What airway and vascular access skills can be performed whilst\ud wearing the NHS issued chemical, biological, radiation, and\ud nuclear personal protective equipment?
The introduction of chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear personal protective equipment (CBRN-PPE) across the National Health Service (NHS), in 2007, represented an increase in the capacity to treat patients following a CBRN incident. However, little was known on what impact the NHS CBRN-PPE would have on skill performance. \ud \ud To date a number of studies have evaluated various skills performed whilst wearing a range of CBRN-PPE, none of which resembles the NHS CBRN-PPE. This gap in the evidence prompted a series of research studies addressing the following research question, ‘What airway and vascular access skills can be performed whilst wearing the NHS issued chemical, biological, radiation, and nuclear personal protective equipment? The resulting nine published peer-reviewed papers are presented with a critical commentary in three chapters: Chapter 3 (Papers 1 to 4) assesses what clinical skills can be performed using the\ud NHS CBRN-PPE; Chapter 4 (Papers 5 & 6) explores clinicians’ views on the preferences and experiences of airway management whilst wearing CBRN-PPE; and Chapter 5 (Papers 7 to 9) evaluates the optimal strategies of airway management whilst wearing the NHS CBRN-PPE. Chapter 6 is a summary of the findings presented in this thesis and presents a number of new research questions to further expand our knowledge-base, regarding skill performance whilst wearing NHS CBRN-PPE, reflecting the developmental nature of this area of research.\ud \ud The research contained in this thesis utilises a combination of randomised controlled trials, interviews and questionnaires, to ascertain the impact of the NHS CBRN-PPE on skill completion. Papers 1 to 4 recruited a group of mixed clinicians allowing subgroup analysis observing for inter-professional differences regarding skill performance. Whereas, Papers 7 to 9 recruited student paramedics ensuring similar levels of airway management skills, thereby isolating prior expertise as a variable.\ud \ud The research presented in this thesis has been used during simulation training as part preparations for the 2012 Olympics, in the development of a CBRN training DVD and incorporated into a textbook. The results have also been shared with NHS England working party on CBRN-PPE and, are being incorporated into CBRN treatment protocols by an\ud overseas ambulance service.