AMBULANCE SERVICE’S SPECIALIST RESPONSE TEAM CELEBRATES TEN YEARS

Date: 16 August 2019

Set up in 2009 in response to the national terrorist threat, North West Ambulance Service’s (NWAS) Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) this year celebrates its tenth birthday.

Trained up to a national standard, the team of 84 experienced paramedics, split between two sites in Manchester and Liverpool, use specialist equipment and skills to safely access and treat patients in difficult and hazardous conditions.

NWAS was one of the first ambulance services to implement HART in the country. The team members are trained and equipped to safely work at heights, in confined spaces, in both swift and still water and use breathing apparatus, refreshing these skills every seven weeks.

Joe Barrett, Head of Special Operations for NWAS, said: “Prior to HART, ambulance clinicians would often have to stand back when faced with a hazardous incident and wait for specialist support from fire and rescue services or police for them to bring the patient back to a place of safety.

“By providing specialist paramedics with the training and equipment to be able to risk assess and manoeuvre through difficult and hazardous environments, they are now able to access patients at the point of injury so that life-saving medical intervention can begin immediately. They can then continually manage the patient’s condition to avoid further injury whilst partner agencies provide the rescue element.”

In a large scale or major incident, the team is able to quickly identify the most seriously injured patients, prioritising and treating those patients in need of help the quickest. HART paramedics are then able to relay back information regarding the situation and size of the required ambulance response to control as well as set up a casualty collection point and provide life-saving clinical early interventions. 

By training and exercising with their emergency services colleagues, they are able to plan and prepare for major incidents, creating strong and effective working relationships and providing a streamlined and strategic response to complex situations.

Joe continues: “Over the last ten years, the team has gone from strength to strength. The constant training the paramedics undergo, along with the equipment they use, is second to none and has proven to be life-saving on numerous occasions.

 “Using their unique problem solving skills, teamwork and co-ordination, they are able to keep calm under pressure and apply their skills and training to help patients in a wide-range of unexpected and difficult situations.

“I am extremely proud of the whole team, they work together amazingly, knowing each other’s individual strengths and supporting each other after difficult incidents, they’re like one big family!”

Introducing its second fleet of high-specification vehicles in December 2018, the team has advanced equipment and technology which allows the paramedics to set up their own communications network in remote locations, provide an ongoing response over days and months if necessary and travel over difficult terrain.

HART is primarily reserved for complex, large scale or major incidents such as serious road traffic collisions or entrapments. The team will respond to incidents were the patient would benefit from additional skills and equipment or if additional assistance is required.

Notable incidents in recent years include major flooding in Cumbria and Greater Manchester as well as gas explosions, rescues from cranes, the Manchester Arena attack and the Bosley Mill explosion.

Outside of responding to emergencies, the team members keep busy making sure that their equipment is fully compliant, their clinical skills are refreshed and they are kept up to date on key changes nationally and within the trust. They also undertake regular fitness tests and often attend community events promoting the work of the ambulance service.

Recognition of the best performing emergency medical technicians – the GVK EMRI way

Published in Autumn 2018 Edition of Ambulance Today Magazine

As of July 2018, GVKEMRI is operating in 14 states and two Union Territories in India, with about 19,000 EMTs and ambulance drivers known as ‘Pilots’. In such a large, non-profit organisation with nearly 26,000 emergencies being responded to on a daily basis, recognizing the best performing EMTs is an essential prerequisite. 

The quality of case-handling and pre-hospital care is a special area of focus. Real-time documentation, study, research, analysis, recommendations based on real-time cases are also of prime importance. This will allow timely feedback and appreciation of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Pilots (ambulance drivers) in the field with regards to the administration of necessary pre-hospital care measures. The Best Case selection committee at the state level are a group comprising of representatives from the medical department, operations team and HR departments. Best cases are published in a monthly periodical titled EMCARE both at the state level and national levels.

Based on the pre-determined selection criteria, two cases from each district are considered at the first stage for the best case of the month. Cases are gathered through a nomination process. Wide publicity is given to the best-case process amongst the work force at the ambulance level and supervisory level group meetings etc. EMTs and Pilots report cases to their district manager within 24 hours of case-handling. 

