Establishing a national real-time ambulance syndromic surveillance system in England to support monitoring of the health impact of extreme weather
PHE ePoster Library. Packer S. Sep 12, 2019; 274288; 100
Simon Packer
Simon Packer
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Abstract
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Abstract Introduction
The National Ambulance Surveillance System (NASS), established in England 2018, is one of the first systems with national coverage of ambulance dispatch data relating to severe community health events. NASS collects 18 syndromes, including heat/cold-related illnesses, through chief presenting complaint (CPC) codes generated during an ambulance call. We aimed to determine the utility of NASS to monitor extreme temperature events for public health action.
Methods
All ambulance trusts provide daily line lists of CPC calls with demographics. The number of total and heat/cold CPC specific daily calls were described (median, IQR) between 01/04/2016-27/03/2019. Median heat/cold daily calls were compared across known temperature events (KTE) (significant temperature events identified a priori) and extreme temperature days (ETD) (within 5th or 95th central England temperature percentiles) occurring in 2018. Wilcoxon signed-rank test compared median daily calls between ETDs and non-ETDs.
Results
During the study period NASS compiled 12,585,084 calls and a median 11,398 calls (IQR: 10,327-12,868) per day. In 2018, median Heat/Cold daily calls were higher during KTE: heatwave (16/day, 736 total) and “Beast from the East” (28/day, 339 total) compared to all other days (6/day, 1672 total). Median number of Heat/Cold daily calls on ETDs (15/day) were significantly higher than non-ETDs (5/day, p<0.001). Discussion NASS data has the potential to quantify the health impacts of extreme temperature events. NASS has significant surveillance potential through national coverage and wide range of indicators. We recommend NASS is implemented into the existing PHE daily syndromic surveillance service to enhance routine surveillance activities. External funding details None
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