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Introduction

This information is for primary healthcare staff calling an ambulance in areas covered by St John.

  •  It is vital that the priority of ambulance response is proportional to the severity of the patient's clinical condition.
  •  Unfortunately, most requests for an emergency ambulance response are for clinical conditions that are not immediately life threatening.

The correct number to call when requesting an ambulance

We request that healthcare personnel phone 0800 262 665 when requesting an ambulance. This is because we have recently enhanced our system to ensure that whenever possible, calls coming in on this number are answered by a clinician in order to ensure the most appropriate response for the patient.

We need to work together for the safety of our patients.

For the safety of all of our patients it is vital that the priority of ambulance response is proportional to the severity of their clinical condition. If a patient in a medical centre or aged care facility with a clinical condition that is not immediately life threatening gets a high priority response, then our response to a patient in the community with a greater need may be delayed and this may impair their outcome.

It is therefore important that whenever possible, a clinically trained person such as a nurse or a doctor calls for the ambulance. If another person such as a receptionist is asked to call, please ensure they have all the available information. During times of significant demand, one of our clinical personnel may call back to speak with a nurse or doctor and ask clarifying questions. This will only take 1–2 minutes and will enable us to arrange the most appropriate response.

What if the Paramedic is already on a call?

We understand that call volumes may be greater than what we can manage at any one time. Please be assured that all calls to the 0800 262 665 line are answered as soon as possible. If the caller has pushed '1' (because the patient's condition is immediately life-threatening) and the Paramedic is unavailable (for example, is on another call), then the call will be immediately diverted to a 111 Call Handler. You may then receive a call back once the Paramedic is available if additional information is required.

For more information

Below you can download a one-page document entitled 'Requesting an ambulance' that describes typical priorities of ambulance response to different clinical conditions. Please share this with your staff and display it in an appropriate area, noting that it is not intended for public view.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please send them to St John Medical Director Dr Tony Smith at clinical.excellence@stjohn.org.nz

Resources:

Download our printable sticker graphic here.

Download the Requesting an Ambulance A4 Poster here.

Download this page in printable form here.

Download the Ambulance request form here.

TXT 111