Observations from a student exchange programme: UK and Sweden prehospital care
Thursday, May 12, 2011
As part of the prehospital unscheduled and emergency care course at the University of Worcester, the authors were selected to take part in an exchange programme arranged between the University of Worcester, England and Halmstad University in Sweden. The exchange took place in January 2011 and lasted two weeks, during which time the authors were based with the Halland Regional Ambulance Service. Halland is a county on the west coast of Sweden, directly south of Gothenburg. It has an area of approximately 2100 square miles or around the same size as Devon. The total population, however, is just over 299 000 (Statistics Sweden, 2010), making the total population density slightly less than half that of Devon. The county is divided into six regions, each centred on a town of the same name (Statistics Sweden, 2010) and in which the ambulance stations are located. During the programme, the authors were based in the town of Varberg and attended incidents as supernumerary crew members. They were also permitted to treat patients, provided this did not exceed levels of competency, complied with local protocols, and was agreed by the responsible clinician. During the visit, observations were made regarding all aspects of ambulance operations. The majority of practice was found to be very similar to the UK, however, a number of important differences were found and these are analysed and contrasted with UK practice. The authors would like to thank the staff and management of the Halland ambulance service for their hospitality, warm welcome and for their generosity in passing on their knowledge. They would also like to thank the staff of the universities of Worcester and Halmstad, without whom the exchange would not have taken place.
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