Best case selection criteria are as follows: 

• Case Nature – Critical / Serious/ Unique / Challenging

• Appropriate patient assessment protocol followed 

• Emergency Response Centre Physicians (ERCP) medical direction (Online Medical Direction – OLMD) obtained 

• Essential pre-hospital care provided 

• Precise (complete and correct) documentation of the case – voice log at state level Emergency Response Centre (ERC)/ Pre-hospital Care Record (PCR)/ photograph depicting the pre-hospital intervention 

• Patient alive in 48-hour follow-up • Optimal arrival time to scene 

• Optimal (justified to the judgment of the committee) on- scene time 

• Proper ongoing assessment 

The role of the Pilot (ambulance driver) is assessed for best cases, in terms of safe driving measures, required support to EMT in provision of scene safety, and appropriate photography depicting the pre-hospital care interventions with consent of the patient, without disturbing the services and facilitating anonymization (i.e. covering the eyes). 

Such cases selected from each state are published in the monthly state level EMCARE magazine. Each case will have a brief description of the emergency, a photograph taken while pre-hospital care was being rendered, a media clipping (if published) and accounts of the EMTs & Pilots in handling such a case. 

Timelines are fixed from the process of selection to publishing in the state level EMCARE magazine and a compilation of best cases from month-to-month from the districts, as well as the objectively-selected state level best case as per the selection committee. Cases from 26th of the month to the 25th of the following month will qualify for the current selection process. The monthly periodical is published on the 15th of the month. The EMCARE awards ceremony takes place on the 20th of the month. At the state level, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Regional Managers will preside over the EMCARE award ceremony.

The Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Department will circulate the monthly periodical to all national, state, district-level stakeholders, visitors and key government personnel. 

At the national level, state level best cases are compiled by a single point of contact before the 25th of the month. Every aspect of the completeness and correctness of the cases are validated at the state level SPOC for best case and EMCARE magazine. Medical team members from the Emergency Medicine Learning Centre will coordinate with the national best case committee – a broad-based committee with at least seven members selected from various states of HR, Operations and Medical Teams.

All the cases which are selected at the national level are given the 108 Saviour of GVKEMRI India award at the quarterly ‘National Review Meeting’ at the main office of GVKEMRI by the Chairman of the GVK Foundation. Awardees also receive a medal, a certificate of appreciation and a cash reward for both the EMT and Pilot of the ambulance.

The rewards and recognition process by the organization is one of several sources of recognition towards ambulance staff. At the national festivals days, like Independence Day, in most of the districts best-performing EMTs and Pilots also receive special awards from the District Magistrate for their services beyond the call of duty.

Social recognitions the EMTs and Pilots get from the communities they serve are over and above the formal recognitions they obtain from the organisation. At the end of the day, EMTs work with enhanced professional zeal and passion after receiving recognition. 

To find out more about GVK EMRI visit their website at: www.emri.in

Emergency Medicine Education in The DRC

Author: Michael Emmerich

Published in: Winter 2017 Edition of Ambulance Today Magazine

The Africa Quarterly editorial discusses the challenges facing emergency medicine educators in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC is the second largest country on the African continent with a population of almost 80 million. It is a major crossroad through Africa as it borders nine countries. The DRC continues to experience current political and social instability, as it has over its chequered past; and active fighting is still prevalent in certain regions today. The last two decades of conflict, mainly in the North-Eastern regions, has devastated the civilian population and led to the collapse of the healthcare infrastructure.

Government expenditure on health per capita remains one of the lowest in the world and Emergency Medicine has yet to be established as a specialty in the DRC. While most hospitals have emergency rooms or salle des urgences, this designation is more in name than an actual ER room; many have no standardised format, no recognised emergency medical equipment and they are rarely staffed by doctors or nurses with hardly any trained in emergency care. Lack of formal, structured training,lack of (emergency) equipment and fee- for-service for all patients entering the healthcare system are cited as barriersto care. Pre-hospital care is also not an established specialty, with no EMT colleges, ambulances being a rarity and no outside major centres. Where there are ambulances they are at best staffed by a nurse or just a driver with no medical training.

The 39 nationally-recognised medical schools, most of which are in urbanareas, are typically underfunded and all medical studies including residency arefully self-funded. There has been a recent proliferation of technical schools (more than 500) which offer varied levels of medical training. These institutes are not regulated, open without official approval and often operate as for-profit enterprises. Few students from any of the schools can spend the required years in clinical rotations due to a lack of participating hospitals. The overall result is an education of doubtful quality. There is currently no dedicated emergencycare training integrated into medical or graduate schools.

