Working together to ensure safe adult critical care patient transfers across North East and North Cumbria

Working together to ensure safe adult critical care patient transfers across North East and North Cumbria

Ambulance staff have assisted with training doctors and nurses from hospitals across the North East region to support the transport of critically ill patients.

A team from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) spent the day at the Nightingale North East Hospital in Sunderland alongside senior clinicians from the North of England Critical Care Network (NoECCN) supporting 60 hospital staff on how to use a critical care trolley on board an ambulance.

The trolleys are custom built stretchers on wheels that carry specialist medical equipment needed to support a critically ill patient. These have been designed to a certain specification and include their own monitors, oxygen supply, syringe drivers, brackets for drips and battery packs. This allows patients to be moved from one hospital, into the back of an ambulance and then safely transferred to another hospital when required.

David Parkin, fleet operations manager at NEAS, said: “These critical care trolleys are designed to fit into our vehicles and, once plugged in, will run off all our ambulance systems while the crew and accompanying clinical staff are transferring the patient to the next hospital.

“They’re most often used when a patient deteriorates quickly in a hospital and needs to be transferred urgently to a specialist centre. Being able to train hospital staff helps to familiarise them with the capability and equipment we have in the back of our ambulances.”

Pre-pandemic, there were approximately 500 adult critical care transfers a year.

Lesley Durham, director and lead nurse of the north of England critical care network, said: “Patient safety is at the heart of our network. The ‘Training for Transfer’ course has been running for more than 15 years and has always enjoyed the support of NEAS staff. This is the second of several planned collaborative training events held at the Nightingale NE, which offers an amazing space, including an ambulance bay, to deliver hands-on training in a Covid-secure environment”.

This was one of four skills stations being held at the “training for transfer” course, delivered with colleagues from North East and Cumbria Transfer and Retrieval (NECTAR) team.

Lesley added: “The level of collaboration between partners and the enthusiasm and appreciation of participants is absolutely fantastic to see and we hope this will continue. Our grateful thanks go to all involved, particularly to clinical staff who give up their non-clinical time voluntarily and to whom we are indebted.”

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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