Increasing pressures on emergency services - a sustainable solution? UK Co-Response
Of course, in an ideal world, during a medical emergency everyone needing an ambulance should get one with perfect timing. Unfortunately, the reality is our NHS ambulance services remain under continuous daily pressure at a national scale. Being first on-scene can be extremely daunting and stressful….but it’s a vital and time critical role! Simply maintaining a patient’s airway CAN save a life.
There is no doubt that properly organised response teams like fire fighters and police forces can provide support to ambulance services, often they arrive first on-scene for 999 calls. In the UK we now have an increasing number of collaborations across services (co-responding) - fire crews are being trained to respond to “immediate life threatening” emergencies. Out of hospital cardiac arrests are a prime example, where a rapid response is required. Fire fighters and police forces can often get there faster and are trained in CPR and the use of defibrillators. They can provide life saving treatment prior to the arrival of an ambulance.
One of the challenges of a collaborative co-responding approach is the current system for collecting on-scene patient data is fragmented in the UK. Carbon copy paper is completed and handed over to be later entered online. Better and more consistent data collection is a must! There is no way to measure the overall impact of collaborative co-responding to “immediate life threatening” emergencies across the country. In reality we don’t know the combined impact of valuable co-responder efforts.
Consistent digital data collection would enable opportunities for new means of innovation and contribute to big data analytics for pre-hospital care. In addition, “real-time” data collected on-scene has huge potential to identify red flag indicators for particular health conditions – and contribute to improving a patient’s chances of survival.
The more we consistently capture on-scene, the more we can learn and the more we can prepare co-responders who ARE doing a sterling job to help save lives!