Over the past two years, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has seen a 60% increase in the number of patients we have treated. This, we believe, is because of the patient advocacy enabled by our ‘Outreach’ project which has been instrumental in building trust, increasing knowledge and saving lives.

With a vision of being open, approachable and supportive, Outreach gives professionals and students alike, an opportunity to collaborate, reflect, learn and improve, all for the benefit of our patients. 

The project exists not only to forge and improve relations across the emergency services community, but also to inspire those caring for critically ill or critically injured patients to continue improving their practice and be given the foundation to pursue a career in pre-hospital critical care medicine.

Outreach is all about teamwork. It involves joint training days, presentations, group discussions, workshops and scenarios which explain and demonstrate the capabilities of our team. It encourages integration and communication and has forged collaborative working practices with many of our emergency services colleagues. This has enabled better decision making when tasking assets to assist a patient and helps a receiving hospital better prepare for a patients arrival.

Over the past year, Outreach has gone from strength to strength. Every member of our Clinical Team is an advocate of the project and their dedication, commitment and sheer determination has had an instrumental impact on saving lives and improving patient pathways. 

Immersive educational days have been created, enabling us to engage with many different organisations locally including: Universities, Community Responder Groups, Ambulance Service staff, young Lifeguards and students within the Paramedic, Medical and Nursing backgrounds. 

Collaborations have also been forged with our inter-agency colleagues (HM Coastguard Search and Rescue, Fire and Rescue Service, Police Firearms & HART Teams), many of which have included intense and challenging  simulated training exercises which help to identify the different ways of working and the type of equipment carried by all parties.

Engagement/Interaction

We recognise there is a vast skill mix which exists; from Control Centre Dispatchers and Volunteer Community First Responders, to experienced PHEM Doctors working with other air ambulances and all the Ambulance Service crews, Fire Service personnel and Police and Coastguard representatives to name a few.

The DSAA Critical Care Team have created a strategy of structured engagement events including talks at regional centres, joint training exercises at our Henstridge airbase and in different pre-hospital care environments. These are in addition to the invitation to attend our monthly Clinical Governance meetings and discuss cases with us so that we can learn together to improve patient care. 

Impact

In the past two years DSAA has had a 60% increase in the number of patients we have treated. This increase has occurred with no changes in the process of clinical tasking. Because of the patient advocacy enabled by Outreach, an additional 338 patients have benefitted from care delivered by Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.   

Last year, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance treated 648 patients. Of these, 82 patients received pre-hospital anaesthesia, 25 received pre-hospital blood products, 90 received advanced pain relief and 90 severely injured patients were stabilized and transferred to Major Trauma Centres. This highlights how Outreach has transformed patients’ access to critical care in Dorset and Somerset and by doing so has changed the life chances of those most seriously ill and injured in the region.

If you are one of our Emergency Services colleagues or student and would like to find out more about Outreach and how you can get involved, please email: [email protected]

You can also find out how Outreach is making a difference HERE