The Royal College of Surgeons of England recently published guidelines for sedation by non-anaesthetists. The report emphasizes sedation for endoscopy and dental surgery, but the recommendations are equally relevant to accident and emergency (A&E) medicine. Current sedation practice for orthopaedic manipulations was determined by questionnaire in 58 A&E and orthopaedic junior staff in one teaching and one district general hospital. Of the 50 doctors who completed the questionnaire, 14 (28%) respondents made an inadequate pre-sedation assessment. Over half were unable to name the antagonist to benzodiazepine drugs. Eleven (22%) doctors administered supplemental oxygen to all their patients, 12 (24%) did not consider it necessary. Pulse oximetry was used for patient monitoring by one respondent (2%). None of the junior staff had received any formal training in sedation techniques. Thirty-one (62%) had attended a resuscitation refresher course within the last year. These results emphasize the need for training in sedation techniques for A&E and orthopaedic juniors and the importance of appropriate supervision.
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