Aim To determine the role of the modern day obstetric flying squad in the greater Belfast area.
Method A retrospective review of all requests for the obstetric flying squad from the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital over the past ten years.
Results 86 requests for the flying squad were officially lodged over the ten year period. In the majority of cases, 46/86 (54%) the baby was born before arrival (BBA). The second most common request, 14/86 (16%) was due to minor vaginal bleeding. No patient bled heavily, nil were clinically shocked, nil required resuscitation and nil patients required a blood transfusion. 30/86 (35%) of patients required no treatment whatsoever and were simply transported to hospital. In 42% of cases > 3 members of staff attended the call. Of note the average time taken for the obstetric flying squad to reach the patient was longer than the standard ambulance.
Conclusion This review reflects a significant change in the original role of the obstetric flying squad over time. Various factors have influenced this transformation; minimal planned home deliveries; excellent antenatal screening and care in hospital; and an increase in the ownership and availability of personal transport and communication.
Summary That which was designed for resuscitation in the community is increasingly being used as a means of transport to hospital in the case of unexpected home delivery, depleting at least two senior staff from the busy hospital labour ward. We suggest that the provision of this service is stopped.
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