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The timeline of information exchange: an evaluation of London Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s front-line communication and emergency response to Exercise Unified Response

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Introduction: Exercise Unified Response (EUR), Europe’s largest major incident training exercise to date, provided a rich environment for the emergency services to test their multi-agency crisis response capabilities. Supported by the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust (LAS), this service evaluation examined LAS front-line communication and decision-making via body worn camera footage.

Methods: 20 LAS front-line responders and evaluators were each equipped with a body worn camera during EUR. The Service evaluation aimed to: (i) produce timelines of the LAS response in order to identify key events and actions during the ‘golden hour’ (the crucial first hour in the care of trauma patients), the proceedings of command meetings, and the multi-agency response; and (ii) develop recommendations for future training and evaluations.

Results: The service evaluation identified that, within the golden hour, LAS first responders rightly and rapidly declared the event a major incident, requested resources, and assigned roles. Triage crews were tasked quickly, though it was identified that their efficiency may be further enhanced through more detailed triage briefings prior to entering the scene. The command meetings (who were led by the Metropolitan Police) lacked efficiency and all agencies could make more effective use of the multi-agency shared radio network to ongoing address matters. Finally, London Fire Brigade (LFB) and LAS teams demonstrated clear communication and coordination towards casualty extraction.

Conclusion: Successful multi-agency working requires clear communication, information sharing, and timely command meetings. It is recommended that JESIP multi-agency talk groups should be utilised more frequently and used to complete a joint METHANE report. In addition, training in areas such as communication skills and detailed briefings, will enhance the front-line response. Finally, body worn cameras are shown to be an effective service evaluation tool, as a basis for promoting best practice as well as highlighting areas for future training and evaluations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Paramedic Journal
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 8 Sep 2019

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