Crying “wolf” once too often
Regular readers will know that I am not a big fan of the AMPDS system our Control now uses to ‘aid’ dispatchers. I’ve blogged before how so many calls seem to be categorised as ‘life-threatening’ only for us to find that the unconscious patient is the one who opens the door (see earlier blogs; here, here and here). In fact AMPDS appears so over cautious in its triaging protocols that the merest hint of a cold, a cough, or cut to the head will get you an 8 minute ‘A’ cat response.
Welsh Ambulance Service chief executive Alan Murray made the point in his Ambulance Today interview that…
“If we expect EMS crews to respond immediately to 999 calls they have a right to know we won’t abuse that responsiveness.” (see here)
I think many of my colleagues would agree that our responsiveness is being abused. In fact so may calls now come over as Cat ‘A’ – life threatening that staff just roll their eyes and go “yeah, whatever”. Complacency has set in. Control have cried ‘wolf’ once too often.
Now I’ve not been up to Control for a while mainly because the control manager and I loathe each other (see here). Anecdotal reports suggest that part of the problem might be that caller takers ask leading questions.
Consider; you have a cold with a bunged up nose and a cough.
Can you breath? – of course!
What’s you chief complaint? – I’ve got a cold.
Are you having difficulty breathing? – yeah my nose is bunged up!
Does your chest hurt? – Well it does when I cough.
Ah! so you’ve got chest pain with difficulty breathing! According to AMPDS, you’re an ‘A’ cat – life threatening call. An RRV and fully crewed 5 tonne ambulance are, even as we speak, hurtling their way through the rush-hour traffic on blue-lights and sirens to get to you.
What a load of bollox!