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Point-of-care ultrasound at Role 1: is it time for a rethink?
  1. Patrick G A Duncan and
  2. J Mackey
  1. Department of Anaesthesia, Army Medical Services, Camberley, UK
  1. Correspondence to Patrick G A Duncan, Department of Anaesthesia, Army Medical Services, Camberley GU15 4PQ, UK; patrick.duncan{at}


Introduction The past 20 years have seen a rapid increase in point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) use in the prehospital sphere. However, in the British Army there is no POCUS capability in the Defence Primary Healthcare (DPHC) or deployed Role 1 setting. POCUS can improve diagnostic capability, influence management decisions and transfer destination, and is a useful triage tool in mass casualty management.

Method A survey on POCUS use was sent to 279 clinicians working in the Role 1, civilian prehospital and Defence Primary Healthcare environments. Questions explored current levels of experience and training, indications for use and attitudes towards roll out. Results were analysed using a mixed methods approach.

Results There were 124 respondents (279 recipients; 44.4% response rate). 74.2% (92 respondents) had no experience of using POCUS while 9.7% (12 respondents) were classed as frequent users. The four most common indications for prehospital POCUS were abdominal, cardiac and lung imaging and vascular access. The majority of respondents felt that POCUS would add value in the deployed Role 1 environment; this was even more evident in the frequent user group. Common concerns were difficulty maintaining currency, governance burden and uncertainty over impact on management.

Conclusion The majority of doctors surveyed feel that POCUS would add value at Role 1 and is a capability that should be developed. The authors will watch with interest the progress of Project MORPHO.

  • accident & emergency medicine
  • ultrasound
  • telemedicine
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  • Contributors PGAD carried out the survey and analysis of results, JM carried out a literature review. Both contributed towards writing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data available upon reasonable request to the corresponding author.

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