Emergency tracheostomy

Emergency tracheostomy

Around 15,000 new tracheostomies are performed each year in England and Wales, usually as part of head & neck surgical care or for patients admitted to Intensive Care Units (ICU). Around two-thirds of patients with new tracheostomies come from the ICU, with some of these patients discharged to be cared for on wards outside the critical care or traditional 'ENT' infrastructure. Tracheostomies can be temporary or permanent in these groups.

Patients with tracheostomies and laryngectomies are living in our communities, sometimes in their own homes or with varying degrees of medical and nursing dependency. Community staff need to be able to safely care for the tracheostomy and these patients have frequent contact with healthcare service as inpatients and outpatients. Some paediatric patients need short or long term tracheostomies and many of these patients are transitioning across to adult services as they grow older.

All of these scenarios have implications for the safety of patients who may be managed in locations without the necessary equipment, infrastructure, competencies and expertise and local measures need to be in place to ensure that safe routine and emergency care can be provided.

The National Tracheostomy Safety Project (NTSP) has developed guidance to provide information to those caring for patients with temporary or permanent tracheostomies. Our resources aim to provide basic background information and the rationale for tracheostomy care. The NTSP have also developed simple universal emergency guidelines for dealing with tracheostomy emergencies. These algorithms and teaching resources can be found on the NTSP website www.tracheostomy.org.uk.

The Advanced Life Support Group has been working with the NTSP to deliver tracheostomy training to all multidisciplinary staff who might encounter patients with tracheostomies and laryngectomies.

We are currently focusing on providing training and resources to equip staff to teach tracheostomy safety courses in their own institutions. Our ‘Train the Trainer’ Courses demonstrate the content and resources of our provider course alongside specific educational strategies to help candidates deliver effective teaching at their own institutions. Expert medical educators work alongside experienced ALSG instructors to demonstrate skills and techniques used in ALSG Generic Instructor Courses, adapted to delivering tracheostomy course content. Candidates will be exposed to guided practice of small and large group facilitation of discussions and presentations, low fidelity emergency scenario simulation and performance of specific tracheostomy-related skills. There is some pre-course reading and e-learning and we ask candidates to prepare material to practice delivering in the day, with feedback.

Our aim is to ensure that tracheostomy education is provided to a high standard by training and facilitating effective teaching, wherever it is needed.

Course information

Please click on the following link to download the Tracheostomy course fact sheet with information on both the Primary and train the trainer courses.

Tracheostomy Fact sheet

How to book

The course dates for 2017 at ALSG in Manchester are now available for the train the trainer course:

Please click here to book.


There are currently no updates for the Tracheostomy course.


ALSG has been working with the NTSP for a number of years in trying to address some of the known problems in tracheostomy care through provision of education. The NCEPOD report highlights the scale of the problem.

Courses to consider

You may also wish to consider the following course(s):