HMC’s Emergency Medical Services Demonstrate Latest State-of-the-art Capabilities

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HMC’s Emergency Medical Services Demonstrate Latest State-of-the-art Capabilities

40 Critical Care Paramedics make up a highly trained team of experts providing specialist road and air assistance throughout Qatar

Doha, 24 November, 2010: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is showcasing its new Critical Care Paramedic Service which forms part of its world-class Emergency Medical Services (EMS), which in itself is a specialized medical discipline. The specialized service is made up of 40 highly trained Critical Care Paramedics (CCPs) who use a range of special rapid response vehicles, ambulances and the LifeFlight Aero-Medical Helicopters to deliver high quality critical care services throughout Qatar.

The team provides an essential service to Qatar and works 24 hours a day attending a variety of scenes such as traffic accidents, heart attacks and drownings. Working under a recently approved HMC Scope of Practice for CCP, the service provides advanced life saving procedures at the scene of the emergency and en route to hospital. The team uses the helicopters to ensure they can reach locations that are too far away for road vehicles to reach quickly and transport the patient to hospital safely. This specialized service has an obvious impact on survival and has been instrumental in saving many lives in the country.

EMS responds to approximately 150 emergency calls per day of which approximately 32% are potentially life-threatening. The CCPs respond to a subset of these patients providing critical care from the roadside to the hospital. They also undertake critical care of inter- hospital transfer of patients, where patients need to be transferred from one hospital to another to receive specialized treatment.

“We have found that demand for EMS is increasing by 10.4% per year and this has been the main impetus for Hamad to have invested significantly in enhancing our services in recent years. The achievements made are testimony to the fact that our emergency services are among the best in the region. This is a national service that we can be proud of in Qatar as it benefits all who live and work in this country,” said Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, Managing Director of HMC. “Our aim is to get an EMS response to life threatened patients within minutes of the call for help. Especially in critical cases, a timely response is essential and in order to achieve this we needed to enhance our systems to comply with such ambitious goals.”

Dr Robert Owen, Executive Director of EMS, explained the key milestones achieved this year: “The team has recently received training to harmonize their clinical practice to the needs of the people of Qatar. Coupled with investment in improved technology and equipment, this has helped us to become a world class service that is operated and maintained according to international best practice standards. Crucially, the improvements mean we will be able to save more lives.”

The Lifeflight Aero-Medical Helicopter service currently operates only during daylight hours - roughly from 06h00 to 18h00 (or when the sun sets). The arrival of new CCPs and the installation of new technology on the helicopter will mean that the service will soon be operational after sunset for the first time in its history. This will have a significant impact on the life-saving capabilities of our service, especially given that roads are often busier at night and the helicopter will be able to access patients further afield faster than any road-side assistance.

A live demonstration of first-aid techniques was arranged on the 24th November, which was attended by Dr Hanan Al Kuwari and hosted by Dr Robert Owen with members of his team. Guests were able to view the helicopter and rapid response vehicle more closely as well as speak to the multi-cultural CCP team that is made up of both male and female staff from Qatar, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

HMC Emergency Medical Service’s Facts

• Critical Care Paramedics (CCPs) are responsible for the delivery of pre-hospital critical care at the scene of an illness or injury, the most common being a road traffic accident, and en route to hospital. They generally respond to patients in rapid response vehicles of the Lifeflight helicopter, or specialist transfer ambulances. They provide immediate care at the scene as well as en route to a health care facility.

• Each unit is made up of a CCP and an Ambulance Paramedic. The CCP is fully trained in the field developed under their ‘Scope of Care’; whilst the Ambulance Paramedic has been given extra training in flight safety, navigation, medication and skill assistances.

• The team are a mix of nationalities and gender including Qatari, British, Australian, Canadian, South African and American. There are five female CCPs.

• The CCP program is being developed in such a way that it not only encourages but actively promotes all Qatar nationals to undertake the training required to work at this particular level. Qatar Emergency Medical Services is developing educational modules in collaboration with external training agencies to ensure that any Qatari wishing to work at this level has the opportunity to work hard and achieve this goal.

• Those wishing to work as CCPs are required to have at least two years clinical experience at critical care/intensive care paramedic level and be able to present a portfolio demonstrating recent critical care experience and, specifically, experience of drug-assisted endotracheal intubation.

• Qualifications relevant to being a CCP include:

o Baccalareus Technologiae Degree: Emergency Medical Care and registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as an Emergency Care Practitioner, or

o Advanced, National or Postgraduate University Diploma of Paramedical Science or equivalent, or

o National Diploma: Emergency Medical Care or National Diploma: Ambulance and Emergency Care and registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a paramedic and completion of a HMC EMS-approved internal or external RSI training program, or

o Intensive Care Paramedic or Critical Care Paramedic as recognized by a state or national body, or

o United States Department of Transport-accredited Critical Care Emergency Medical Technician – paramedic program.

• Critical Care Paramedics are not only required to undertake regular medical training but are also required to maintain a certain level of fitness and many are specialized in areas such as road rescue, confined space rescue and extrication.

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