A comprehensive study was undertaken1, jointly by the DRC Government and various international role players. Key findings ofthis 2012 report by USAID and Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) noted the barriers to learning were as follows, including inadequate quality of health worker education:

• Lack of budget for maintenance and renovation of the existing infrastructures.

• Limited number of opening hours of libraries, skills labs and other infrastructures to students and teachers.

• Insufficient support of stakeholders including government and development partners regarding funding for construction.

• Insufficient budget for renovation of existing infrastructure.

• Lack of anatomic models in skills labs.

• Insufficient budget for purchasing basic materials and consumables that are necessary for clinical practice without necessarily relaying on what is found in clinical training sites.

• Inadequate system supply of books and other learning materials

• Lack of policy and budget for using the internet and computers in schools to encourage students and teachers to access information.

Although the report focuses on nurses and midwives, it must be stated that they serve at the frontline of most medical emergencies in the field and in hospitals and clinics. Therefore, the challenges they face in learning, will impact severely ontheir ability to work in an emergency medicine environment; added to the fact that emergency medicine is not part of their recognised curriculum.

I have been travelling and working in The DRC since 1999, across various provinces and regions, primarily teaching at a BLS, ILS and ALS level, (both pre- and in-hospital facilitating) and doing clinical governance and medical project management, so I can attest to the challenges. Short courses such as ACLS, PALS, ITLS, ATLS etc. which form the backbone of annual refresher training for many emergency medicine practitioners is relatively unknown, and only presentedin a few regions of The DRC by training providers from other countries.

I have been travelling and working in The DRC since 1999, across various provinces and regions, primarily teaching at a BLS, ILS and ALS level, (both pre- and in-hospital facilitating) and doing clinical governance and medical project management, so I can attest to the challenges. Short courses such as ACLS, PALS, ITLS, ATLS etc. which form the backbone of annual refresher training for many emergency medicine practitioners is relatively unknown, and only presentedin a few regions of The DRC by training providers from other countries.

References:

1. Assessment of Nursing and Midwifery Education and Training Capacity at Seven Training Institutes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2012)

Access the full report at: http://files.icap. columbia.edu/nepi/files/uploads/DRC._Needs_ assessment._2012.pdf

Tell Michael what you think about this article by emailing him at: mikesnexus@gmail.com

Cartwright cares

The company putting the customer at the heart of its innovative ambulance conversions

It’s been just two years since Steve Shaw took over as Commercial and Operations Director at the renowned British vehicles manufacturer Cartwright Conversions. It’s hard to believe that so much has already been achieved in such a short time. Below we take a look at some innovative new additions to the Cartwright portfolio and catch up with Steve as he tells us about how Cartwright is staying at the cutting edge of ambulance engineering by ensuring that the focus of their design and build is on creating a 21st century patient treatment space which meets the needs of increasingly highly-skilled frontline ambulance crews – and all this while maintaining their commitment to putting the customer first!

Vehicles built to meet specific clinical needs

Steve Shaw explains: “At Cartwright we are constantly designing and redesigning and trying to develop new products. Our team of engineers are the key to what we do.”

The vehicle needs of emergency services differ greatly to that of the general population, and as such, the design and engineering that goes into an ambulance conversion needs to be bespoke to each service’s needs. Cartwright’s account managers and engineers work closely with their customers, from the design stage right through to the final sign-off, making sure that the end-result fully meets their customer’s unique clinical needs. It’s this careful and dedicated approach to their quality products and aftercare that keeps Cartwrightcustomers so loyal to them as manufacturers.

The range of options available is vast and Cartwright manufactures:

•   Frontline A&E

•   RRV/FRV (Rapid/Fast response units)

•   High Dependency Ambulances

•   Neonatal/Paediatric Ambulances

•   PPV (Paramedic Practitioner Vehicle)

•   ECP (Emergency Care Practitioner)

•   Control Vehicles

•   Special Incident Units

•   Mountain Rescue Vehicles

•   PTS (Patient Transport Services)

•   Specialist and Custom Applications

•   Hire Fleet

Manchester Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace. Commercial photography, car, automotive, aviation, truck, engineering and parts photography

PTS Vehicles

Like many countries, Britain’s demographic is increasingly comprised of an ageing population making the provision of patient transport vehicles more important than ever. PTS vehicles come with a wide-range of options, from specialist bariatric capabilities, light-weight floors and accessibility ramps. If it doesn’t exist yet Cartwright’s team are always up for the challenge of identifying and building the design solution presented by their customer’s individual requirement. Cartwright’s larger PTS vehicles have the option of a High Dependency Unit (HDU) or seated stretcher, while smaller vehicles like the Ford Connect and Custom offer great wheel-chair accessibility within a more modestly-sized vehicle. Cartwright PTS vehicles have the option of a range of loading solutions, from tail-lift to ramps; exclusive flexible flooring systems (see RolliBox below); a variety of base vehicles from a range of suitable vehicle makes/models and wheelbases; and unaided patient entry options including folding side door hand rails.

