THE Welsh Ambulance Service has introduced a new type of emergency pain relief for patients.
Methoxyflurane, or Penthrox, is a fast-acting drug used to reduce pain in patients with a traumatic injury like a fracture, dislocation, severe laceration or burns.
The inhaled analgesic can be administered by all grades of clinicians, including Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians and Urgent Care Assistants.
Volunteer Community First Responders are also being trained to administer the drug in a UK ambulance service first.
Paula Jeffery, Consultant Paramedic for the Trust, said: “We are committed to delivering the very best care to patients, and Penthrox is another tool in our drug box to do this.
“The nature of trauma means that patients can present in extreme pain, so rapid and effective pain relief is an important part of making them more comfortable.
“Penthrox is also self-administered by patients (under supervision), which enables the crew to focus on delivering treatment and taking patients promptly to hospital.”
Ambulance crews have undergone training to enable them to administer the drug, which began rollout earlier this month.
Community First Responders are expected to start administering Penthrox from next week.
Andy Swinburn, Director of Paramedicine, said: “We’re delighted to have introduced Penthrox into our suite of pain-relieving drugs, which are undeniably important in the pre-hospital setting.
“Community First Responders in particular – who are often at scene with patients for some time before an ambulance arrives, such are the pressures on the service – have been asking for a long time for the ability to administer pain relief, and now they can.”
Community First Responders are volunteers who attend 999 calls in their community and administer first aid in the precious first minutes before an ambulance arrives.
They are trained by the Welsh Ambulance Service to deliver CPR and defibrillation at cardiac arrests, as well as first aid and other skills at a broader range of medical emergencies.
Lee Brooks, Executive Director of Operations, said: “Volunteering at the Welsh Ambulance Service has come a long way, particularly in the last few years, and we place high value on the contribution of our volunteers.
“Having observed volunteers first-hand, it was an ambition to increase effective treatments that could be safely administered via a Community First Responder.
“I am optimistic that patients will be better supported now this is an option for our people.
“It’s why we’re delighted that our trained volunteers can now administer pain relief, improving not only the experience of patients but of volunteers too.”