The EMJ regularly publishes open access papers so that anyone with an internet connection can get access to the full paper for free. This is a great option for those without limited access to e-libraries or personal subscriptions. This month the open access paper looks at the psychological morbidity amongst ambulance workers in the UK. You can read the full paper by clicking on this link. The abstract is shown below.
What interested me was that although symptoms of PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) were in the large part at the lower end of the spectrum about 15% of paramedics had PDS (Post-traumatic stress diagnostic scale) scores at the higher end, suggesting a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, though the lack of depression amongst the subjects studied is more reassuring.
Despite this we must consider the psychological health of our staff in what is a very stressful environment and, whilst this study tells us a little about the reasons why prehospital staff may suffer PTSD, this is not a design that can tell us about how widespread this is and if any interventions will be effective. So, an interesting study that should make us stop and think, but as the authors declare these are preliminary findings that are interesting enough to warrant further study.