Feedback from EMAS

At a recent business meeting we had the opportunity to raise concerns with a representative of the North Derbyshire CCG. Though the focus was on recent matters members did share their experiences of needing to call an ambulance and the response provided to “neckbreathers”

Problems mentioned included the application of a mask to the mouth and nose rather than the neck stoma and the lack of a suitable mask for oxygen delivery.

We have received as a result of the discussion the following reassurance from PALS at EMAS

Thank you for passing on concerns raised via a patient group regarding the care and treatment by ambulance staff to patients who are neck breathers.

I can confirm we have been proactive in this area of patient treatment having worked with the Head and Neck Cancer Support Group when they raised similar concerns.

Please be assured:

  • All our education courses include training on the management of tracheostomy patients and appropriate routes of administering oxygen
  • Oxygen masks for tracheostomy patients are readily available on all stations and as such they should be on all vehicles –a reminder was issued to staff to ensure that they are on the vehicles

In addition the Head and Neck Cancer support group shared a training package with our service which was shared in order to support our existing training material.

I hope that this information helps to offer assurances to the group. If there is an individual concern regarding an ambulance attendance then we are happy to look at this in detail.

HNChelp is grateful to both EMAS and the CCG for this response.

European Launch of the Global Tracheostomy Collaborative (GTC)

This event took place on Monday July 7th at the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

The GTC aims to improve on the treatment and safety of all neckbreathers (laryngectomees or tracheostomees) when they need medical care. It follows on the work of NALC and the NTSP in the UK.

Our Secretary, Malcolm Babb, was invited to speak at the event in his capacity as President of NALC. He used the opportunity to highlight examples of poor care, including that received by members of HNChelp.  A video of his presentation is available here

GTC launch  (advance to 11-21am)

One of the highlights of the event was a talk by Professor Stephen Hawking sharing his experiences as a tracheostomy and then later as a  laryngectomee.