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Prehospital emergency medicine: the series
  1. P Driscoll, Joint Editors,
  2. J Wardrope, Joint Editors,
  3. C Laird, Associate Editor, Prehospital care
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr J Wardrope; 
 jimwardrope{at}hotmail.com

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Introducing a new series

Prehospital emergency care is changing at a breathtaking pace. The supply of doctors able to provide assessment and treatment out of hours is not keeping pace with increasing demands for emergency care. The result is over stretched out of hours primary care, ambulance services, and A&E departments. In response, the NHS wants to increase the scope of practice of doctors, nurses, and paramedics to help provide a first class service to patients who need clinical advice and assessment in the evenings, nights, and weekends. As a result new roles are being established in primary care nurse practitioners and paramedic practitioners. However, the education, curriculums, and standards vary from place to place and there is a lack ofeducational material to assist those undertaking these new roles.

To help fill this intellectual gap, the EMJ is planning a new series on the initial assessment and treatment of common illnesses that these new practitioners will be asked to manage. The choice of topics needs to reflect the health care needs of the population. We have obtained information from both out of hours primary care and ambulance services on the commonest medical problems. We have taken these topics as the starting point for the series. As a consequence the assessment of sore throat and ear ache will be given as much prominence as chest pain.

The series will set out a system of assessment and management for these common problems, highlighting those that might be suitable for home care and those requiring only initial treatment and transfer. With each topic, the series will address the variety of different health care settings and levels of expertise and empowerment that may be available. It will also try to provide a practical guide to the “clinician on the spot” for the safe management of 60% to 70% of the conditions they are likely to face out of hours. We will also try to promote the ideal of the whole system working together with common guidelines, treatment plans, and even common documentation. In aim for this goal, the editorial team draws on expertise from primary care, the ambulance service paramedics, and A&E.

The series is due to start in January 2004 and will use both the print journal and emjonline. We hope that existing readers will enjoy the series and that new readers will be attracted to the journal, so please tell your friends!

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