IN all the discussion about the location of various hospital services to ensure that patients receive the best possible treatment, it is rare for the role of the ambulance service to be mentioned; but they are the key.
For many years when I was a Westminster MP in the 2000s, I presented the annual Ambulance Services Institute’s awards and I was always impressed by the level of knowledge and high degree of skill among paramedics.
Their diagnostic skills are on a par with doctors and nurses and they are backed up by modern equipment which allows them to stabilise and treat patients while they are being taken to the medical unit best suited to treat their condition. Many hold degrees in emergency medicine. They are more important in ensuring survival in emergency care than the distance or time it takes to reach hospital.
Everyone taking part in the debate on the provision of health services needs to be aware of advances in emergency medicine so that rational decisions are taken to deliver high quality care in units with outstanding survival rates wherever they are situated.