The National Emergency Medical Services (NEMS) is appealing to members of the public reporting a medical emergency through 919 to identify wherever possible, the likelihood that they may be COVID positive. The appeal comes as Emergency Services are recording increased instances of inaccurate information leading to delays in services and a misallocation of resources.
During an emergency call, the dispatcher asks basic questions about the nature of the medical emergency and seeks clarification regarding the COVID-19 status of the patient or whether they are displaying symptoms of the disease. These questions assist the dispatcher in ensuring that the appropriate first responder assistance team is dispatched to facilitate care and transport the patient to hospital.
The public is advised that if an EMS crew is assigned to respond to an emergency call and is not provided accurate information regarding a patient’s possible symptoms or COVID-19 status, they are placed at a higher risk of exposure. Additionally, delays are imminent as the EMS crew will be required to don full Personal Protective Equipment before resuming pre-hospital care. In some instances, the crew may have to discontinue their response and call for another team as some EMS personnel have been exempted from COVID-19 calls due to medical reasons. This results in having two (2) ambulance crews dispatched to a single call as a result of inaccurate or incomplete information, wasting valuable time and resources.
NEMS wishes to confirm that all calls for medical assistance will be responded to regardless of the nature of the call. Callers should not be fearful of providing full disclosure to the dispatcher at the time of the call. Accurate information assists NEMS in providing the most appropriate and timely care from our first responders.
The public is advised to follow all announcements and public advisories from the Ministry of Health and Public Hospitals Authority regarding Health and Hospital Services.