Control Working Group

The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council acknowledges that PHECC has initially concentrated in the development of Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs), the National Qualification in Emergency Medical Technology (NQEMT) Examination and EMT-A. The area of medical dispatch and the role of Controllers has not received attention from PHECC commensurate with its important role in the provision of pre-hospital care.



Gabriel Glynn (Chair) LEMT/EMC WHB

John Beecher Independent Consultant

Gerry Bury Professor of General Practic

Sean Creamer (Chair) Clinical Care Committee

Brendan Crowley Controller, SEHB

Pat McCreanor Chief Ambulance Officer ERAS

William Merriman Controller, ERAS

John Moody Controller, DFB

Hugh O’Neill Assistant Chief Fire Office, DFB

Brian Power PHECC Programme

Development Officer

Joe Smith Communications Officer, NEHB


Accordingly, Council has established a Control Working Group, reporting to the Clinical Care Committee, to examine matters in relation to standards in education and training in control and emergency medical dispatch.

Terms of Reference:
  1. Determine the merit in proposing the awarding of National Qualification in Emergency Medical Technology (Controller);
  2. Identify the essential components of initial training and Continuing Professional Development (that need to be accommodated in drafting curricula); and
  3. Identify other issues in relation to Control that require definition and development and that are within PHECC’s remit, and recommend to Council how they might best be progressed.
To date this group has met three times. It has already recommended to Council the awarding of the NQEMT (Controller), and has undertaken to develop a suitable training framework to be recommended to Council. 
  It is important to note that the Control Working Group is tasked with making recommendations to Council on matters in relation to the education and training of Controllers. It is not giving consideration to matters such as how many Control Centres there should be or how many Controllers there should be in any Control Centre as these are matters outside of PHECC’s remit and given consideration more appropriately elsewhere. Recommendations for example on the number of Control Centres are part of the Strategic Review of the Ambulance Service 2001 (“CEOs Report”).

Currently PHECC is collating the various training that occurs in the Health Boards and Dublin Fire Brigade and awaiting research commissioned on medical despatch systems being undertaken by University College Dublin (UCD), for the information of the working group. 

It is anticipated that the Director Dr. Geoff King and the Chair Mr. Gabriel Glynn will soon be in a position to seek input from Controllers to inform and assist the CWG in this important work.

PHECC To Set New Standards IN 2004

Council approved an Expression of Interest (EOI) process by which the two recognised training institutions, the National Ambulance Training School (NATS) and Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) were approached with a view to reviewing components of the “National Ambulance Standards 1995” as it applies to the Recognition of Training Institutions and Approval of Courses and developing new components to produce a draft, new “Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Standards 2004”

The draft is to be used by PHECC for consultation purposes with pre-hospital emergency care providers including through the PHECC Committee process.

It is envisaged that the drafting of the document and the consultation process will:

Review the current EMT course (performance standard, course length and content) e.g.

is the length of the experiential component too long or too short? and is it too unstructured? and of too variable content and quality?

does the obstetric component need revising in the context of increasing centralisation of obstetric services and declining availability of midwives to accompany ambulances? does the communication skills component need to be strengthened? does clinical record writing and management need to be included?

are laryngeal mask airways a new technology with a role in basic life support?

should IV cannulation be included?

(Continued in next column..)
  should access to a broader range of drugs be considered e.g. salbutamol, glucagon, adrenaline in addition to the current aspirin, glucose gel, GTN and nitrous oxide?

how should driver training standards be addressed?

Include the PHECC’s draft Tutor Framework Standard (originally drafted by an external consultant and PHECC) which is currently out for consultation;

Include appropriate standards for Emergency Medical First Responder and Community AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) courses. DFB in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) were successful in the EOI process and the Director of PHECC is taking personal responsibility for guiding the drafting of the consultation document and the consultation process that will follow.

NATS have agreed to assist DFB in drafting the consultation document; this has been welcomed by PHECC and DFB. Both training institutions, DFB and NATS, will receive funding to facilitate their involvement.