Full Wipe Down for Improved Infection Control

An important clinical innovation in ambulance builds is the introduction of full wipe down panel sets designed to improve infection control throughout the vehicle by making cleaning easier and more thorough. Cartwright ambulances have smooth, crevice-free interiors, with waterproof finishes that can be cleaned easily to reduce the risk of infection. It’s also important that ambulance interiors are robust enough to keep driver and passengers safe with no equipment becoming loose.

Hire Fleet

Cartwright’s fleet of hire vehicles continues to be a huge success with over 30 vehicles running at around 90% utilisation and further plans to build an additional 45 in the coming financial year. The fleet ranges from small WAV (wheel-chair accessible vehicles) to larger HDUs. One massive advantage of hiring a vehicle directly from such a well-established British manufacturer as Cartwright’s is the resource of after-care maintenance. Vehicles that are hired enjoy the support of both of their build facilities, as well as the support of teams of expert engineers from all over the UK where specialist parts needed urgently can quickly be provided for any Cartwright’s vehicle. No matter where you are in the UK, if you’re driving a Cartwright’s hire vehicle you’re never left on your own.

The Cartwright Team

As such a long-established and well-trusted brand, Cartwright not only attracts loyal customers but also the cream of the crop of the British ambulance build industry. Veterans of the industry will quickly recognise names such as Sales Managers Toby Carter and David Kenyon, Hire Fleet Manager Angela Walker and Quality & Aftercare manager Ian Schofield – to name but a few! Quality recognises quality, and it’s no wonder that so many of the sector’s best and brightest end up at Cartwright. Apart from its innovative range of new vehicles, its world-beating engineering and its unique level of aftercare, what is it that really sets Cartwright Conversions apart from the competition? Steve Shaw insists: “At Cartwright we care! I really believe that. Cartwright really is here to do the right thing. The Cartwright group has been around for over 60 years and we will certainly be around for a long time to come. Our customers truly have confidence in what we are doing and at the end of the day, I think that’s what really matters.”

The RolliBox System

A great example of Cartwright’s continued innovation in the PTS market is the RolliBoxSystem, a seating system produced by German manufacturer, Schnierle, and sold exclusively for the PTS market in the UK by Cartwright Conversions.

The system for PTS vehicles has space for a stretcher, multiple wheelchairs and seated passengers. The layout can be quickly changed on the move without the need to take out seats or use a toolkit. Restraints for each wheelchair are concealed within side panels that can be easily unfolded at floor level. When wheelchairs are not being used, these restraints tuck back away making room for a stretcher or additional passenger seats, all of which can be done in seconds. Head rests and seatbelts can be found at each of the wheelchair positions making this seating system one of the safest and efficient available.

The flexibility of the RolliBox system opens up the potential of PTS vehicles to accommodate many different seating arrangements, potentially reducing the number of journeys needed and therefore contributing to a more efficient and cost-effective ambulance fleet.

To learn more about Cartwright Conversions and their innovative range of vehicles, please visit their website: www.cartwrightconversions.co.uk

Till death do us part

Author: Thijs Gras

Published in: Spring 2018 Edition of Ambulance Today Magazine

In one of my earlier columns (Spring 2017) I wrote about an undesirable development in the Netherlands in the domain of integration of control rooms and the strong ‘blue’ (police) influence in this respect. A recent interesting court case shines new light on my point and will certainly raise eyebrows (and mouth corners) with a number of colleagues.

Suppose you are a nurse working in the control room and an emergency call comes in. You talk to the caller and send an ambulance to what later turns out to bea crime scene: a woman is murdered and the caller – her ex-husband – is suspected to be the perpetrator. The police are very interested in this call and think they have the right to listen to it and, out of decency, ask the ambulance service for the recording. But to the utter disappointment of the police, the ambulance service refuses to hand over the call to them stating this is a matter of patient confidentiality. The police go to court but the court rules that the ambulance service is right and is not required to hand over the call. But this is murder! Surely this is important enough to violate the professional confidentiality of the nurse?

