How Yorkshire Ambulance Service prioritises calls

Thanks to Plain Speaker readers who busied themselves with finding out about why Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) took over 7 hours to  pick up an elderly patient from her care home, where she was coughing up or vomiting dried blood.

When the ambulance finally turned up, an ambulance crew member told the patient’s grand daughter that the reason her nan waited over 7 hours for an ambulance to pick her up from her care home was because YAS no longer responds to Code 4 calls.

The patient’s care home called the ambulance when they noticed the patient was coughing up or vomiting dried blood. Around 7 hours later, an ambulance crew took her to hospital – and told the patient’s grand daughter, who came in with her, that it was only by accident that they’d picked up her nan at all, because they’d actually turned up at the care home to pick up another patient. The ambulance crew member also said the reason YAS had failed to respond to the care home’s call for the ambulance was due to the fact that YAS no longer responds to Code 4 calls.

Obviously the patient’s grand daughter and the ambulance crew didn’t have time to go into what this means – either, what a code 4 call is, or why YAS no longer responds to them.

But a Plain Speaker reader spoke to someone who works in A&E, who explained that they use the term Priority 1,2,3,4. P1 means need an ambulance immediately, P2 means needs an ambulance within an hour, and so on. P4 means needs an ambulance but can wait over 5-7 hours.

Another reader sent the link to YAS’s website where it explains how they respond to different categories of calls for ambulances – here. This shows that for “Green 3” and “Green 4” patients, whose condition is not considered to be life-threatening, YAS will organise a phone call from a clinical advisor within 20 minutes (P3) or 60 minutes (P4). And then will take it from there, depending on what the clinical advisor finds out from the phone call.



4 thoughts on “How Yorkshire Ambulance Service prioritises calls

  1. Thank you Jenny Shepard for doing this report on my nana. It seems like it is going to be growing concern for all public who are non emergency, but require medical treatment. Its scary to be involved in all this, and to find out all the information, that were being fed. What is the N.H.S coming to???

  2. I sent a complaint to the YAS as they refused to come and take my partner to hospital, she was in a bad way with serious stomach cramp and vomiting blood (sorry re detail but is relevant). They actually continued to refused to attend, a disgrace really, they are heading for a crisis due to management slashing services and we can only imagine the horror of this if they close the a and e in Calderdale. An investigation was undertaken by the management and I received a letter to say a member of staff had been suspended pending further investigation as they had wrongly prioritised my call. I think the bigger issue is though the cut backs and the stress staff are under, in general they do an awesome job and are very well respected still. This is one of the many many reasons we marched in Halifax yesterday to the hospital, services must be saved and not left to go further down a hell hole of neo liberalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.