Trauma Care Conference 2013: Paramedic Programme

Trauma Care, the charity founded in 1996 to address the need for commonly agreed standards of best clinical practice in the management of trauma, launched its 14th International Conference this week.

Held at the Park Inn, Telford, the 5-day conference began on Monday 22 April with the Paramedic Programme. This was held alongside its Air Ambulance and HART Programme, and Trauma Systems Update and TARN Workshop.

The morning of the Paramedic Programme began with Dr Paul Reavley, consultant in emergency medicine, speaking on the challenges and current issues of paediatric trauma. Highlighting the anxiety that surrounds treating children, he effectively discussed the differences paramedics face when treating children compared to adults, and solutions to potential obstacles that can appear.

Dr Mike Donald, consultant in emergency and retrieval medicine, followed with an engaging talk on pre-hospital trauma care in Scotland. Mixing moments of light relief with examples of challenging call-outs he has encountered on the job, he outlined the difficulties that the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service Scotland are met with on a daily basis.

After a brief coffee break the proceedings continued with a talk from Dr Curtis Whittle, consultant in anaesthesia and critical care, on the applications of human factors in pre-hospital trauma care. Stressing the importance of human factors and how non-clinical skills can help decrease adverse events, Dr Whittle went on to outline key behavioural concepts and how they can be improved and developed.

Matthew Catterall, senior lecturer in paramedic science at the University of Hertfordshire, rounded up the talks before lunch with a systematic review of the evidence on whether critical care paramedics have an extended practice scope. Highlighting the findings from 80 relevant critical care effectiveness studies, he presented a well-balanced argument for both sides.

After lunch, Mark Millins, senior lecturer in paramedic science at Teeside University, spoke on current thinking and future developments in spinal immobilisation. Through the aid of a number of studies, he illustrated that in many instances full immobilisation can do more harm than good, often as a result of poor technique in the pre-hospital setting.

Neil Hooper, critical care paramedic, delivered a topical talk on the use of ketamine in paramedic procedural sedation. Sparking a good amount of post-talk discussion, he explored both its positive and negative aspects.

The final talk of the day was led by Ben Meadley, MICA flight paramedic for Air Ambulance Victoria. Outlining the required qualifications and training for prospective paramedics in Australia, equipment and vehicles used, pre-hospital clinical trials and examples of common call-outs, it was both an engaging and informative talk.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 25 April 2013.

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