Members of CaHRU, Laura Simmons, Viet-Hai Phung and Prof Niro Siriwardena recently attended the annual 999EMS Research Forum conference, which took place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, NEC Birmingham, on 1-2 April 2019. This year’s theme was, ‘Advancing patient care: taking research to the front line’. Following workshops, focus groups as well as the drinks reception and dinner on the first day, the core of the conference took place on day 2. The morning session was chaired by Professor Niro Siriwardena. Of particular relevance for CaHRU was the talk given by Mark Dixon, a paramedic with East Midlands Ambulance Service, about the RIGHT-2 trial, in which we were involved.
Following the first morning session, delegates were given an opportunity to view posters. The second morning session was chaired by Janette Turner from the University of Sheffield. Johannes von Vopelius-Feldt from the University of the West of England presented on ‘The cost-effectiveness of prehospital critical care for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Of particular relevance was Ashra Khanom from the University of Swansea, who presented on the experiences of asylum seekers in Wales of accessing emergency health services. After the conclusion of the morning session, lunch was combined with oral poster presentations.
Laura presented part of her doctoral study on, ‘Understanding sickness absence in the ambulance service’ which used a cross sectional self-administered questionnaire to explore whether and to what extent variation in sickness absence could be explained by a range of independent variables of interest using multiple linear regression. Work and daily stress, coping styles, overtime hours and the presence of a health condition significantly predicted sickness absence (p = 0.002). Those with a pre-existing health condition were 10 times more likely, on average, to have a leave of sickness absence.
Viet-Hai Phung presented a poster on, ‘Ambulance attendance at diabetes or diabetes-related emergencies in care homes – cross sectional database study. This study, led by Niro Siriwardena, was funded by NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands and included a number of co-investigators from the University of Lincoln, East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, the Healthier Ageing Patient and Public Involvement Group at the University of Lincoln, Diabetes UK Midlands, University of Nottingham and University of Leicester including Prof Graham Law, Dr Murray D. Smith, Dr Mohammad Iqbal, Ann Spaight, Amanda Brewster Pauline Mountain, Keith Spurr, Prof Mo Ray, Dr Iskandar Idris and Prof Kamlesh Khunti. The study found that conveyance rates for people with diabetes-related emergencies similar for patients in care homes compared with community dwellers after taking into account other factors despite access to trained staff. This could be partly due to higher rates of comorbidity or frailty in care home patients. It was proposed that improved training and pathways might reduce conveyance in care home patients enabling safe care in usual environment.
In the afternoon session, Graham McClelland from North East Ambulance Service recounted his experience of travelling to the Paramedic Australasia conference, which was his reward for winning the 2018 prize for the best oral presentation. Professor Alicia O’Cathain, from the University of Sheffield also presented her work on variation in non-conveyance rates.
Prof Siriwardena also attended in his capacity as a member of the 999EMS Research Forum executive committee. There were furtehr keynote presentations from Prof Adrian Edwards (Cardiff), Dr Mike Smyth (Warwick) and Dr Sarah Black (South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust).
The conference concluded, as usual, with the prize giving ceremony. This year, Dr Johannes Vopelius-Feldt won the prize for the best oral presentation. As with Graham McClelland from the 2018 conference, his reward was a trip to the Paramedics Australasia conference.
By Viet-Hai Phung