In April 2019, our practitioners took to the road by car in a bid to take outreach to a new level...

An innovative five-month trial tested the effect of a regular, dependable, highly visible and accessible additional resource for community first responders, ambulance crews, other emergency services and hospital staff in the Dorset area.

An outreach car operated seven days a week between the hours of 10.00am until 10.00pm and for the purposes of the trial, provided outreach in the East Dorset region, but was available for dispatch to a much wider area if needed. The HEMS desk were able to utilise the outreach car if they determined the need for an enhanced care response to support critically ill or injured patients. Local ambulance crews also knew this additional clinical support was available to them.

The impact of the trial was significant in not only promoting our critical care capability to the wider emergency services community, but also in building close working relationships with all involved. When attending incidents alongside our colleagues, we were able to work together, support each other, educate and mentor within the pre-hospital environment, which has built trust and empowered others to call for critical care as early as possible. Our team also visited ambulance stations, universities and hospitals to answer questions, increase the understanding of our critical care capability and discuss the process for time-critical inter-hospital transfers.

During the duration of the outreach car trial, we treated 202 patients. Of these, 43% were ground escorted to hospital by our team. Our normal air and road-based critical care service continued during this time, treating a further 334 patients. This represents a very significant increase in advocacy for patients and families within the region.

Given the significant benefits of the trial, it is no surprise that our practitioners continue to deliver the outreach car service today between the hours of 10.00am and 10.00pm. Furthermore, we are now building the DSAA clinical team to enable a Somerset outreach car to also be provided.

NEXT: Preventing people from becoming patients