Headlines: February 5th, 2003

Doctors have welcomed an e-Learning course which could save lives in hospital accident and emergency departments. The web-based course on basic emergency care has been developed jointly by the National electronic Library for Health (NeLH) and Doctors.net.uk.It focuses on the assessment and management of critical illnesses that A and E doctors are likely to encounter. It has been completed by 1,820 National Health Service doctors since its launch in December. Those who followed the course raised their baseline scores by an average of 21 points, and more than nine out of ten of them said they found it effective.

The e-Learning material was developed in response to a survey published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal in June last year. It found that many junior doctors were unfamiliar with basic emergency medical care.

Dr Ben Toth, Head of Knowledge Management at the NHS Information Authority, said, “Better access to knowledge and learning resources is clearly only part of the answer to the questions posed by the survey. But the uptake of this course shows that peer-developed e-Learning is practical and effective in the NHS.”

More than 80,000 NHS doctors are members of Doctors.net.uk and its chief executive, Dr Neil Bacon, said the company had welcomed the opportunity to work with NeLH on the project and was looking forward to developing more e-Learning courses this year.