This Patient Safety Alert advises all acute trusts to standardise the crash call telephone number to 2222, if they are not already using it.
A crash call number is the internal telephone number dialled to summon the emergency team following a cardiac arrest in hospital.
Having different crash call telephone numbers in NHS hospitals causes uncertainty and delay for staff contacting the switchboard in an emergency to summon the resuscitation team. This is a potential risk to patient safety. The increased use of agency and locum staff and greater staff mobility also mean that risks of delay are higher than in the past.
This alert is based on the findings of a feasibility study carried out in England and Wales by the National Reporting and Learning Service in 2002/03 on behalf of the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office, with input from the Welsh Assembly Government. This showed that 34 per cent of hospitals in England used 2222 for another purpose.
NHS organisations should review the costs involved locally in standardising to 2222, and either:
- plan a date for conversion if the change is feasible, or;
- where conversion costs are prohibitive, identify future opportunities to standardise to 2222 as part of planned switchboard changes.