November 2014 - case study 1

Date: 01 November 2014

  • Details:

    The patient had been visited by her GP who decided that she should go to hospital for further tests. An ambulance was arranged and when the Paramedic arrived, he expressed his opinion that the patient did not need to go to hospital. Concerns were raised as to why the Paramedic was questioning the GP’s decision. The Paramedic was dismissive and disrespectful of the family comments provided about the patient’s dementia. The complainant was distressed and upset with the attitude of the Paramedic and wanted to know if ambulance crews are warned in advance of patients having dementia.

  • Findings:

    The crew member was not a Paramedic but an Emergency Care Assistant employed by an Independent Private Ambulance Service (IPAS) contracted to response to lower priority calls for the East of England Ambulance Service.

    The Investigation Manager interviewed the attending crew. The Doctor did not leave any information or a letter to explain what the Doctor had found and the suggested treatment. The crew wanted to speak to the GP to ensure continued care on route and on arrival at hospital. The crew would not have been able to question the Doctor’s request for ambulance transport.

    When the call was made the ambulance service were not notified of the patient’s dementia. When the crew were interviewed and asked about their reasoning for making a vulnerable persons referral for the patient, they felt that she may be vulnerable due to the way the carer was behaving with them.

  • Lesson learnt / action taken:

    Further to this incident, memorandums have been sent to all of our Independent Ambulance Providers to remind them that they must convey the patient to the receiving destination as requested. Delaying on scene can often cause frustration and the crew have apologised if it felt like it was the case.

    The Investigating Manager has asked that both crew members be retrained to address the issues of professionalism, communication and customer care.

  • Date:
    01 November 2014