Safety in numbers: moving to a standard crash‐call number

Chris Ranger (Assistant Director of Safety Solutions and Crash Call Project Lead, National Patient Safety Agency, London, UK)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Publication date: 1 December 2004


The Department of Health and the Cabinet Office's Regulatory Impact Unit want to eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on front‐line NHS staff. They asked the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) to look at the pattern of telephone numbers used by NHS acute trusts to summon the emergency teams that deal with cardiac arrests and the feasibility of introducing one telephone number for cardiac arrests across all hospitals. Greater staff mobility, the increased use of agency and locum staff due to mergers and an increase in the number of trusts using more than one telephone number to summon hospital crash teams mean heightened risk of confusion and possible delays in treatment for patients. A survey of NHS acute trusts found that at least 27 different crash call numbers were in use in NHS hospitals. The number 2222 was the most frequently used crash call number. The NPSA recommended in a Patient Safety Alert issued in February 2004 that all NHS organisations providing acute services in England and Wales should plan to use this as their standard crash call number.



Ranger, C. (2004), "Safety in numbers: moving to a standard crash‐call number", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 267-269.

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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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