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  1. Mary Dawood, Editor

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Pre hospital research

This issue covers a number of important papers in pre hospital care,the starting point on the patient's emergency episode. What happens in the pre hospital setting can influence the whole patient pathway and in recent years paramedics have developed skills which could reduce the demand on emergency departments, yet there is a paucity of rigorous research in this area of practice. A systemic review of the literature by Rachel Evans and colleagues to identify evidence of highly trained paramedics and the impact of this on patient care, general practices and emergency departments found that whilst there are many viable extra skills in paramedics the evidence was not strong enough on which to base policy.

Continuing with this theme, the need for greater research and the importance of strengthening the evidence base in this setting and conducting clinical trials has also been highlighted by Hargreaves et al. Again, based on a review of existing literature, they developed a questionnaire to explore paramedics' views on research and pre hospital clinical trials. They sent their questionnaire to 300 paramedics at randomly selected ambulance stations in Yorkshire, UK and received a 32% response rate which although small was a starting point. The responses and views expressed suggest that paramedics are interested and have some understanding of research but are realistic about the practicality and ethical issues such as …

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