Guidance on managing frequent callers

Our frequent caller team and ECAT have put together some guidance relating to how we care for known frequent callers.

There appears to be some ongoing confusion amongst front line operational staff relating to the attendance process for known regular callers who are managed on an ambulance plan.

A lot of this confusion is around the wording of our known regular caller CAD markers and ambulance’s being dispatched on non-CAT 1 calls for these patients.

Following an ECAT clinical telephone triage, an ambulance may be dispatched to a known regular caller on any category of call as decided by the ECAT clinician.

The following is a brief snapshot of the management plan process when a 999 call is received. 

Any 999 or 111 call received by EEAST which is identified as coming from someone who has a current known regular caller plan in place is handled as follows:

  • All emergency calls identified as being for a frequent caller will initially be triaged in ambulance control as per the normal call handling process
  • Any call prioritised as a life-threatening emergency (Category 1) will immediately be responded to in line with normal deployment guidelines
  • For lower acuity calls, following confirmation that there is no immediate threat to life and if there is a specific plan identified via the CAD markers (flags) system, the call will be passed to an ECAT Clinician within the control room to triage further
  • The patient may be encouraged to access alternative pathways, or use home treatments and no ambulance response will be dispatched
  • For Triage Every Time plans this process will happen for every call received from the frequent caller
  • For Standard and Time Specific plans if an ambulance attendance is deemed appropriate the frequent caller will receive a maximum of one face to face assessment per 4/8/12/24-hour period dependent on the plan type.
  • The frequent caller may, in exceptional circumstances, receive more than one ambulance attendance within the given time frame should further calls arise which are deemed a clinical risk by the on duty EOC clinical management team.

If an ambulance crew has attended a known regular caller and it has been identified after assessment, that they do not require a hospital admission or the known regular caller refuses to go to hospital the crew should notify EOC, or the ECAT team, that the patient will be remaining at home with a brief explanation as to why they are not being conveyed. 

This can be done either via notes being added to the ambulance MDT or by calling CAL and taking option 4 to speak with an ECAT admin assistant who will add your notes to the call. 

This is necessary so that the call can be kept open within ECAT to identify any further calls that are received so they can be dealt with appropriately as per the individual’s frequent caller plan.

For full details of how we manage these patients please read the Trust’s policy for managing frequent callers which is viewable via EAST24 or our external website and is titled ‘The Policy for the Management of Patients with Defined Individual Needs’.

Published 17th September 2019

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