The police then appeal to the High Court. The ruling of this court – the highest we have in our country, so its decision is final and there are no further appeal options – is very interesting: they confirm the verdictof the lower court. The key point is patient confidentiality and the fact that the caller spoke to a certified nurse who has a duty to professional secrecy.

An important issue that is raised in this particular case is that of the two conflicting interests that oppose each other. On the one side it is in the interest of the police to find the truth, to conduct an inquiry and to bring culprits to justice. Everybody will agree this is a very important interest.

But on the other hand, there is the interest of – in this case – the ambulance service (but it could also have been a doctor or nursein the A&E department) that everybody should be able to call for emergency medical help no matter what the circumstances are and without fear that the call, or anything that is said to the medical caregiver, will have juridical consequences.

Both courts have been very clear in their ruling and I completely agree with them: patient confidentiality almost always prevails over finding the truth. In one of our laws about the medical profession it is stated very clearly that if one of the professionals mentioned in the law (such as doctors and nurses) is convinced that information given to him or her as a professional, specificallyif it is confided as secret or the professional can guess it is confidential, the professional can call upon the right of non-disclosure. Only in very rare and special cases can a doctor or registered nurse be forced to break this right.

I am glad and relieved because this meansI am better protected on the streets. Not against knives and bullets of course, but our neutrality and trust that everything we do is in our patient’s interest is a key point in our safety and security. This is why I am so critical about the growing influence of the police in our control rooms. I sincerely hope we as an ambulance service work well with the police on the street; we may share, on the control room level, buildings or even rooms but we must be very careful to keep everything elseseparate so that we as professional nurses can use our right of non-disclosure. This is not only important in individual cases forthe persons involved, but on a broader scale, for the trust of the public in the ambulance service and therefore for the safety of ambulance personnel. Any association with the police should be avoided.

Of course, we as ambulance people need the police for our safety and to protect us. They are the only ones in our society (apart from the military) who are allowed to use violence. They have the training and the means. That is okay. We both want to help people in need, but we both have our interests and sometimes these interests differ or even conflict with each other.

We tend to look at the emergency services in colours: white for the ambulance, blue for the police and red for the fire brigade. But what do you get when you mix these colours? An ugly sort of light brown. If we paint with this colour we get a very dull, inexpressive painting. If we want to createa beautiful and harmonious picture, it is far better to use the separate colours. Together, but distinct. That is the best way to serve the interests of the personnel and of the people we serve, in our case patients.

Increasing numbers of ambulance staff seek help from TASC

Published in: Autumn 2018 Edition of Ambulance Today Magazine

TASC The Ambulance Staff Charity is handling a near ve-fold increase in the number of ambulance personnel being referred or turning to it for help. TASC provides independent and confidential services which include psychological rehabilitation and counselling, including stress and PTSD support; physical rehabilitation; financial grants; debt advice; and welfare and bereavement support. 

Angie Crashley, TASC Support Services Manager

During the first year of operating, from April to December 2015, TASC dealt with a total of 59 cases, of which eight per cent involved mental health difficulties. However, so far in 2018, TASC has received 273 cases – a near five-fold increase – and more than eight in ten (84 per cent) relate to mental health problems of one kind or another.

TASC now has plans to take to the road to make more people aware of the support available to present and past ambulance staff and their families. The charity will use its new vehicles to travel across the country later this year to visit staff from both the NHS and independent sectors and share how it can support them at their time of need.

Angie Crashley, TASC’s Support Services Manager, said: “We have seen an increase of about 360 per cent in the number of cases we deal with from 59 in our first year in 2015 to 273 so far this year. 

“This is important news for the charity as it means that people know we are here for them and shows that there is a need for what we provide. We want our services and support to be as accessible as possible to both NHS staff and those in the independent sector, and the roadshows will help us to get the message out there.”

The roadshows will be run by a team of people including a TASC staff member, a debt advisor to help those struggling with financial difficulties, and a counsellor from The Red Poppy Company specialising in trauma support who will be able to offer on-site advice to anyone in immediate need. 

Angie and the team are also considering what other areas the roadshows might cover, which could include support for people dealing with the suicide of a friend or family member and welfare benefits advice. 

There will also be a range of information available for people to take away with them so they can learn more about the services on offer and how to get in touch if anyone needs TASC’s help. 

