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Availability of Healthcare Information in an Emergency and the Importance of a Medical ID

by Dr Masha Finn(more info)

listed in medical conditions, originally published in issue 275 - January 2022

We never know when a medical emergency may strike so preparing for one is the best way to safe guard ourselves and our  loved ones. It's not about worrying unnecessarily, it’s about giving peace of mind.

Are you Prepared for A Medical Emergency?

The pandemic has changed the way we think about daily life and has even caused us to worry more than usual with 57% of Brits reporting symptoms of anxiety that they didn’t have before COVID-19 hit* - but how can we ease our worrying about our own and our loved one’s health? Being prepared for a medical emergency is not about expecting the worst and worrying unnecessarily, but instead it’s about making preparations to provide yourself with a sense of security and peace of mind, so you can enjoy the best that life has to offer.

ACTAS Paramedics transport a mock-victim during a mass casualty exercise in Canberra.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

ACTAS Paramedics transport a mock-victim during a mass casualty exercise in Canberra.


Taking the necessary steps to help keep yourself prepared for the small but potential chance of a medical emergency can help both yourself and loved ones in a crisis. As an  Emergency Medicine Consultant and Trustee at medical ID charity, MedicAlert, Dr Masha Finn offers top tips which are simple to implement and can provide freedom to those living with a medical condition so they can live a better quality of life.

  1. Ensure emergency contacts are up to date
    Emergencies can happen at any time and in any place, so ensuring you and your loved ones’ emergency contacts are easily accessible and up to date is essential. Most of us keep our emergency contacts in our phones, which are password protected, so including a small card, such as a MedicAlert Wallet Card, with emergency contact details in your wallet or handbag is a good way to ensure those first to the scene know who to contact after they dial 999;
  2. Consider a lock box for emergency access to homes
    Whilst, of course, emergency services can and will knock down a door if needed, it can be very distressing for those in need. Instead, those living in sheltered communities might want to look at installing a lockbox which can provide access to their home in case of an emergency, and they aren’t able to get to the door. A lockbox will mean that trusted people, such as loved ones or those in the community living space can have access to the code and will be able to open the front door without causing too much damage or distress.
  3. Consider a medical ID
    Medical ID memberships are a great way to offer peace of mind to both those with a medical condition and also to their loved ones. MedicAlert offers a selection of medical ID jewellery that provides access to your full health record and vital medical information, so first responders can make appropriate care decisions based on your individual needs. This means that you’re giving yourself the best chance possible, as medical staff can provide the right treatment based on your medical history – what’s more, all NHS staff are trained to recognise the MedicAlert symbol so will be prepared to act in an emergency;
  4. Ensure dependents are taken care of
    The first thing many people may worry about when they find themselves in an emergency is their everyday commitments, such as children, older dependents or pets, so ensure you have a plan in place which ensures they are taken care of if you do find yourself in hospital for a period of time. MedicAlert membership provides the ability to store information surrounding dependents and commitments on their confidential system, which in an emergency will be revealed to those caring for you. This means you won’t need to worry about who will pick the kids up from school, feed your cat or take your dog for a walk if you do find yourself in an emergency – you can instead focus on your recovery. It also allows for next-of-kin contact details to be stored securely, allowing those closest to you to be contacted and kept updated;
  5. Prepare an emergency admission bag
    If the worst does happen and an emergency strikes, make sure you are ready for a hospital trip. Preparing an overnight bag for both yourself and loved one including a toothbrush, a change of clothes and any comfort items like special pyjama’s or a blanket can make a world of difference to both carers and those with medical issues who might find themselves taking an unexpected trip to the hospital. Making sure this bag is packed and ready to go at any time can help you feel organised if you do need to get to the hospital in a hurry.



Further Information

MedicAlert helps to save lives by retaining and relaying members’ vital medical information to healthcare professionals, in an emergency. With the help of their medical ID jewellery, this offers peace of mind to members by giving people the chance to prepare for an emergency.

For more information please contact MedicAlert on Tel: 01908 951045:



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About Dr Masha Finn

Dr Masha Finn has held positions as a senior clinician within the NHS and is an experienced Consultant in Emergency Medicine for over a decade. Masha is the private healthcare Lead Doctor for Sussex Police, working to improve safety in custody. She has a depth of experience in managing change within complex situations and an ability to bring disparate partners together to achieve common goals. She is passionate about delivering high-value services to our members and brings a strategic vision to the board from a medical viewpoint. She is Vice-Chair Trustee of MedicAlert and may be contacted via Tel: 01908 951045:


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