What paramedics should know and other stories . . .

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f2863 (Published 08 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2863

When the National Health Service was set up in 1948, individual general practitioners (GPs) were expected to provide all necessary medical services by day and night throughout the year, and their remuneration was set on the assumption that each patient might need a visit outside normal hours once in a lifetime, and a second time to be certified dead. Now, demand for out-of-hours primary care is soaring, and GPs would not be able to cope without the help of a growing army of paramedics trained in emergency care. A systematic review looks at the evidence guiding the teaching of extended skills to these essential NHS professionals (Emergency Medicine Journal 2013, doi:10.1136/emermed-2012-202129). Nobody seems to know quite what they need to be taught.

Killer plagues come and go, and meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is currently on the wane—thanks largely to improved routine hygiene in hospitals. But waiting in the wings might be a great reservoir of new and …

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