Magpas Air Ambulance has a national reputation for delivering excellent clinical training, something we are always striving to maintain and improve.

Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) became a recognised sub-specialty of emergency medicine, anaesthetics and intensive care medicine by the General Medical Council in 2012

This was largely down to the work of Magpas Air Ambulance clinicians. The first ever trainee to specialise in this area, was Magpas Air Ambulance trainee at the time, Dr Nick Foster.

He explains, “Magpas Air Ambulance afforded me an excellent and thoroughly supportive introduction into pre-hospital care and remains without a doubt the best period of training in my career. It’s an honour to have been the first trainee to specialise in PHEM and be part of such a milestone in Magpas Air Ambulance’s history.”

Now, every air ambulance clinician must be trained in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine to ensure they provide patients with the best possible medical care outside of hospital.

We believe strongly in investing in people, training them for these unique and challenging roles. Before our new doctors and paramedics join the clinical team, they must first participate in three weeks of intense national and regional residential training.

National training

The new doctors and paramedics begin by joining the Intercollegiate Board for Training in PHEM (IBTPHEM) National Induction Course. The course focuses on the pre-hospital environment, so trainees can find themselves in collapsed buildings, on top of very high structures, in a train on its side or managing large firearms incidents.

All new PHEM trainees from across the country join the week-long course, run by Dr Rod Mackenzie—who has worked with the charity for many years and is now Magpas Air Ambulance’s Clinical Lead for Effectiveness.

Magpas Air Ambulance PHEM training course

Following the national training course, familiarising themselves with the environments they can expect to work in and the challenges each pose, the team embark on their two-week Magpas Air Ambulance training course at our training centre in Huntingdon.

This course focuses on clinical knowledge and skills, working in teams with the Magpas Air Ambulance kit, using models for surgical skill practice and participating in around 30 simulations to practice increasingly difficult scenarios.

The simulations are a vital element of this training and take place on our full body human simulators. With people acting in the role of ambulance crews and bystanders, the idea is to help our team members really immerse themselves in the scenario and the operating environment within which we are expecting them to work. All our simulations are based on real cases, real equipment, with real pathology and real clinical challenges.

Every doctor and critical care paramedic at the charity participates in this course and undertakes the same day of assessments at the end. Our team members train and work together throughout.

With a large consultant and critical care paramedic faculty, we’ve been delivering this course for almost 20 years—and hundreds have been successfully trained.

After completing the course, every member of our enhanced medical team completes supervised shifts before they proceed to form the doctor/paramedic team on their own. This is to make sure that not only do our patients receive the best possible level of care, but our clinicians are completely comfortable in the role.

Magpas Air Ambulance Medical Director, Dr Simon Lewis sums up, “Our training aims to provide senior doctors and paramedics with the skills that expertly and safely meet the needs of the critically ill patients, wherever they may be. By giving patients the initial treatment they need on-scene, often using skills more commonly found in emergency departments, the medical team can reduce suffering, limit further damage, and ultimately we can help to improve patient outcome.”

Have you heard about our community CPR training programme?

Learn more about CPR and defibrillator training with Magpas Air Ambulance.