RCoA responds to HSIB report on Transfer of Critically Ill Adults

Dr William Harrop-Griffiths, Chair of the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ Clinical Quality and Research Board said:

“The Royal College of Anaesthetists welcomes the publication of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch’s (HSIB) report on the Transfer of Critically Ill Adults, and is pleased that a discussion will now take place about developing national guidance.

“Anaesthetists are often the accompanying clinician during patient transfers, but this can significantly impact on anaesthetic capacity and patient care within Trusts, particularly out of hours or in smaller hospitals. As per the recommendations of the report, the College looks forward to working with the Department of Health and Social Care in its response to the development of appropriate guidance as recommended by the HSIB.

“The back of an ambulance is a challenging environment in which to perform procedures on a sick patient. The College suggests that this role should be performed in many instances by healthcare professionals such as nurses and paramedics who undergo specialist training in transfer medicine. Indeed, we know that such specially trained nurses and paramedics are already in place across some transfer networks within London. That said, London’s demands are vastly different to those of rural Northern England for example, so any national guidance must take this into account and create systems that can adapt to local geography.

“The ongoing centralisation of NHS services such as trauma, heart attack and stroke care will further increase the need for urgent and safe transfers that need to be delivered to a consistently high standard, no matter where the patient is due to be cared for across England. Standardisation of processes and of the equipment available during transfer will enhance the safety of the care of this high-risk group of patients."

23 January 2019