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Eur J Emerg Med. 2013 Dec;20(6):387-90. doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0b013e32835c5394.

Capability of Scottish emergency departments to provide physician-based prehospital critical care teams: a national survey.

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  • 1aClinical Lead, Tayside Trauma Team bParamedic, Scottish Ambulance Service cFlight Paramedic, Scottish Ambulance Service dConsultant Paramedic, Scottish Ambulance Service eHead of Clinical Governance, Scottish Ambulance Service, Scotland, UK.



The aim of this study was to establish the current capabilities of emergency departments in Scotland to provide a prehospital medical team at the request of the ambulance service.


A prospective telephone survey of all major emergency departments in Scotland was conducted, requesting information on their ability to provide a prehospital team, the configuration of the team and the equipment, transport, training and governance arrangements for this service.


All 25 major emergency departments in Scotland responded to the survey (100% response). Eighteen departments (72%) were able to provide a prehospital team, with 15 (60%) able to provide a team 24 h/day. Team composition was variable and only one-third of teams were able to deploy within 15 min. In total, 50% of departments able to respond had received no requests in the preceding 12 months and only two departments had each received more than 50 requests. Less than half of the departments checked prehospital equipment on a weekly or a more frequent basis and only three departments provided ongoing training in prehospital care.


The majority of emergency departments in Scotland are able to provide a prehospital team on the request of the ambulance service. There is high variability in the composition and seniority of the team, with less ability to provide a team out of hours. With two notable exceptions, the overall activation of these prehospital teams is infrequent, and there are significant improvements required with regard to the clinical governance surrounding the provision of these teams.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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