Nightclub Medics - What is a Nightclub Medic and what training do they have?


image © copyright 2014 Dean Zielinski

What is a Nightclub Medic?

Nightclub Medics bridge the gap between First Aiders and hospital care and provide a service to nightclubs, licensed premises and club related events. They do not take over the role of statutory services (eg. Paramedics, Nurses and Doctors). Nightclub Medics enhance on the first aid provision by providing the service to fully assess/monitor and treat patients and to provide an enhanced level of emergency medical care – providing incredible benefits to your venue.

Nightclub Medics provide the capability to fully assess and monitor patients which is incredibly vital when dealing with potential medical emergencies as well as alcohol and drug intoxication – as symptoms can mimic those of many other conditions and medical emergencies. They can therefore treat more appropriately on-site, heavily reducing 999 ambulance calls and referrals to hospital. They also have a responsibility to ensure other club staff are informed and trained in the toxicity of recreational drugs and the common features seen in individuals becoming unwell through these.

Our relationship with local authorities.

The term ‘Nightclub Medic’ is common throughout England as it has become a necessary resource, as pushed by the NHS and local authorities, to deploy medical staff to clubs. We are bringing this (primarily) to Scotland’s largest city – Glasgow, in partnership with and in support of senior NHS Scotland staff and local authorities. We are aiming to work jointly towards promoting and creating a safer nightlife – drafting up further guidelines and guidance on the operations of a Nightclub Medic and the awareness and treatment of recreational drug toxicity.

What are the benefits?

  • Highly trained on-site uniformed professionals providing incredibly high standards of care to your patrons.
  • Reduced 999 ambulance calls.
  • Reduced blue light presence.
  • Less licencing issues due to a reduced presence.
  • Reassurance to yourselves and your patrons that professional care is at hand to staff, patrons and VIPs.
  • Allows named First Aiders (Door staff, bar staff etc) to focus on their role, with the reassurance that all First Aid & Medical incidents are being looked after.
  • Our close relationship with local authorities, including nursing & medical staff at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary A&E department.
  • A team of the most passionate, honest, reliable and skilled staff in the industry.

Where we work.

Our Nightclub Medics work within nightclubs and at any music related events (eg. outdoor raves and music festivals) where there are high expectations of drug and/or alcohol consumption. At music events our Nightclub Medics are an excellent supplement to First Aid provision and prove to be an invaluable resource.

(Creative Commons) Photo by TheArches on Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/f1MAxH

 Festival Case Study.

With a crew of our Nightclub Medics based within each First Aid post at a major music festival, managing the First Aid post alongside First Aiders, we could immediately heavily reduce ambulance calls and hospital referrals, and provide more pro-active and life-saving treatment on-site.

Symptoms of drug & alcohol intoxication mimic those of many other conditions and medical emergencies, meaning more patrons will be sent to hospital via 999 ambulance (rightly so) for precaution. Using recreational drugs can also induce conditions such a hypoglycemia, hyperthermia and seizures. By using Nightclub Medics, they can assess and monitor patients at an enhanced level to prevent these conditions from deteriorating and treat them on-site, and to prevent unnecessary 999 ambulance calls and hospital referrals. Nightclub  Medics have enhanced training in recreational drug use and know what’s in circulation nationally and in the local area, a knowledge which is often passed to those we work alongside including Security, First Aiders and Paramedics.

Key Activities.

(Home Office ‘Safer Nightlife’ guide):

  • Awareness of the current trends in recreational drug use and any particular patterns in drug use within their venue.
  • Understand the toxicity associated with the various categories of recreational drugs and the common presenting features associated with them.
  • Assessing and managing patients with recreational drug toxicity using the Ambulance Referral Guidelines as well as clinical guidelines.
  • Training of other club staff in the toxicity of recreational drugs and common features seen in individuals becoming unwell through recreational drugs.
  • Liaising with other club staff to ensure that venues are appropriately patrolled to identify individuals who have or may be developing recreational drug toxicity.
  • Maintaining club medic room facilities so that they are appropriately equipped and staffed at all times.
  • Awareness of medical issues relating to Chapter 5 and in particular, where appropriate, local availability and guidance concerning post-exposure prophylaxis.
  • Ensuring that their personal training in first aid/medical is sufficient to be able to deliver a safe and appropriate service, not just for assessing individuals with recreational drug toxicity but also those who may require medical assistance for other reasons.

-Webster, R (2008). Safer Nightlife. London: Home Office, London Drug Policy Forum, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. p78-79.

Training Standards.

In addition to vast First Aid and clinical experience, and holding the right passionate and positive attitude to working in this unique environment; our Nightclub Medics undergo training in ;

  • Immediate Life Support. Defibrillation. Patient assessment. Medical gases.  Airway management. Suction. Spinal immobilisation. Advanced care of medical and traumatic illnesses or injuries.
  • Patient Monitoring: All staff are trained in the basic monitoring of patients including; Respiratory & Cardiac Monitoring, Blood Pressure, Temperature, Blood Glucose and Glasgow Coma Scale.
  • Alcohol & Drug Intoxication: We maintain a positive and effective approach to dealing with alcohol & drug intoxication. Our level of care is maintained for all patients presenting with all conditions. Our expertise and experience in recreational drug use allows us to treat those involved more effectively and pro-actively, using continually researched & developed guidelines.
  • Drug Awareness: Our staff are kept fully up to date with the current drugs and batches on the market/in circulation. They are fully aware of their effects, presented symptoms, risks and treatment according to local and national clinical guidelines.
  • Triage: Our staff have worked in extremely busy environments and can confidently and safely triage and treat high levels of patrons.  This is followed by our judgement for the patient’s further needs; whether this be discharge home, returning to the event, to local ‘SOS Bus’ services or to A&E via taxi or ambulance. We will assist patients to their route of referral to ensure they are sent home safely with minimal risk. We also plan and prepare for Major Incidents which is vital for the incredibly large venues we cover in the heart of Glasgow City Centre.

About our staff.

Our staff can work independently or as part of a team – depending on the venue’s requirements, risk assessments, capacity etc. We can fully risk assess an event to determine the resources and staffing required to meet the needs of both yourself and your patrons.

All staff who are contracted to work on behalf of West Coast EMS are; insured and governed to their certificated skill level, PVG Scheme members, in-date with all certification and undertake all above mandatory training. They all have experience working in the events/nightclub industry and hold the perfect attitude and approach to dealing with all situations presented in this unique environment. We fully understand the unique approach required to work in this type of environment, hence why we provide a small and trusted team you, your staff and your patrons can rely on.

We maintain our excellent standards by ensuring the service we provide is reliable, trusted and of top quality.

Please note; we are not an ambulance/private ambulance service nor do we replace any statutory emergency services. We do not transport patients to hospital. We do however have the judgement to decide which service a patient requires and route of referral, whether that be delegating care to a friend/relative, to A&E via taxi, NHS 24 or A&E via 999 ambulance. We also have the ability to provide Immediate Life Support in the event of a medical emergency to stabilise the patient until further medical help arrives (999 Ambulance).