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Should skill sets be standardised across all trusts?

17 Nov 09:00 by Pete Bouvier

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Phil Goodway, a HART paramedic for the South West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, blogs about the standardisation of skill sets across the UK... 

Picture the scene: a serious head-on car vs car RTC. The incident involves four casualties, all with polytrauma; no HEMS, no BASICS attend but ambulances from three different Trusts arrive. Imagine now that three of the patients have very similar injuries but receive vastly different treatments; from pain relief to splinting to TXA administration.

Does this sound familiar? No? Well, it is a real likelihood as different Ambulance Trusts continue to put in place local policies and protocols.

BBC Panorama documentary highlighted the issue back in 1990 and much has been made of this subject since that time. The recently updated JRCALC guidelines promote a more cohesive approach for all Ambulance Trusts. But is it still a lottery for members of the public, depending on where they are and what their injury/illness is?

My question is this: Do patients deserve to have access to the same methods and level of care no matter where they are? Should a nationwide standard of care replace the practise of introducing local policy and procedure? Or are local policies and procedures a necessary part of the modern pre-hospital world, facilitating the most up-to-date, evidence-based practise with maximum benefit for the patient?

One of the great aspects of social media is you can find out what clinicians in other Trusts are doing, where their practise is similar or different. I don’t think anybody can deny that there are variations in how we all do the same job. 

We’ll be discussing this topic on Thursday night’s #MedChat over on Twitter, so join in and have your say at 8pm @medicnow. - MN

Phil Goodway is a HART paramedic for the South West Ambulance Service NHS Trust. You can follow him on Twitter @paraphil1978