I've mentioned before how some addresses are 'flagged' as dangerous, when a crew goes to an address and gets punched, kicked, spat at or otherwise abused they return to station, fill in a form and that address is then flagged.
We will still go to these addresses, but the police will normally be called first, we then wait around the corner until the police turn up and we go to the patient together.

The police have a similar system, but it's much wider in scope, and we don't have access to it because we are an 'essential' and not an 'emergency' service.

When an address shows up as 'flagged' the crew are informed that they should wait for the police to turn up…

…So why then, did I turn up to a flagged address, have a chat with the patient, and then, a couple of minutes later, I opened the door to the police and the ambulance crew? Could it possibly be because no-one told me it was a flagged address?

I heard the crew being told that the address was flagged, and that they shouldn't approach, but as I didn't know what call they were going on I couldn't have known that it also should have applied to me. The FRU desk which handles my jobs should have told me about the address and given me the same advice, but that didn't happen.

At the end of the day, I was alright (the patient is well known to me, if only because he is a neighbour of mine) – but when I called the FRU desk to ask why I wasn't told about the dangerous address the best answer I got was a 'Sorry about that- are you alright?'.

I know it gets busy up in Control (especially last night – everyone was busy), I also know that communication between the Sector desks (who control the ambulances in the area) and the FRU desk (who coordinate the RRU's across the whole of London) is often not brilliant – but this is the sort of thing that could lead to really bad things happening…

…bad things happening to me.

4 thoughts on “Flagged”

  1. That's rubbish and I know they are all probably hard pushed but really! Surely that is all part of their job to sort this sort of stuff out ? Were you put at risk? Sounds a bit odd.

  2. Hmnn…rubbish or the reality of a comms centre struggling with ever increasing workload? Mistakes happen…unfortunately. It is a shame that the flagged details do not come down the MDT automatically as that would prevent the need for a busy dispatcher to have to actively review all call Hx.Q: Why is there a separate dispatcher for RRU/FRUs?

    Seems a little dumb if you ask me. Surely these resources should be considered by (and allocated by) the dispatcher responsible for a ceratin geographic area?

    Maybe a brief explanation of London Amb Comms sometime would be interesting (for me anyway). I hear the call-takers, dispatchers and “Radio” operators all work on different floors – relatively independently of each other. True? Why also do (as I am told LAS has) the dispatchers not communicate directly with crews…why a radio operator?? Me confused?

  3. Hmm, time for a near miss incident report to be filed me thinks!I'm sure your head of clinical governance needs a new doorstop.

  4. I don't have the answers to all of your questions but I'll try to fill the gap until someone better than me can help…The call takers are within the same room but 3 stairs seperate the two halves of the room, I believe simple geography of the building is responsible however it does seem a natural distinction.

    I would imagine that the reason for dispatchers not also being radio ops is simply a result of such a vast workload. No other UK service handles the volume of work that the LAS does.

    And to finally answer Tom's original point, nothing justifies staff not being informed of high risk addresses, it is much more important than actually getting the calls off the desk and all staff should be aware of that, I hope this is one of the many CAD errors to be fixed in the new version.


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