Allan Medcraft: Spoonful of medical advice

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Allan Medcraft, managing director, Paramedico, and NOEA member, ponders the implications of new Care Quality Commission regulations on event medical services


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has had a huge impact on private ambulance companies as well as the NHS and voluntary society organisations that use ambulances or supply medical cover. As of January 2012, the CQC insisted on the registration of transport services, triage and medical advice provided remotely, defining the minimum requirements acceptable across UK pre-hospital care.

The new measures mean significant implications for the events industry.

At a recent seminar, it was made clear that any service above basic first aid must be registered with the CQC. To practice without registration is a criminal offence.

Any health care professional or ambulance cover must be registered with the CQC, giving the public reassurance and also a body to complain to if standards fall.

However, many organisers are confused at the changes that have taken place. A general exemption has been set out in the legislation that refers to first aid as well as other exceptions that are associated with specific regulated activities.

This is where I feel the public has been let down. Take the following example: The regulated activity of transport services, triage and medical advice provided remotely at events or sports grounds are not exempt.

Therefore, transport designed for the primary purpose of carrying a person who requires treatment is regulated. But if an ambulance is on site at an event and does not transport a patient to hospital but goes to an event entrance gate to wait for the NHS ambulance, it does not have to be registered. Simple, isn’t it?

The event industry needs a simple checklist of requirements from the CQC to avoid both providers of medical services and organisers potentially committing a criminal offence. Some straight guidance is needed otherwise we may find ourselves in need of some legal aid.