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Knowledge of emergency calls amongst delivery suite staff

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Knowledge of emergency calls amongst delivery suite staff.

A McCarron, JJ Hoyle, SM Yentis



•In 2004, the NPSA called for NHS Trusts to standardise their emergency telephone number to 2222 to avoid uncertainty and delays [1].
•In most hospitals, several different calls can currently be activated on the delivery suite via this number .
•Successful management of obstetric emergencies requires a co-ordinated and time-sensitive response from a team comprising several disciplines.
•Medical staff move regularly between hospitals, and hospital switchboard staff are non-clinical, so an awareness of which call to ask for is essential.


•We surveyed the staff in our obstetric unit in December 2014.
•Participants were asked to list:
•all the emergency calls they believed were available in the hospital via the 2222 switchboard number.
•the indications for each emergency call.
•the grade and specialty of each team member they believed would attend the emergency call.


•We surveyed 10 midwives, 9 obstetricians and 8 anaesthetists.
•Median (IQR [range]) no. of years worked in our unit were:
•midwives: 2.5 (1-4.8 [1-18]) years.
•obstetricians: 1 (1-1 [0.5-3]) years.
•anaesthetists: 1 (0.5-2 [0.5-3]) years.
•There was varying awareness of the five delivery suite emergency calls that can be activated by switchboard at our hospital (Fig. 1).
•Knowledge of who attended each call was even more varied (Figs. 2 & 3).


•Despite a well-established system in our unit of regular multidisciplinary mandatory updates for all staff, including the different types of emergency calls available, we found considerable ignorance of the calls and team members.
•Inaccurate expectations of who will attend an emergency call on the obstetric unit may delay timely diagnosis and management.
•Our results suggest that further efforts are required to educate staff, and possibly that the number of emergency calls should be reconsidered and even reduced.
[1] National Patient Safety Agency. Establishing a standard crash call number in hospitals in England and Wales. Feasibility study report. 2004. NPSA: London. http://www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk/resources/?EntryId45=59789 (accessed 19.12.14).


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