Knife crime: emergency care nurses lead groundbreaking project to improve survival rates in Liverpool

KnifeSavers team of emergency nurses and doctors have designed specialist bleeding control kits and offer free training in bid to save lives

KnifeSavers team of emergency nurses and doctors have designed specialist bleeding control kits and offer free training in bid to save lives

The KnifeSavers team of emergency care staff at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Emergency teams in Liverpool are taking a groundbreaking project to bars, clubs, schools and taxi drivers in a life-saving initiative to improve people’s survival rates from knife violence.

The KnifeSavers team of nurses and doctors have designed specialist bleeding control kits, which are being placed around the region, along with free training sessions by staff from a local emergency department showing workers how to use it.

‘If even one life is saved thanks to the KnifeSavers project then it is worth it,’ said Rob Jackson, emergency nurse clinician at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, part of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

‘While some people survive multiple stab wounds, the last seven people killed by a knife in the city have died from a single stab wound.

Emergency nursing care training for bleeding control kits 

‘The night-time economy in Liverpool is booming, and while the problem of knife crime is no worse here than anywhere else, we want to educate young people and give venues access to basic equipment too.

‘Bars, clubs and restaurants have been fantastic in joining together and supporting KnifeSavers by taking part in training and keeping the specialist bleeding control kits on hand.’

Bleeding control kits cost £96 and contain scissors, gloves, tourniquets and trauma dressings, as well as military grade gauze and chest wound sealant, which entitle purchasers to free training. A free KnifeSavers app is available to download.

Mr Jackson, who started delivering knife crime talks to schools 11 years ago and has now spoken to 130,000 young people, said: ‘We use mannequins for training to help demonstrate an open arterial wound or facial or chest wounds.’

Effective step to improving the chance of survival

KnifeSavers was set up by Nikhil Misra, a consultant general and trauma surgeon at Aintree University Hospital where a major trauma centre serving Merseyside and Cheshire is based.

Dr Misra said: ‘Equipping people with the knowledge and tools to prevent massive blood loss at the scene of the stabbing is the single most effective step we can take towards improving the chances of survival for victims.’

Around 50 Liverpool black cab drivers have been receiving training in bleeding control from the Aintree trauma centre and will carry kits and display a sticker. Pub Invest Group is funding the packs for black cab drivers, who work in the city centre and often witness incidents.

‘By working with partners across the city like this we can make a difference,’ said Dr Misra.

‘Having so many drivers now carrying bleeding control kits has extended the reach of our campaign and I hope that, following the training from our team, the drivers will have the confidence to intervene should they see an incident while they are out on the road.’

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Carol Davis is a health writer

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