Concern over conflicting overdose advice
Concerns have been raised to DDN over apparently inconsistent and contradictory advice given to people who call the emergency services to report an overdose. While the NTA recommends the person be put in the recovery position, call centre staff using the Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch System (AMDPS) are advising callers instead to keep the person on their back with their airway open. AMDPS, an American system for information given out prior to hospital admission, is used by some ambulance trusts in the UK including in Wales and Scotland, and concerns have already been raised by Scottish ambulance drivers. The issue - an important one since most overdoses are witnessed - has now been raised with the Welsh Assembly and the NTA, and both organisations have promised to take it forward. The apparent contradiction came to the attention of staff carrying out overdose training in Wales. 'Hostel workers who had called for an ambulance after someone had overdosed said they were told not to put them in the recovery position,' said Teepee Training managing director Trudi Petersen. 'I'd actually heard this from four people before I was concerned enough to start investigating - I thought maybe it was a Welsh thing, but it's been happening in England and Scotland as well.' 'It is vitally important that substance misusers and those around them are informed of how to respond,' she said 'Being able to do the right thing at the right time may save a life. If practitioners' advice to use the recovery position is contradicted when individuals contact emergency services, this may lead not only to confusion over what is 'right' or 'wrong' on that occasion but may also have a knock-on effect around substance misusers' confidence in other health messages.'