Optimising prehospital critical care dispatch

An investigation of the opportunities and challenges in critical care resource allocation.


An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the College of Health Sciences and Society, UWE Bristol.  The studentship will be funded by UWE Bristol and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Service. This studentship is open to UK students only.

Ref: 2324-OCT-HSS16

The expected start date of this studentship is 1 October 2023.

The closing date for applications is 15 August 2023.

Studentship details

NHS ambulance services in England attended 7.9 million patients in 2020/21. It is estimated that 0.5% (40,000) of this caseload could benefit from prehospital critical care.

Emergency Medical Service (EMS) specialist critical care practitioners are trained and educated to treat the most seriously ill and injured patients and to provide enhanced decision-making support.  Effective SCCR allocation improves the outcomes of patients, but evidence suggests that the dispatch of SCCR based on computer aided dispatch (CAD) software is not effective and that clinician involvement in SCCR allocation is warranted. 

SCCR are expensive finite resources that provide lifesaving interventions. This PhD seeks to explore how EMS dispatch of SCCR can be improved. 

Intended Outcomes

  • A systematic scoping review to establish an understanding of the existing body of knowledge relating to critical care resource allocation.
  • Stakeholder to understand the opportunities and challenges in critical care resource allocation.
  • A retrospective observational study to understand critical resource allocation.
  • Qualitative content analysis of EMS calls to understand if there are trigger words/phrases that might alert a dispatcher that a critical resource allocation might be warranted.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Kim Kirby at kim.kirby@uwe.ac.uk.


The studentship is available from 1 October 2023 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £18,622 (2023/24) per annum. Applications to study part time are welcome. 

Full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years, or the equivalent part time (Home). 


Applicants must have a minimum upper second class undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant health sciences discipline and ideally will have relevant master’s degree or other evidence of postgraduate research experience.

This studentship is open to UK students only.

A recognised English language qualification is required.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2324-OCT-HSS16.

Supporting documentation: please upload a covering letter with details of any research experience, your interest in this subject area and the reason you would like to complete a PhD. You will also need to upload your degree certificates and transcripts and a recognised English language qualification is required.

References: please provide details of two referees. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Your referee will be asked for a reference at the time you submit your application, so please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references within 14 days of your application being submitted.

Closing date

The closing date for applications is 15 August 2023.

Further Information

It is expected that interviews will take place in September 2023. If you have not heard from us by October 2023, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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