111 mixup prompts review of training

21:41, Oct 27 2012

A botched 111 call that caused an ambulance for a choking toddler to be sent to a Southland house instead of one in Lower Hutt has led to additional training for call-takers.

Central Emergency Communications in Wellington launched an internal review after the incident earlier this month, in which the treatment of a 2-year-old boy was delayed by about 20 minutes.

Communciations centre spokesman David Baker said the woman who took the call had received training to fix the problem.

She would soon leave the company to go on a planned trip overseas.

Additional workshops had also been held to ''reinforce the correct process''.

''The communciations centre has used this unfortunate accident to reinforce to staff the ongoing need for care and strict attention to detail when handling the large number of calls that come into the service.''


The error was made when a call for help was received from the Childhood Concepts Early Learning Centre in Birch St, Lower Hutt, after the boy prised apart a container and drank a bubble bath-type liquid.

Staff watched as he choked, coughed and spat out the substance, thinking an ambulance was on the way.

At the same time, more than 700 kilometres away, Chantal McEwan, 31, was surprised to see paramedic's with an oxygen tank show up at her home in Birchwood-Wairio Rd, Wairio.

About 20 minues after receiving the plea for help, the calltaker from Central Emergency Communications realised she had made a mistake and sent another ambulance, which arrived at the childcare centre about 10am.

The Fire Service also responded. The boy was taken to Hutt Hospital with ''minor issues'' and assessed at the emergency department, an ambulance spokesman said.

Fairfax Media