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Devon Air Ambulance wins Innovation Award

Last week Devon Air Ambulance picked up a prestigious award for innovation at the Association of Air Ambulances’ Awards of Excellence.  The award for in relation the creation of an MSc Pre-Hospital Critical Care/Transport and Retrieval Degree.

Heléna Holt, Chief Executive of Devon Air Ambulance said “We are delighted with the award for innovation.  The Masters degree truly does put Devon on the map as being a centre for ground breaking clinical development for Air Ambulance aircrew.  We are very proud of our development team who have worked together with Plymouth University to create the degree.”

Devon Air Ambulance has substantially improved patient care through the creation of a ground breaking clinical development degree for air paramedics.  Working with Plymouth University, Devon Air Ambulance has created a new qualification which will put Devon on the map as a centre of excellence for pre-hospital critical care.  This has resulted in a new Master’s Degree course for paramedic aircrew aimed at making them amongst the highest qualified in the profession.

The first module on the MSc Pre-hospital Critical Care/Transport and Retrieval degree started in early September 2015 and over a three year period studying for a minimum of 10 hours a week, the first tranche of 20 paramedics will gain this new qualification and will be encouraged to contribute to advancing the body of knowledge underpinning pre-hospital critical care through continued research and further study. In August 2016 all of the Devon Air Ambulance crew studying passed their first year.

Devon Air Ambulance’s Clinical Support Officer and paramedic, Darren Goodwin said: “The world of pre-hospital emergency medicine is moving very quickly with numerous clinical papers published each month, suggesting new and innovative procedures and practices.  The aim of this programme is to equip already highly experienced paramedics with the knowledge to appraise, and where necessary challenge, current thinking and bring their own experience to bear in advancing clinical practice.

There are existing ‘off-the-shelf’ courses but we wanted to design a course that addressed the specific needs identified by DAAT and one that addresses the application of theory in practice while benefiting from the very real experiences of paramedics in action. 

This programme will not only help practitioners with their decision-making and enhance the quality of critical care; it will help Devon Air Ambulance paramedics to become genuine leaders in their field and to make real and positive changes to best practice.”

Amanda Denton, Post-graduate Lead at Plymouth University’s Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, said: “The idea for this degree was only formulated in January 2015 and it is a testament to the commitment of everyone involved in the collaboration that the course is up and running within a year.

“We have created a platform for personal, academic and practical advancement in this highly specialised area and it has already caught the attention of the wider profession with paramedics from several other air ambulance services joining the course.

“We are in no doubt that we have developed a model of Paramedic education that will lead the way in clinical development for air ambulance services and create a nationally recognised centre of excellence in pre-hospital critical care.

“I must congratulate DAAT for the vision in identifying the need for this degree and the courage to fund it.  It will help future proof the clinical work of air ambulance services everywhere.”

The three year MSc Pre-Hospital Critical Care – Retrieval and Transfer degree is being delivered by the School of Health Professions at Plymouth University and led by Amanda Denton and Peter Allum, with the course funded by DAAT.

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