Contribution of paramedics in primary and urgent care: a systematic review
Georgette Eaton, Geoff Wong, Veronika Williams, Nia Roberts and Kamal R Mahtani
Background: Within the UK, there are now opportunities for paramedics to work across a variety of healthcare settings away from their traditional ambulance service employer, with many opting to move into primary care. Aim: To provide an overview of the types of clinical roles paramedics are undertaking in primary and urgent care settings within the UK. Design and setting: A systematic review. Method: Searches were conducted of MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Journal of Paramedic Practice, and the Cochrane Database from January 2004 to March 2019 for papers detailing the role, scope of practice, clinician and patient satisfaction, and costs of paramedics in primary and urgent care settings. Free-text keywords and subject headings focused on two key concepts: paramedic and general practice/primary care. Results: In total, 6765 references were screened by title and/or abstract. After full-text review, 24 studies were included. Key findings focused on the description of the clinical role, the clinical work environment, the contribution of paramedics to the primary care workforce, the clinical activities they undertook, patient satisfaction, and education and training for paramedics moving from the ambulance service into primary care. Conclusion: Current published research identifies that the role of the paramedic working in primary and urgent care is being advocated and implemented across the UK; however, there is insufficient detail regarding the clinical contribution of paramedics in these clinical settings. More research needs to be done to determine how, why, and in what context paramedics are now working in primary and urgent care, and what their overall contribution is to the primary care workforce.