Objective: To determine levels of confidence in the management of surgical airway emergencies by junior ENT staff.
Design: Telephone survey.
Participants: 100 Senior House Officers (SHOs) from 100 hospitals in the UK, providing 24 hour first on-call emergency ENT cover.
Method: A list of questions was put to participants. The effects of different variables on confidence with airway emergencies and what SHOs considered to be adequate training were compared.
Results: Most SHOs provided cover for the management of surgical airway emergencies. Many of the participants were not confident to handle airway emergencies or felt that their training was inadequate. As expected, the amount of previous experience in ENT and the ability to perform advanced airway procedures gave SHOs greater confidence, but attendance at airway courses did not.
Conclusion: Confidence in the management of airway problems is variable and does not correlate well with perceived adequacy of training. We suggest that systems of training in airway management are improved. Training issues may be better approached at an individual level, where deficiencies can be addressed.