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Medical Practice

Provision of facilities for secondary transport of seriously ill patients in the United Kingdom

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 20 February 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:543
  1. I H Wright,
  2. J C McDonald,
  3. P N Rogers,
  4. I McA Ledingham


    A survey by questionnaire of 280 hospitals with general intensive care units was carried out to find out what facilities were provided for secondary transport of seriously ill patients in the United Kingdom. Replies were received from 181 units. Extrapolating from the survey data showed that about 10 000 patients were transported each year, although many units transferred only a few patients. An appreciable minority of units reported that facilities for secondary transport were inadequate and many were obliged to send inexperienced medical staff with patients. Almost half of the respondents thought that arrangements for transfer were unsatisfactory, but only a tenth said that they delayed or refused transfer for this reason. This undoubtedly reflects a policy of “making do” despite inadequate resources.

    We believe that these results support the concept of regional transport services, where each major unit would be adequately equipped and staffed and unnecessary duplication of resources avoided.

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