Do you know who is handling your emergency call?
Did you know that if an emergency call is classified as ‘low priority’ then the first responder may be a Community Risk Intervention Team (CRIT) made up of former soldiers and firemen with three weeks’ training and telephone access to a paramedic? This is worrying enough but ‘low priority’ includes, according to the report we saw, first-on-scene attendance in the case of heart attacks and also falls where no ‘serious injury’ has been sustained.
One obvious problem is that the patient will not actually have received a clinical assessment so, for example, an evolving intracranial haemorrhage following an apparently minor fall might not be identified; or a pulmonary embolism mistaken for a heart attack. This scheme is being piloted in Greater Manchester with a view to being extended next year.