The Emergency Medical Service (EMS) in Oslo has insufficient routines for surveillance of the medical activity, beyond the number of ambulance missions and response times. Norwegian authorities lack regular registration of information about important quantitative and qualitative aspects of the EMS.
Documentation is necessary to evaluate the EMS, to improve the quality and to calculate the dimension of the service. We therefore analysed the case-records, from the emergency runs, carried out by the EMS in Oslo September 2002. A study like this has not previously been published in Norway.
The study of 1945 case-records shows that the ambulance missions were quite equally divided among the EMS’ three work shifts. If our results are representative of all the 12 months in 2002, they indicate that the need for EMS preparedness in general is the same day and night.
The paramedics looked after 338 patients who didn’t need any further medical emergency treatment, thus the paramedics often performed independent clinical judgement. Our results indicate that the personnel working on the anaesthesiologist-manned ambulance follow the treatment regulations to a higher extent than the paramedics on the other ambulances. It seems that the staff working in the dispatch centre give preference to the physician-manned-ambulance to patients with diffuse and severe conditions, especially out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
The results support the need for regular registration of information that enhances comparison between the information registered by the dispatch centre and the case-reports.
Further investigations are needed on several of the topics discussed in the survey.