Angie added: “When we started in 2015 there was very little we could do for those who came to us with mental health difficulties. But we now have a number of different strands such as residential physical and psychological rehabilitation, and locally-based counselling with the help of The Red Poppy Company. 

“We have also provided additional funding to various staff member’s employers in order to continue their counselling should they need it.” As well as the increase in ambulance staff requiring support for mental health issues, there has also been a rise in cases of people seeking help for domestic abuse. 

All in all, TASC is currently receiving between five and eight new referrals a day. 

Angie finished: “The cases are more complex now. Someone with mental health problems may be facing financial issues as well, for example. And if someone has been physically injured, their mental health can also suffer”. 

“Everyone is treated individually and in total confidence – we don’t try to place anyone in boxes. It’s about getting the best long-term outcome for individuals – we don’t look to provide short-term sticking plaster remedies.” 

For more information about TASC’s support services call the TASC Support line on
0800 1032 999 or email: 
support@theasc.org.uk

Alternatively, you can make general enquiries on 0247 7987 922, 

email: enquiries@theasc.org.ukor visit www.theasc.org.uk.

For regular updates, follow TASC on Twitter (@TASCharity) and Facebook (@TASC The Ambulance Staff Charity). 

Family-run Harrogate company works with region’s ambulance service

Date: 14 August 2019

Harrogate-based Yorkshire Care Equipment has supplied Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) with over 50 Raizer emergency lifting chairs that are now being used by first responders, falls teams and care homes in the Sheffield area.

YAS and NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have started a project in the city that aims to get people who have fallen back on their feet as soon as possible. The Raizer chairs are part of this joint project which provides staff with appropriate lifting equipment and focuses on residents having an improved experience. The results will be shared with other ambulance services, some of which are also trialling the equipment.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service responds to nearly 800,000 emergencies every year with around 10% of these related to people who have fallen. Many of these calls come from care homes where staff are either physically unable to lift the person back to their feet or are unable to do so because of lack of training and access to appropriate equipment.

Karen Owens, Director of Urgent Care and Integration at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:

“Feedback from the care home staff and residents in the project described the Raizer chair as something which will help staff move people safely and with dignity and will give staff the confidence to assess injury prior to making the decision to moving someone. 

“We very much appreciate the collaborative working and funding provided by the CCG on this project.”

The Raizer is completely unique from other falls lifting products because it only takes one carer to operate it. In turn, this saves money and time for care staff.

Steve Ellis, Yorkshire Care’s Raizer Specialist, said:

“When we worked with YAS last year, we knew that the Raizer could make a real difference to the level of care they were providing. Even when I’ve carried out training with their staff, you can see how much more confident the staff feel when they know they have a device that will genuinely improve the quality of care they provide.”


Special Message from Israel’s Deputy Health Minister

Author: M.K. Yakov Litzman

Published in: Summer 2018 Edition of Ambulance Today Magazine

M.K. Yakov Litzman, Deputy Minister of Health for Israel on Magom David Adom 

Magen David Adom is Israel’s National EMS and Blood Services Organisation as declared in the 1950 MDA law. MDA started out from humble roots 88 years ago with a single ambulance-style response in Tel Aviv, and now, along with the State of Israel that has just celebrated its 70th Independence Day, MDA has a great deal of which to be proud. It is Israel’s National EMS Provider, both in times of peace and war, which has the responsibility of preparing and responding to all kinds of emergencies. It is also a leading educator of both the general public as well as a wide variety of health care professionals, and is Israel’s largest volunteer organisation. 

MDA’s Paramedics and EMTs, who consist of more than 25,000 people, including all the first-responders’ organizations, are amongst the most highly trained and qualified in the world, providing professional and efficient pre-hospital emergency medical care to the millions of citizens in Israel, along with those visiting this special country. 

Magen David Adom instils the value of volunteering starting with the very young and through to the very old. MDA’s volunteers are a major driving force, learning the importance of life-saving skills, providing them to the public and then teaching these skills to others. It is a never-ending chain of survival. 

The State of Israel is proud that MDA is its representative both at home and abroad, having provided humanitarian aid at scenes of several natural disasters such as in Nepal or the Philippines and even in the USA. MDA has sent rescue teams to scenes of terror across the world too; both aiding local communities as well as repatriating Israelis back home. MDA has also provided Mass Casualty Incident training to many other organisations across the world and is recognised as a global leader on the subject. 

