Emergency ambulances being rushed to ‘do not resuscitate’ patients in Northamptonshire

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Care homes in Northamptonshire are frequently requesting ambulances under blue lights for pensioners who do not want to be resuscitated.

The issue has been raised by EMAS medical director Bob Winter, who said such a use of precious medics was inappropriate when Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)) notices were in place.

Mr Winter added that care homes were often the culprits because they were not aware of the proper procedure they should follow.

He said: “If they call 999, our call handlers go through the standard process. Is the patient alert? Are they breathing? Are they conscious? etc.”

If someone has a DNR notice in place, the answer to those questions will be ‘no’, which means the control room sends both a fast response vehicle and ambulance to the emergency.

“However, when we arrive on scene,” Mr Winter said, “we cannot do anything because the patient has a medical order written by a doctor which instructs health care providers not to do CPR if breathing stops or if the heart stops beating.”

EMAS said the correct procedure is for the care home to telephone the doctor is called to certify the death.