Event Medical Cover: Voluntary v Private Sector

As a private ambulance service specialising in the provision of medical cover for the events industry we get a lot of calls from organisations all over the country.

We value the work of the voluntary sector as they tend to be able to provide a service to smaller organisations that are required to have first aid or medical provision, but cannot afford to have a specialist provider.

The voluntary sector which is made up primarily of the two main national providers and various smaller ones is important for the industry. Volunteers give their time for free and as such this results in the organisations being able to offer much lower costs in comparison to the private ambulance sector, where health professionals work.

The Purple Guide requires every event organiser to appoint a suitable contractor to manage the medical provision and to carry out an ambulance assessment.

The minimum standard for medical provision is a first aid qualification which can usually be achieved in 2 days. Some organisations offer various advanced first qualifications which again can be achieved in a further 1-3 days and includes the use of a defibrillator and oxygen therapy.

Standards amongst private ambulance services vary considerably. At MET Medical we believe that 2 or 3 days is not long enough to be able to tell the difference between a potentially life threatening medical condition and one that is not. Furthermore, the guidelines state that events should make a minimal impact on the NHS. First aiders aren’t trained to determine whether a bone is broken or whether there is tissue or nerve damage.

MET Medical has a unique approach. All staff have a minimum of 6 months training on a higher education program answering emergency 999 calls. This extended skill training ensures that decisions are made correctly and all staff are trained in history taking and advanced patient assessment. Often this means incidents are triaged correctly to the most appropriate services reducing the impact on local A&E departments and ensuring that potential problems are spotted early on.

Having the expertise really makes a difference. Increasing demand on the NHS Ambulance services have led to long wait times. If you are running an event and want to know that your competitors or visitors are well-looked after then consider selecting the right organisation to provide that.

Dave Hawkins