Alongside the provision of emergency pre-hospital care, Magen David Adom collects, processes and provides almost all of Israel’s blood and blood components, potentially saving three lives with every unit of blood that is collected. In this way, many more members of the community become a vital link in saving the lives of others. 

Magen David Adom is the pride of Israel – it is a showcase of its people, its technology and medical capabilities, and of its volunteer spirit. The Israeli Health Ministry appreciates and applauds Magen David Adom for all that it does to save lives, both here in Israel and across the world. 

With high esteem, 

Yours sincerely, 

M.K. Yakov Litzman 

Deputy Minister of Health, Israel 

Standing Guard At Jerusalem’s Crossings

Date: 2 June 2019

Jerusalem, June 2nd, 2019 – A new project has been taking place over the past few weeks in Jerusalem. During the hot days of Ramadan, United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs have been asked to join Israel’s border police and the military police in safeguarding the passage of Palestinians entering into Israel at two Jerusalem crossings, Kalandia and the 300 crossing by Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem. 

The request was initiated by the police in an effort to have a fully trained and equipped medical responder on hand at the checkpoint due to the heat of the past few weeks. The purpose of the additional personnel at the checkpoint was to safeguard the Palestinians who were crossing into Jerusalem should any of them suffer from the heat or the fast or a combination of both.

For the past few weeks, United Hatzalah volunteers have been on hand and treated numerous Palestinians at the checkpoint who were suffering from a variety of illnesses. This past Friday, the injuries included an asthma attack, high blood pressure, dehydration, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

“The crossings into Jerusalem are incredibly efficient now and Palestinians wishing to cross into Jerusalem are usually in and out relatively quickly,” said Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah Dov Maisel. “We were asked to help provide medical coverage to the crossings should a medical emergency occur due to the fast of Ramadan, and the heat that Israel has experienced these past few weeks. We provide the first medical response and then if needed request an ambulance to transport the patient if needed.” 

Maisel said that just before Ramadan, United Hatzalah volunteers had responded to a cardiac arrest case at the 300 crossing and it was at this point that the Military Police began to ask whether or not the organization could send volunteers to be stationed at the crossings on a permanent basis during Ramadan and the days following during peak hours on Fridays, the  holiest day of the week for  Muslims.

“We were more than happy to help in this matter. Helping people stay safe and providing initial medical response is what United Hatzalah is all about. This is our mission and our volunteers were more than happy to jump at the chance to help with this important matter of safeguarding the lives of those who want to enter the city during their holiday,” Maisel concluded.

United Hatzalah volunteers have been stationed at the crossings for the past few weeks and will continue to provide emergency medical coverage again this coming Friday.   

Air Ambulance doctor receives OBE

Date: 11 June 2019

Doctor Kevin Fong, a doctor with the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex, has been awarded an Order of the British Empire in this year’s Queen’s Honours List.

He has been awarded the OBE for his ‘Services to healthcare and medicine’.

Dr Fong is the third member of the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex team to be recognised for their work by Her Majesty the Queen. Earlier recipients for ‘Services to emergency medicine’ include Medical Director Malcolm Russell, who was awarded an MBE in 2014, and Associate Medical Director, Professor Richard Lyon, presented with an MBE in 2017.

Dr Fong joined the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex in 2014 as part of the crew providing around-the-clock pre-hospital emergency services. When not at Redhill, the air ambulance’s base, he works at University College Hospital in London where he specialises in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine.

His interest in high risk, high reliability systems, and organisations, began after graduating with degrees in Astrophysics, Medicine and Engineering, during which he spent time working with NASA’s human space exploration programme at Johnson Space Center, Houston.

He is also an honorary senior lecturer in physiology and was very recently appointed as Professor of Public Engagement for Science, Technology & Medicine at University College London.

Commenting on the award, Dr Fong said: “I was utterly bewildered to hear the news of this award.

“It’s one that I genuinely never expected but it’s a lovely surprise. I’d like to accept it on behalf of all the brilliant teams I’ve worked with, but especially the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex family who are a particularly important part of my life. This award represents everybody’s success.”

Dr Helen Bowcock, Chair of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex, added: “We congratulate Kevin, who along with our doctors, paramedics and pilots, does an amazing job every time the helicopter takes off on a mission, providing lifesaving treatment often in the most extreme of circumstances.”

Dr Fong, aged 47, qualified as a doctor in 1998 and lives in London.