Two years ago the National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) was approached by the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to discuss an opportunity for research into the stocks of equipment held by ambulance trusts for use in the event of mass casualty incidents.
This was an area with very little evidence and also little opportunity for study of the requirements for these incidents.
It was agreed that SAS and NARU would both collaborate with the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professional Research Unit (NMAHPRU) based at the University of Stirling to facilitate a Delphi Study to look at these requirements. SAS provided a part-time Research Paramedic, Keith Colver, and NARU provided Medical Director John Stephenson as part of the study team led by Eddie Duncan, Senior Research Fellow from NMAHPRU.
A Delphi Study is a process where a group of experts seek consensus through a series of questionnaires. In this study emergency planners and pre-hospital clinicians from ambulance, military and NHS hospital environments (including some worldwide experts) formed the expert group.
Says John Stephenson: “In effect it is like a committee having repeated meetings until they have all agreed whether they need or do not need an item of equipment, but as the study covered over 200 items it was a process managed electronically with web-based voting which can help reduce bias.”
The results of the study have now been peer reviewed and published on the free open-access platform at Biomed Central and the results used at a Consensus Conference held in September 2013 to refine this list for items that did not reach consensus.
The revised list of equipment requirements is being used in the planning for future equipment procurement in both Scotland and England.
For more details contact John Stephenson.