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Several items relating to emergency medicine matters have been making the news headlines recently.


Prehospital care and transport of patients to definitive care will become a matter of greater significance than it already is if proposed National Health Service reforms of emergency care proceed. There was high profile media coverage of the topic in August, following publication in this journal of a Sheffield study that shows, in certain circumstances, longer travel distances to hospital increase mortality and morbidity.1

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reports that a charter for air ambulances, adopted by Great North Air Ambulance and the London, Essex and Hertfordshire, and Kent, Surrey and Sussex services, is fuelling debate over the future roles of air and land ambulances.2 Four independent air ambulance charities have signed up to a commitment to have “prehospital care doctors” on board, believing they help save lives and reduce the number of costly hospital transfers. The HSJ reports that fewer emergency departments, increased traffic, plus the aim to improve care, will mean a move away from “swoop and scoop” air ambulance services.

It is estimated an on-board doctor costs £300 000 (€445 000, US$600 000) a year with an annual …

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  • Competing interests: None declared