Changes to Protocol 36

Norwich AOC call handler July 2019

Many of you have contacted us in relation to the use of the Pandemic protocol (Protocol 36) within the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) and whether this is still necessary. We have taken your feedback on board and we have been working nationally to look at alternative ways of working, whilst COVID-19 is still ongoing. 

From 26th October 2021, EMDs are to triage 999 calls using the most appropriate chief complaint for the patient’s condition from Protocols 1 – 34. Protocol 36 should no longer be used as standard in place of Protocols 6 (Breathing Problems), 10 (Chest Pain), 18 (Headache) and 26 (Sick Person). 

Protocol 36 will still remain active for a call where the patients presenting condition is COVID-19 and where the patient is calling in with an SPO2 reading with no other symptoms.


  • Male complaining of crushing chest pains – Protocol 10
  • Female wheezing with shortness of breath – Protocol 06
  • Male constipated – Protocol 26
  • Male on a virtual ward with an SP02 reading of 93% - Protocol 36
  • Female on a virtual ward gasping for breath with an SPO2 reading of 92% - Protocol 06 – 06E01

Please read the EMD sections of the ESOP for full details.

There are no direct implications to our dispatch processes, and we will still follow the procedures outlined in ESOP25 and ESOP69. Screening of patients who may have COVID-19 will still take place to support the protection of our staff and this information still needs to be passed to the attending crews. However, we will see an increase in self mobilisation of our Community First Responders and in line with the exclusion criteria, we must ensure that CFRs are not responding to known COVID-19 positive patients.

Published 26th October 2021

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