Prize-winning research helps Scottish Ambulance Service treat patients

Friday, 19 December, 2008

David Fitzpatrick, a paramedic with the Scottish Ambulance Service, has won a national award for his research at the University of Stirling.

At the recent 999 Emergency Medical Services Research Forum conference, David won the JRCALC* Prize for Research most likely to affect practice for a paper he co-authored with Dr Edward Duncan on emergency treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes.

This was a key outcome of his work while seconded from the SAS to the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Research Unit at Stirling, funded by the Scottish Chief Scientist Office. Dr Duncan, who carried out the prize-winning review with David, is the NMAHP Research Unit's clinical research fellow.

The research examined the pre-hospital management of hypoglycaemic emergencies. Entitled "Improving post-hypoglycaemic patient safety in the pre-hospital environment: a systematic review", it highlighted the risks of oral hypoglycaemic agents (OHAs) in patients with type 2 diabetes, the possibility of repeat hypoglycaemic events within 48 hours and inconsistencies in referral processes after a patient had been treated and referred.

It concluded with a set of recommendations for both research and practice and the paper has recently been accepted for publication in the Emergency Medicine Journal.

David has now been accepted onto a Masters in Philosophy by Research programme at the University of Stirling, which will give him a formal qualification.

Professor William Lauder, Head of Nursing and Midwifery, said: "David's paper is an excellent demonstration of how research can combine with practice to have a positive influence on patient care. It is important that we work closely with the Scottish Ambulance Service and other front-line health bodies to keep our research efforts relevant and useful."

Background information

JRCALC is the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Services Liaison Committee, which is a national forum to support the UK Ambulance Service with a particular focus on its interactions with other professional healthcare groups.

The Scottish Ambulance Service is responsible for the pre-hospital care and transportation of patients to appropriate care facilities for circa 500,000 accident & emergency and 1.7 million non-emergency cases each year.

The NMAHP Research Unit has academic bases within Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Stirling. Its website is at

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