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Research collaboration wins top research prize

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A study to help paramedics prepare for emergencies has won a national research prize. The study was jointly undertaken by the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office funded Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHPRU) at the University of Stirling.

Dr Edward Duncan (Senior Research Fellow, NMAHPRU), and David Fitzpatrick (Clinical Research Paramedic, SAS), carried out a national study to develop a prioritised vehicle equipment check-sheet (VECS) for use by paramedics in practice.

Dr Duncan explained: “despite equipment checks routinely being undertaken on a shift to shift basis there are occasions where ambulances need to respond to emergency calls before a full check can be completed.

“The prioritised nature of the VECS ensures that the most important items are checked first, so that ambulance clinicians can be confident that life-saving equipment is present and functioning, even if they are called to an emergency before a complete check can be carried out. The VECS system is now being introduced throughout the Scottish Ambulance Service and is also applicable to other emergency medical services.”

The winning paper won the top research prize at the 999EMS Research Forum, which was part of the recent Faculty of Pre-hospital Care Scientific Conference, held in Coventry.The prize pays for the research team to present their work at the equivalent conference in either the USA or Australia later this year.

Funding for the work came from the ongoing research collaboration between the Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit at the University of Stirling, and the Scottish Ambulance Service. This collaboration has been ongoing for over five years and has produced a number of significant practice, policy and research outcomes to the benefit of the Scottish Ambulance Service, and the people of Scotland and beyond.

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service, commented: “We are delighted that this unique project, which comes out of our partnership with the NMAHP Research Unit at the University of Stirling, has been recognised with an award. It is a great example of a research project that has resulted in a practical application across our operations, contributing to improved patient care.”

For further information, please email Dr Edward Duncan at:

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