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Deteriorating patient initiative cuts cardiac arrests by a third

The introduction of a team of senior nurses and doctors trained to give emergency aid when a patient unexpectedly deteriorates has seen cardiac arrest calls slashed at a North West hospital.

The multidisciplinary medical emergency team (MET) is available 24 hours a day at Aintree University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

It is now advising on plans to introduce a similar team at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust.

Aintree set up its own MET 18 months ago, to provide care for patients whose condition suddenly and unexpectedly deteriorates. It said that since then staff had seen the number of cardiac arrest calls within the trust fall by 32%.

“The team consists of five senior staff of various disciplines who all respond in a MET emergency, meaning the relevant expertise is always available when a call comes in,” the trust said in a statement.  

“The team receives three calls each day on average and has been so successful at preventing cardiac arrests that Aintree’s dedicated cardiac arrest team was disbanded in April.”

June Taft, MET co-ordinator at Aintree University Hospital, said: “We have trained our nurses and junior doctors to look out for early warning signs which could indicate an acute problem, such as a sudden deterioration in breathing or circulation. 

“Once we receive a call, the team is at the patient’s bedside within minutes, taking advanced emergency equipment with them which is unavailable outside of intensive care.”

St Helens and Knowsley is now looking to introduce a similar team at its Whiston Hospital.

St Helens and Knowsley nurse consultant in critical care John Elmore said: “The clinical teams at Whiston Hospital have welcomed the opportunity to work closely with colleagues at Aintree to enhance the systems we already have in place.

“The trust is planning to introduce a multidisciplinary medical emergency team who will respond to clinical emergencies even more effectively, further improving patient safety.”

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