David R HoggProfessional Profile
16 Jun 2017

When should GPs participate in emergency teams, and what is their contribution? 

Objectives: Together with fellow GPs we want to explore aspects of  GP participation in emergency teams.  We present research on the GPs’ key contributions, how decisions are made and how leadership is enacted.  Our ambition is to strengthen the awareness of the GP’s role as a primary care emergency team member.

Background: In 2010 a Norwegian study found that GPs are alerted in less than half or pre-hospital emergency incidents.  Furthermore, when alerted, the GPs choose to participate in less than half of the call-outs (Zakariassen & Hunskår 2010). White papers have called for increased GP participation in such incidents. Others, however, have questioned the utility of GP participation and suggested that patients may be better served by emergency medical technicians alone (Kindt et al 2013). Consistent with this view Norwegian GPs have reported lack of experience with common emergency procedures (Wisborg & Brattebø 2001).  However, recent focus group studies suggest that although their role may have changed, GPs still have an important role in the pre-hospital emergency incidents. (Hjortdahl et al 2014, 2016). For our workshop this will be the point of departure, as we share research and experiences relevant to the GP’s role as a team member. Based on a complete sample of emergency incidents in the island community Austevoll, Norway, Sverre Rørtveit was able to study the GP’s contribution in terms of practical skills and an overall ability to assess the seriousness of the situation.  In the municipality of Alta, Norway, Helen Brandstorp explored leadership and learning processes in team training sessions based on simulated emergency incidents. On the Island Arran on the west coast of Scotland numerous holidaymakers get injured during outdoor activities along the coast and in the high mountains.  Arran Resilience was formed to bring the coastguard, mountain rescue, police, fire and ambulance together for joint exercises, aiming to improve communication and teamwork (Hogg 2015).

Session Content:  We will start with a short onsite survey regarding the GPs’ role in emergency incidents, confidence in emergency medicine procedures and whether the GP would participate in hypothetical emergency call outs. We proceed with four short presentations:

– Triage during pre-hospital, emergencies – how do GPs decide? (Rørtveit)

– Confidence in emergency medicine procedures among GPs (Holte-Ambjørnsen)
– Leadership in the course of pre-hospital emergencies – what does it look like? (Brandstorp)
– Arran Resilience: Networking island emergency responders. (Hogg)

The session ends with feedback from the onsite survey, comparison with a recent survey of 1000 Norwegian GPs and a general discussion (Hjortdahl & Halvorsen).

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