Trust joins pilot that sees extra 999 call triage time

Chelmsford HEOC

Next week the Trust is joining a national pilot that aims to give patients a more clinically appropriate response to people who call 999 for our help.

Under the Ambulance Response Programme (ARP), we will have 240 seconds to gain information from the caller (compared to our current 60 seconds) before ‘clock start’, allowing us to better assess the most appropriate response for that patient.

All ambulance services have been invited to join this stage of the programme, following initial trials in the first pilot sites, and here at EEAST we’ll be going live on Tuesday (4th October).

Callers of 999, our patients and patient-facing colleagues don’t need to do anything differently, but you should notice benefits and improvements in care as a result of the pilot, with fewer stand-downs.

Under the pilot, we’ll have a maximum clock start time of 240 seconds for all calls except predicted or confirmed Red 1s. This is called ‘Dispatch on Disposition’, and will mean that we have more time to find out exactly what’s wrong with the patient before we dispatch a resource - and make sure they get the most appropriate response for their needs. In turn, that should mean fewer stand-downs for crews.

In addition, call handlers will be asking three new questions at the start of the call, which are designed to help us recognise imminent or confirmed cardiac arrests more quickly.

Gary Morgan, Deputy Director (EOC), said: “We hope that by joining this pilot, we will see a positive impact for both EOC and patient-facing colleagues, as well as benefits our patients.

“I would like to thank the EOC teams for their work to implement this change, and we look forward to hearing feedback which we can then use to review the pilot going forwards.”

Want to know more? Download our handy FAQ guide on the ambulance response programme here on East24 (please be aware you’ll only be able to access this from a Trust computer).

Our EOC teams should have received a briefing about the programme, plus a dedicated training document to help guide you through the changes for call handlers and dispatchers. If you haven’t had a copy but need one, please contact

Published 29th September, 2016


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