Lights, camera, disciplinary action?

The presentation of careOnly recently I watched, with interest, a programme that showed a paramedic crew attending a ‘critical’ patient (cue dramatic music) to see the paramedic driving the vehicle away using blue lights and sirens and the ambulance technician providing the clinical care. Surely this is as an abdication of clinical responsibility by the paramedic concerned with a potential breach of the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (Health Professions Council (HPC) 2008)?Worryingly, this example is not isolated as there are a number of cases where the standard of care presented suggests potential deficiencies from accepted standards. However, this is not to say that the care actually fails to meet expectations, the editing of such programmes undoubtedly plays a vital role in the presentation of care delivered and may not always paint an accurate picture (from a healthcare perspective) for the purposes of the creative process. Certainly, we must consider each case with caution and consideration of the programme makers’ limitations in terms of material presentation; ultimately these programmes thrive on the ethos of drama, alongside a limited time space in which to showcase material. The provision of pure facts would, I am sure, often make less dramatic viewing. This poses the question, what action should be taken in the event of care that appears to fall below the expected standard?‘The growth of such shows and inherent public interest in the emergency services brings to light the question of whether such media coverage is of benefit or risk to our profession’Our registrant duty includes the precept that we must inform the HPC of any suspicion of wrongdoing (HPC 2008); however, can this be confidently undertaken based upon an edited snapshot? This is a decision that cannot be made lightly and requires careful thought.

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