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.