On-call Diagnostics Course

The purpose of this one day course – On-call Diagnostics: a Survival Guide – is to improve the confidence of doctors when interpreting ECGs, radiological images and medical tests, particularly when on-call.

Morning sessions will improve delegates’ understanding of ABGs and electrolytes in the acute setting, and effective reading of chest x-rays and CT brains.

The afternoon sessions will offer outstanding ECG training, covering ECGs that doctors may encounter when on-call. This includes patients with acute coronary syndromes, tachycardia, bradycardia or miscellaneous rhythm abnormalities and oddities.

Course Director and speaker Dr Simon Fynn, Clinical Director of Cardiology at Papworth Hospital, says: “Identification of the correct rhythm is vital if a patient is to be managed appropriately. The sessions will cover rhythm abnormalities in detail, including broad and narrow complex tachycardias and heart block.

“By the end of the day, delegates will be able to approach ECGs with renewed confidence, and will be able to deal more effectively with cardiac conditions. The course is not just about diagnosis, there will also be discussion of the management of relevant conditions.”

This course is relevant to all junior doctors who are on the on-call rota.

The next On-call Diagnostics Course will be scheduled in the near future. Tickets are £150 each, and include lunch and refreshments.

Delegates must purchase their ticket prior to the event. Email us for payment details on admin@cambridgemedicine.org.uk

This is a highly popular event, and we only have limited places – so, if you want to attend, don’t delay in making contact.


 Speaker Programme


9.25am-10.10am Acute Electrolyte Disturbance Dr Francesca Swords

Hyponatraemia is the most common electrolyte imbalance in hospitals. Acute severe hyponatrameia can lead to coma and death if not managed carefully. This talk offers a practical approach to interpretation and emergency management of the commonest electrolyte imbalances – hypo and hypernatraemia, hypo and hyperkalaemia and hypo and hypercalcaemia. Additionally, the session will address the most common diabetes emergencies.

10.10am-10.55am Mastering the Chest X-ray Dr Tristan Barrett

The chest x-ray remains the most frequently requested radiology investigation in all general hospitals, enabling the physician to rule out or detect a number of pathologies. Accurate interpretation requires an understanding of the basic physics and anatomical concepts. This talk will provide a grounding in these underlying principles to enable the trainee to confidently interpret the chest radiograph. Candidates will be provided with practical tips on how to interpret commonly encountered conditions, such as chest infection, pneumothorax, and heart failure.

11.20am-12.05pm Understanding ABGs Dr Francesca Swords

Arterial blood gas analysis is traditionally used to assess for respiratory failure. Modern use of venous blood gases offers a dramatic improvement into the assessment of the acutely ill patient. This talk will explore new uses for this rapid diagnostic tool for example in sepsis, poisoning, heart failure,  diabetic emergencies, and other critically ill patients.

12.05pm-12.50pm CT Brain – when to be worried Dr Tristan Barrett

CT brain is the commonest out-of-hours CT requested. Access to a radiologist for formal reporting may be limited at this time and acute assessment of these studies is now expected, particularly for physicians working in A&E, elderly care, neurology and neurosurgery. A systematic approach to interpretation is provided, along with examples of intra-cranial trauma, hyperacute stroke, and space occupying lesions. This overview will enable the delegate to feel confident about recognising specific CT brain abnormalities.



1.50pm-2.20pm The Patient with Tachycardia Dr Simon Fynn

Tachycardia is a common cardiological presentation. For some patients this can be life-threatening, with imminent cardiac arrest. It is vitally important that trainees are able to undertake basic interpretation of the ECG in this setting. As their knowledge, understanding and confidence with ECGs improves, they will be able to elucidate the mechanism of the tachycardia. This session will cover the basics of interpretation of the ‘tachycardia ECG’ and beyond.

2.20pm-2.50pm The Patient with Collapse Dr Simon Fynn

For any trainee who has worked in the A&E, seeing the patient with ‘collapse ? cause’ is a common scenario. Although for many patients the cause may be innocuous, for some there may be a significant underlying cardiac problem. Cardiac differential diagnosis includes neurocardiogenic syncope, bradycardia, heart block, arrhythmia and long QT syndrome to name just a few. This ECG training session will cover these areas, paying particular attention to the ECG appearances of these conditions.

2.50pm-3.20pm Patient with Chest Pain/Breathlessness Dr Simon Fynn

All medical trainees are asked to see patients presenting with chest pain and/or breathlessness during their training. There are many possible causes of such a presentation and the ECG naturally forms an important part of the work-up of these patients. Acute myocardial infarction and cardiac ischaemia need to be recognised to facilitate immediate action. Patients with pulmonary embolus present but the diagnosis is often missed. This ECG training session will cover this important area of medicine.

3.45pm-4.45pm Big ECG Quiz – fingers on buzzers Dr Simon Fynn



Delegate Feedback:

Very good value event. Interesting and enjoyable day. Brilliant that it was held in a Central London location!

FY2, London

High quality lectures. Excellent programme. I feel much more confident on-call. Thank you!

ST3, Cambridge

May I thank you for organising this most welcome course, and the speakers for their excellent presentations which I can only describe as first class and second to none.

What was unique about this learning exercise was that, unlike most others, it was very much problem orientated and most relevant for the busy clinician on-call.

The presentations were informative and delivered with clarity and they will assist me immensely with my CPD.

GPwSI, Huddersfield