Does my event first aid company need to be CQC Registered?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the governing body and regulator for health and social care in the UK. They regulate hospital, care homes, ambulance services and various other care providers. First aid companies don’t have to be registered to provide their services within the confines of and event site or sport stadium, however, if they were to leave the venue they would need to be registered to transport patients to hospital or provide treatment outside of the event.

The requirements for medical cover for outdoor events are set out in The Purple Guide. A change took place in 2016 which means it is now a requirement to have the ability to transfer to hospital without relying on the NHS at all but the smallest, low risk events.

If you don’t want to spare the expense of an ambulance crew on standby you need to consider how reliable the NHS is a the moment. Do you really want one of your competitors waiting 4 hours after your event has closed for an ambulance? If a patient was to become very ill or not survive, how would your insurance view things?

We have seen regular calls from individuals who have given up waiting on the NHS ambulance service and out of desperation called for a private ambulance. The next problem for event operators is that one ambulance could convey a patient to hospital and could then be stuck in the A&E queue for 3 hours or more.

This is why event providers need to work with their medical provider to consider, on all but the smallest events, how they are going to deal with injuries and illnesses. As crowd sizes increase the incident numbers follow, large events guarantee a certain number of incidents and full facilities on site can reduce the number of patients requiring hospitalisation in busy A&E departments. For very large festivals it has become common to consider adding x-ray and blood testing facilities on site to reduce the number of patients requiring hospitalisation, there will always be some patients needing hospital and budget considerations depending on the size of an event are important.

The bottom line is that first aid only providers are of little use on anything other than a school fete with a few attendees. One private ambulance service hit the press last year after a technician failed to notice ECG changes on a 999 call and left a patient at home who was having a heart attack. This highlights the need for a registered health care professional to be responsible for discharges when a patient is not going to hospital.

Some of the sporting bodies have already made changes stating that providers must at least be regulated by the CQC.

The key to this is that as an event organiser, cheaper is definitely not alway better.

Dave Hawkins