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Prehospital Trauma Life Support – A review of 2016 courses

As I type this another ten dedicated, driven and interesting clinicians complete the assessments required of the Prehospital Trauma Life Support course (PHTLS).  Over the past two days the students have interacted and engaged with our teaching faculty during theory sessions, skills workshops and life-like trauma scenarios.

Our small group sizes and experienced faculty (on this week’s course – a consultant anaesthetist, A&E/expedition doctor, paramedic and specialist paramedic) allow the enrichment of this course through group discussion and sharing of experiences.  Faculty and students alike all leave the course having learnt something new and interesting.


We’ve delivered PHTLS courses, which are internationally recognised and co-awarded by the NAEMT and Royal College of Surgeons for nearly three years.  This year has seen our largest cohort of students and we have delivered the course to 78 students over 9 courses.  The majority of our courses are ‘open courses’ and individuals book a place via our website, however two courses this year have been booked by groups.  In January we took the long journey to Guernsey and worked with the statutory ambulance service who also provided crag rescue.  We spent three days teaching the course which enabled more time for scenarios that included a rescue element as well as clinical trauma care.  Last month we provided a course to healthcare professionals within Mountain Rescue England and Wales.  For both of these courses we were able to select a relevantly skilled faculty to ensure the tailored course was delivered by experts in these fields and to a very high standard.


The course emphasises the team approach when dealing with the victim of major trauma, and promotes the dissemination of evidence based practice in trauma patient management.  Students are taught a systematic approach to the assessment of the trauma patient and the preferences in relation to treatment and transport decisions, which of course is influenced by many factors in the prehospital setting.


Students that possess relevant experience, offer peers support and also perform above average throughout the course and within the assessments are invited to take the steps to become a member of the faculty.  We support them through the necessary steps of this instructor pathway to the point they are signed off by me as the course director.  In 2016 we recommended nine people as having ‘instructor potential’, many of which have already joined us as faculty on one of our courses.

Again, perhaps due to the time and attention we are able to give our students through discussion and answering their questions, we have a very high pass rate for the course.  We’ve not failed anyone outright (failing both elements of the assessment) and we’ve only deferred half a dozen due to unsuccessfully meeting one of the assessment outcomes.  Of those having been deferred, the majority have then successfully passed a resit of that particular assessment.


It’s always a pleasure (in the nicest possible way) to say goodbye to another group of competent and skilled clinicians that you will know will make a difference to someone’s life as a result of them choosing to attend the PHTLS course.

If you’ve passed your PHTLS course with us this year, we very much hope to see you in four years time.  Here’s some student feedback from our 2016 PHTLS courses………


‘I was particularly happy with the number of people attending the course, 8. This gave a good ratio of participants to tutors and made the course a lot more informal. The tutors consisted of paramedics and a doctor, which meant their theoretical and practical knowledge was of a very high standard. The participants on the course were a mix of doctors, paramedics and nurses which meant there was a good discussion of experience and exchange of ideas. Overall it was a very satisfying and fulfilling course.’

‘The faculty were excellent, very knowledgeable, approachable and supportive, and really made the course as relevant as they could to the UK system. A huge thank you to all of them for all their hard work in bringing the course to life and creating scenarios that were as realistic as possible.’

‘This is my third PHTLS Course, I found the staff much more helpful than other courses I have attended. there was a real variety of training sessions for all abilities.’

‘It was very useful having instructors with substantial recent practical experience, at courses from other providers you can often encounter trainers with limited recent experience.’


Interested in our 2017 dates – click here.

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