to go to hospital urgently. With more than 500,000 people waiting for social care assessments across England, emergency calls such as this are increasingly common. “We are becoming a middleman for all the other services,” said Rusby, who qualified as a paramedic seven years ago and works for the London Ambulance Service (LAS). She said the job increasingly involves responding to people who fall through society’s cracks. Daniel Elkeles, 49, chief executive of the LAS, agrees: “There are lots of patients who, if something else were available, we wouldn’t need to take them to hospital. As the population has got older and frailer, it’s unsurprising that an increasing number of the calls are not traditional emergencies.” He believes paramedics can be the link between GPs, community nursing and social care. From next week, the LAS will pilot having three cars covering six boroughs in southwest London. Each will have a paramedic and a community nurse and will respond to 999 calls from elderly people who have fallen at home. They’re going to see every frail elderly person who has fallen [and] hasn’t broken a bone, and our aim is to keep all of those patients at home. The community nurse will assess the house to make sure it’s safe then refer the patient to their GP and an urgent community response team,” said Elkeles. The service hopes this will mean as many as 1,000 fewer people going to A&E a year. Read full story (paywalled) Source: Sunday Times, 2 September 2022
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