Research & Audit

EMRS is committed to ongoing research and audit around all aspects prehospital and retrieval medicine. Research and audit has been a core part since the start of the voluntary pilot scheme in 2004 and has expanded as the service has grown. There is an active research portfolio covering topics including advanced airway management, long term outcomes following critical illness in rural areas and modelling of national retrieval service activity. In collaboration with the University of Glasgow, the service is now supporting an MD in retrieval research.

Trainees working with the service undertake a research project as part of their secondment to EMRS and it is expected that this project will lead to appropriate presentations and publications, as well as informing service change. The retrieval practitioners are also actively involved in research projects and we work with medical students undertaking elective studies. Over the past 10 years, EMRS has published over 30 articles related to prehospital and retrieval medicine as well as presenting this work across the globe.

As part of our clinical governance, EMRS undertakes internal audits of our service against external standards. We have recently completed audits against AAGBI 2006 Brain Injury guidelines and ICS Guidelines for the Transport of the Critically Ill Adult (3rd edition 2011).

EMRS is now part of the EUPHOREA group, collaborating with partner aeromedical organisations around Europe and beyond in research projects. We also are part of an international benchmarking project comparing aeromedical standards of service around the world.


Current Research 

  • EMRS long term patient outcomes
    - Information governance approval received; awaiting data linkage
  • Temperature control using different packaging methods for secondary retrieval patients
    - Data collected; under analysis
  • EMRS primary mission location mapping
    Data being collated April 15
  • International benchmarking
    - 10 Benchmarks agreed EMRS Validation post CA resus completed
  • Physiology effects of flight
    - Pilot project complete; multicentre project under discussion
  • Use of Video laryngoscope in simulated C-spine injury
    - Pilot study complete; data submitted for publication
  • Stress amongst retrieval staff
    - Phase 1 simulation complete
    - Phase 2 Live underway
  • RSI comparative Apnoeic oxygenation
    Data collection ongoing
  • Kit & drug pack setup for emergency anaesthesia
    Funding received; trial ready to collect data
  • Effect of picture from primary retrieval scene on receiving clinicians
    - Draft protocol written; pilot data collected
  • Use of video cameras on scene
    - Simulation data collection underway; ethical approval sought
  • Comparative study of emergency anaesthesia complications between EMRS & ICU
    - Data completed and submitted for publication



  • Whitelaw AS, Hsu R, Corfield AR, Hearns S. Establishing a Rural Emergency Medical Retrieval Service. Emergency Medicine Journal 2006;23: 76-78 
  • Thomas L, Corfield AR. Working with the West of Scotland Emergency Medical Retrieval Service. British Medical Journal 2006; 333(7557): 3 
  • Corfield AR, Thomas L, Inglis A, Hearns S. A rural emergency medical retrieval service: the first year. Emergency Medicine Journal 2006; 23: 679 – 683 
  • Shirley P, Hearns S. Retrieval medicine: a review and guide for UK practitioners. Part 1: Clinical guidelines and evidence base. Emergency Medicine Journal 2006; 23:937-942 
  • Hearns S, Shirley P. Retrieval medicine: a review and guide for UK practitioners. Part 2: safety in patient retrieval systems. Emergency Medicine Journal 2006 Dec ;23 (12):943-7  
  • Inglis A, Price R. Re: Delays in transferring elderly trauma patients (letter). Journal of Emergency Medicine 2009 Nov.; 37 (4): 422-423 doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2009.02.043 
  • Littlewood NK, Parker A, Hearns S, Corfield AR. The UK Helicopter Ambulance Tasking Study. Injury 2010; 41(1): 27-29
  • Corfield AR. SAMU for Scotland? Médecine d'Urgence 32 (6), 407-408 (in French)
  • Corfield AR, Adams J, Nicholls R, et al. On-scene times for an aeromedical retrieval service. Emerg Med J (2010). doi:10.1136/emj.2010.09142 
  • Lyon R et al.  In-flight cooling after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Resuscitation, 2010; 81 (8): 1041 - 1042
  • Carlowe J. Title:  Care in the air: two high-flying nurses talk about their new roles as critical care practitioners in an airborne patient retrieval team (Stuart Daly and Stuart Swanson). Nursing Standard, 2011; 25 (19): 18-19
  • Corfield AR, Cowan GM. Human Factor and Systems in Emergency Departments (editorial). European Journal of Emergency Medicine 2011; 18: 183
  • Simpson N, Bartley B, Corfield AR, Hearns S. Performance measurement in British Helicopter Emergency Medical Services and Australian Air Medical Services. Emerg Med J 2012;29:243-246
  • Parker A, Corfield AR. Air Ambulance Tasking: Why & How? Journal of Paramedic Practice2011; 3(6): 313-317
  • Inglis A, Cadamy A, Price R, Rutherford G. Critical Care Transfers (letter). Anaesthesia2011; 66(10): 945-946
  • Cowan G, Burton F, Newton A. Pre-hospital anaesthesia in the UK: A survey of current practice. Emergency Medical Journal 2012; 29: 136-140
  • McMahon N, Hogg L, Corfield AR, Exton AD. Invasive versus non-invasive blood pressure measurement in flight. Anaesthesia 2012; 67(12): 1343-7
  • Daly S, Milne HJ, Homes DP, Corfield AR. Defibrillation and external pacing in flight: incidence and implications Emerg Med. J. 2014;31:1 69-71
  • Robertson LC, McKinlay JA, Munro PT, Hearns S. Use of prothrombin complex concentrates: 4-year experience of a national aeromedical retrieval service servicing remote and rural areas. Emerg Med J 2013; e publication
  • Dempsey Z, Corfield AR. Endotracheal cuff pressure measurement using an anaeroid manometer: a validation exercise. Anaesthesia 2012: 67(2): 198
  • Corfield AR, Thomson S, Daly S, Curatolo L, Kennedy A, Proctor J, Sinclair N. Use of a Videolaryngoscope Amongst Emergency Medical Services Personnel. Annals of Emergency Medicine 2012; 60(4): S91
  • Wimalasena YH, Corfield AR,  Hearns S. Comparison of factors associated with desaturation in prehospital emergency anaesthesia in primary and secondary retrievals. Emerg Med J emermed-2013-202928 Published Online First: 12 November 2014