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Paramedics can provide an effective alternative to standard ambulance service in the community
Date:10/5/2007

rvention group were almost 25% less likely to attend the emergency department or require hospital admission within 28 days. These patients also experienced a shorter total episode time by around 42 minutes.

Patients in the intervention group were also more likely to report being highly satisfied with their health care episode than those in the control group.

There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in terms of health outcomes and mortality 28 days after their initial episode.

Despite some study limitations, the authors conclude that this service conveyed significant benefits for patients and the NHS in terms of reduced overall emergency department and hospital attendances, shorter episode times and higher levels of patient satisfaction. The new service also appears to be safe in that they identified no difference in mortality or health outcomes after 28 days.

As pressure increases within the NHS to extend this type of approach, this trial will help to inform practice in this fast developing area, they add.

This trial shows that high quality study designs are feasible in this setting, says an accompanying editorial. Such trials should, therefore, be used to evaluate the more widespread emergency care practitioners scheme and other extended scope paramedic programmes before further costly expansions take place.


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
44-020-738-36529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Source:Eurekalert

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