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Homelessness: implications for paramedic practice

  • February 2019

Key facts on homelessnessThe full extent of homelessness and rough sleeping in the UK is difficult to describe. Homelessness is recorded differently in each nation, and not all homeless people show up in official statistics. However, it is clear that homelessness and rough sleeping have been increasing substantially since a low point between 2009 and 2010.Statutory homelessness statistics reported that the local authorities in England had duty to accommodate just over 59 000 households in...

What is the long-term plan?

What is the long-term plan?

Acash- and resource-strapped NHS, repeatedly tasked with finding tens of billions in efficiency savings, and where funding gaps and cuts (alongside a rising demand) seems to have become a norm over the last decade. Now as we approach Brexit without any sign of a deal, a whole new string of problems are on the horizon for health care, health professionals and the patients you serve.

What is your ‘normal’?

What is your ‘normal’?

I'm not convinced that a week can be normal when working in health care. The potential for an unusual or unexpected situation, outcome or presentation is ever present. In my previous column, I proffered that there is something comforting about the feeling of normality. Perhaps then, we attempt to comfort ourselves with thoughts of the mythical normal week? Is it perhaps possible that we have normalised the unusual? I suspect most of us still relish the diversity and variation associated with a...

Ignorance isn't bliss: behind the unequal distribution of end-of-life demand and cost

Ignorance isn't bliss: behind the unequal distribution of end-of-life demand and cost

Variance in deaths and pressureClearly, some areas have more deaths than others, and Figure 1 shows the distribution of deaths per 1000 population across local government areas in the UK. Data are for 2017 and are from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (2018a). The fewest deaths per 1000 population occur in London with the 14 lowest local authorities in the UK. Slough (5.3 deaths per 1000 population) comes in at number 15. At the other end, the top five local authorities (East Lindsey,...

Homelessness: implications for paramedic practice

Key facts on homelessnessThe full extent of homelessness and rough sleeping in the UK is difficult to describe. Homelessness is recorded differently in each nation, and not all homeless people show up in official statistics. However, it is clear that homelessness and rough sleeping have been increasing substantially since a low point between 2009 and 2010.Statutory homelessness statistics reported that the local authorities in England had duty to accommodate just over 59 000 households in...

Protecting the mental health of UK paramedics

Protecting the mental health of UK paramedics

It is estimated that the average member of the public within the UK will experience one or maybe two traumatic situations in a lifetime—whether that be through witnessing or being involved in an accident, natural disaster, collision, medical episode or traumatic event. Those working in frontline emergency ambulance services however are exposed to distressing and traumatic events on a much more frequent basis (Halpern et al, 2012).

Redefining the ‘news’

Researching complex topics and demysifying useful information, sharing the stories of real people, writing, editing, polishing—these are some of the reasons I went into my profession. But when I carried out my master's in journalism, the drawn out United States-led war on Iraq was front-page news, while stories in health care (which had always been my area of interest) tended to focus on sensationalising research and scaring people away from just about every food (though to be fair, a large...

Building up a positive culture

In an unpredictable—and sometimes frightening—world, the few events that bring some normalcy can be really comforting. Christmas was never going to be white, New Year's Eve was always going to be busy and the question, ‘what's the worst thing you have ever seen?’ will forever follow social introductions to paramedics.

Student paramedics need funding too…

Student paramedics need funding too…

In 2018, a new student column shared perspectives from first, second and third year students across UK paramedicine programmes. This year, in a special quarterly feature, we will follow Eleanor Chapman, who has now graduated, on her journey as a newly qualified paramedic

Honouring inclusivity and support in paramedicine

Honouring inclusivity and support in paramedicine

Creating a brandIn a bid to create an identity for Proud@WMAS, the committee tried to design a new logo but quickly realised that the already established design had resonance with current staff and so it remained. The rainbow star of life, used by the National Ambulance LGBT Network, of which we are a contributing member, was agreed as it was felt that it would achieve uniformity across other ambulance organisations and enable the network to be recognised more easily. The committee sourced some...

Brayden set to widen range of award-winning manikins

Brayden set to widen range of award-winning manikins

Brayden Baby: intuitive lights help improve CPR performanceCurrently under development, the Brayden Baby is designed with the help of key opinion leaders representing the ERC, national resuscitation councils and leading European paediatric institutions.Brayden Baby uses advanced sensors to detect and analyse the effectiveness of CPR. Sets of interrelated LED lights illuminate key performance indicators. Brayden Baby has intuitive lights to help guide the student to perform good quality...

The nearness to death effect and why NHS pressures are going to intensify

The nearness to death effect and why NHS pressures are going to intensify

Nearness to death effectSo, what have deaths to do with capacity pressures? There is a very simple answer: the nearness to death effect. The nearness to death effect has been documented for around four decades and shows that healthcare demand escalates with nearness to death and not with age, per se (Payne et al, 2007). Around half of a person's lifetime hospital inpatient admissions and bed occupancy is compressed into the last year of life (Hanlon et al, 1998). Hence, the marginal changes in...

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