June 2014 - case study 1

Date: 31 May 2014

  • Details:

    A 999 call was made by a relative on behalf of a patient who was suffering from abdominal symptoms. The call was coded as ‘Green 4’ (may require further telephone assessment of condition within 60 minutes or a non-blue light response within 90 minutes). A call back was made and the call was upgraded to requiring an emergency response. A Paramedic attended and requested the highest priority back-up ambulance. The complainant was unhappy that an ambulance was not sent after the first call, as the patient required emergency major surgery.

  • Findings:

    The investigation found that the call was correctly coded as Green 4, a call-back was made within three minutes, the Paramedic arrived promptly, followed by an ambulance. However, no patient should be coded as ‘Green 4’ if the highest priority back-up ambulance is subsequently found to be required if their condition is the same as at the time of the original call.

  • Lesson learnt / action taken:

    The call codings are set by the Department of Health, and the triage system (AMPDS) used by the Trust is used by most ambulance services in the UK and internationally. This issue was highlighted to AMPDS by the Trust and the protocols that led to the coding of ‘Green 4’ will be reviewed.

  • Date:
    30 May 2014