Parliamentary Awards hopes for Medical Assistant Team at UHNM

A team of medical students from University Hospitals of North Midlands are hoping to scoop the Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Parliamentary Award on 7 July.

The Emergency Department Medical Assistant team has already been named as Regional Champions for their contribution during the Covid-19 pandemic and entered into the final round of the national Parliamentary Awards.

The medical assistants are a team of students from Keele University who work alongside senior medics at UHNM to provide support to patients and staff. During the pandemic, 22 additional medical assistants were recruited and the service was expanded to involve other community-facing medical portals.

The addition to urgent care has significantly benefitted patients and clinicians, with initial data showing the medical assistants team have helped to improve clinical decision-making time in the Emergency Department by 29 minutes.

Set up by Dr Andrew Davy, GP lead for Research and Development in Accident and Emergency at UHNM and Dr Ruth Kinston, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Final Year Co-Lead at Keele University, the team has continued to work tirelessly and provide essential support to a number of areas since becoming regional winners in November last year.

Today Dr Davy said: “The medical assistant team at UHNM the first in the country of its kind. It was established in response to a need for quicker assessment and decision making in one of busiest areas of our emergency department: ambulance triage. Senior doctors were taking their own blood tests and testing urine samples and although admirable in terms of team building, we felt that it wasn’t a good use of their time and in particular their unique skills as decision makers.

“The medical assistants have become a real asset to consultants and the nursing team, helping to reduce the workload and enhancing the patient journey. Whilst doing this they are able to gain essential skills and knowledge required for the future and so this experience is providing valuable insight into medical practice for them.

He added: “At a time where stories in the media have often focussed on young people spreading Covid-19, this group have been an incredible example of doing all they can at personal risk to fight it. As a Trust, we needed a quick way to employ medical students at the height of the pandemic and the response from medical students at Keele University, where our medical assistant team is drawn from was impressive. Eighty applicants came forward for the role, so at a time where most of the country was staying in, they were eager to volunteer to go the extra mile and help through the pandemic.

“This enthusiasm for the role has continued and this year we are aiming to appoint 22 new medical assistants with their induction day booked for the 3 July.”

Following the successful role out of the team at Royal Stoke University Hospital, similar programmes in Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton have been established and with patients and existing staff benefitting from having an extra pair of hands making sure investigations and care needs for patients are addressed in a timely manner. The medical assistants themselves have also reported feeling more prepared and skilled to be our future doctors.

The UHNM medical assistant team will now go head to head with other regional winners from across the country. The Awards ceremony will be held in the House of Commons on the 7 July 2021 and live streamed here.

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