First doctors in UK to qualify in pre-hospital care

05 August 2014
Five doctors from right across the country are celebrating being the first ever sub-specialists in Pre-hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) in the UK.

The new pre-hospital emergency medicine doctorsDoctors Nick Foster (Southampton), Dr Jon Birks (Leicestershire), Dr Phil Morgan (Yorkshire) and Dr Monojit Choudhury (Oxfordshire), have been all been trained on a course developed by doctors who work for CUH Addenbrooke’s as well as volunteering for Magpas. Dr James Chinery - from Solihull, but originally from South Wales - is the fifth doctor in the UK to complete this same course and the first doctor in Wales.

The five have successfully completed a new element of specialist training, which is also a new qualification for air ambulance doctors, as registered with the General Medical Council (GMC).

The focus of this national training programme is all about getting the right model of enhanced critical care, within the right time frame, to severely ill and injured patients when they need it most - and to continue to provide the highest level of expert care available.

The PHEM training course was developed by Dr Rod Mackenzie, consultant in emergency medicine and CUH Major Trauma Centre director; Dr Simon Lewis, CUH ED consultant and East of England Regional Training Programme Director; and Dr Rob Major, CUH ED consultant, who is chair of the department of pre-hospital and retrieval medicine.

Dr Nick Foster, described what he thought of the training he was given by CUH and Magpas: “It’s the best I’ve received in my career so far, spending half the time in a helicopter delivering frontline care and the other half at Addenbrooke’s Emergency Department. It’s been crucial -  to be able to work with the severely ill and injured from both perspectives. PHEM is key in the chain if survival.”

Dr Rod Mackenzie said:  “We have an excellent ambulance service and they can deal with a lot of those patients but when an ambulance crew ask for help because the patient is so sick or needs specialist care, these are the doctors who will be properly trained to provide that help.”

Whilst working in partnership with the Health Education East of England and CUH this group of well-qualified and experienced, consultant-level practitioners are the first of their kind in the East of England and the whole of the country.

Dr Simon Lewis, National Training Programme director for PHEM said: “Today marks a milestone in the change and delivery of Pre-hospital Emergency Medicine - allowing us to train doctors and deliver the best care for those who need it most.”

“As the first five trainees to go through the system, these doctors have taken on numerous challenges. Reaching this moment in their careers, highlights their enthusiasm, persistence, patience and passion for what they truly believe in: the best possible patient care.”

Dr Phil Morgan, who was trained by EAAA and Magpas, said: “It’s taken a long time and a lot of effort to get here, spending a long time away from my family. I’m overjoyed to be through! This is all about striving for the best care for severely unwell patients. I am looking forward to sharing what I’ve learnt as a result of this PHEM subspecialist training.”

Dr Jon Birks, who was trained by Magpas, said: “It’s the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. I’ve worked hard, alongside my colleagues to achieve this moment. Our purpose is to now, as a small group, go back to other areas of the country to help establish this PHEM Subspecialty across the UK.”

Dr James Chinery, who was trained by the Welsh Deanery and the Welsh Ambulance Service, explained: “This marks a special day for me personally, my great-grandfather served as a doctor during the World War One. I am now working in a subspecialty, where I am in contact with a small number of extremely unwell patients, who I can make a huge difference for, whilst working alongside the Emergency Service.

“It is a huge privilege to do this in Wales, with remote communities, who particularly benefit from the care delivered by EMS and Wales Air Ambulance Service.”

Dr Monojit Choudhury, who was trained by EAAA and Magpas, said: “I am extremely proud to be beginning a new career that I’ve dreamed about. Thanks to great team work and training, my knowledge has been enriched by my experiences in the East of England. I look forward to sharing this with other doctors who have the same passion and commitment, across the country.”