Whilst gear is cool, it’s the networking that adds the heart and soul to these events. Meeting a bunch of enthusiastic and like-minded people in a country far far (or not so far, depending on your definition) away from home was invigorating and exciting. I’d been in touch with a couple of people virtually but had never actually met them in person before – what a better event to change this?
The first day I met up with Matthew Harris who runs HarrisCPD - a great site (not only for UK Paramedics) to keep on top of the fast evolving field of paramedicine. We explored the halls together for the day, chatted about a few different ideas and thoughts about the current paramedic environment in the UK, and Matthew even managed to sneak me in to his live podcasting of the event! Listen to it here. It was great to have someone to wander around and chat with, gave the whole day a much more relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Unfortunately Matthew could only come for the one day, but not to worry, there were still plenty of people and stands to visit, for example the College of Paramedics (read their review of the show here). I was also very excited to finally meet TJ (aka @meditude) in person, who then promptly ran away (maybe I should have combed my hair differently? Did I brush my teeth properly?). Alas, no, he was just off to give a lecture on Mental Health from a paramedics perspective, which brings us nicely to the Continuing Professional Development seminars:
Both the College of Paramedics and PhysioControl offered some very interesting (and well attended) CPD events both days. I attended the following (with some key points of interest)
- Mental Health for Paramedic Professionals: Not much training is provided to deal with patient suffering with mental health issues. Yet it is estimated that 10-20% of all calls in the UK have a component of mental health. A novel idea was proposed by TJ, the presenter: Specialist Mental Health Paramedics. We already have Paramedic Practitioners, Critical Care Paramedics – why not specialise in Mental Health? Some rudimentary calculations and thoughts from yours truly: Critical Care Paramedics are sent to really sick patients, but the call volume equates to approximately 2-3% of all calls. Given that mental health takes up a much larger chunk of call volume – surely one could argue a decent case for the introduction of such specialists? I think a trial is needed.
- Management of Minor Injuries: Presented by a long time Paramedic Practitioner (PP), an overview was given how PP’s have positively influenced healthcare in the UK. An interesting point made was to leave the patient with enough information if they are not conveyed to hospital – enter the Patient Information Leaflets (these are from the South West Ambulance Service). Great idea!
- Emergency Childbirth: A situation I’ve been in a couple of times, and a situation I dread again, again and again. I just don’t like it…but that doesn’t help, I need to keep refreshing my mind just in case I come in to such a situation again. Initially the course was cancelled as the midwife couldn’t make it – but then luckily last minute a Paramedic turned up and volunteered to fill in, as she had been a midwife in her previous career. Thank you!
- Dr Richar Lyon talked about Improving outcome from OHCA: The TOPCAT 2 project - the video is from Resuscitation 2012 on Vimeo. Watch the video, it’s very interesting what one can achieve by analysing the data, getting a structure and education framework in place to then achieve some really good improved results.
- Mark Whitbread, Consultant Paramedic with the London Ambulance Service (LAS), talked about 12 lead ECGs. Not my strongpoint, but the way he explained it de-mystified the whole approach nearly instantaneously. Impressive. Mark is also the man behind implementing true STEMI care within the LAS, a short video can be seen here.