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Let's now have a look at the potential consequences when communication breaks down.

When you make a triple 9 call, if the information you give to the control room is inaccurate, then the first thing that is going to happen is the information that is given to the ambulance crew is going to break down, and consequently, it's going to delay the deployment of a vehicle. So it's going to slow down the response to you, and you want that vehicle and so does your patient as fast as possible. So make sure that information is accurate; make sure the road signs and everything else are accurate because if you give the wrong road, if you give the wrong town, or if there is two place names that are very similar and you give the wrong one, the crew is going to be dispatched to the wrong area.

Also, do not underplay the conditions. If you portray to the control room that everything is fine and it's only a minor problem, then it will be actually categorized in a different area and the response times can be dramatically different. If you have got somebody that is having chest pain or cardiac arrest or breathing difficulties or severe asthma attacks, then tell the ambulance service exactly your concerns and exactly what is going on because they need that information to correctly prioritize the calls that they are sending their vehicles to.

If the information you give incorrectly comes through to the ambulance crew incorrectly, then they are travelling to the wrong place and it could be literally the wrong side of the county, all depending on the information that they are fed coming from the person making the triple 9 calls.

If the ambulance crews get the wrong information from you when they arrive on the scene, or you have missed bits or have not found pieces and bits and pieces, it's a bitty mess. Then it's difficult to actually pick out of that what is important, and they are starting blind when they get to the patient. If you have got a few bits and pieces like the patient's name and the date of birth, the GP, what medication they are on, anything that you can potentially get from that patient. Also, remember the patient is conscious potentially when you get there, but when the ambulance crew get there they are now unconscious, so they have deteriorated. You could have asked them questions that were useful but now nobody can ask them a question because they are unconscious and we have got to start guessing and that is not a very good start at all. So the more communication, the more information we take out of a patient whilst they are conscious, the better the outcome potentially can be.

If the ambulance crew then go into hospital and give poor information, poor documentation to the hospital hand-over, again, this chain of confusion carries on and it can have a very, very detrimental effect on the patient's care. If we start to give drugs that clash with drugs they have already taken because nobody knew or nobody had asked the question, or nobody had documented it. So you will find that ambulance crews document everything you say, all the medications, all the history, and everything they find is placed on the electronic patient report forms or paper PRFs, so as we can actually pass that over accurately to the hospital.

Again, this chain carries on within the hospital. If we get the information wrong in A&E, it gets passed wrong to the hospital consultants, and the consultants then have to, again, start from scratch. It should be a nice accurate flow of data, the flow of information, the flow of signs and symptoms to keep the care moving through the system smoothly and the care that the patient receives is also accurate.

That also goes right through to discharge. So when the patient is discharged from hospital, all of that information is then passed on to their local GP, and if the GP does not get that information or it's not accurate, then the GP is also in the dark and may not be following up your care because he does not know you have even been in hospital. So again, that chain of communication starts right from your triple 9 call and finishes when your GP gets your discharge notes and your ongoing care from that point.

So check, double-check, keep it accurate, take your time, get the facts right, and then pass the information over and the chain will stay intact, accurate and the outcomes will always be the best for the patient.