New St John triage targets low acuity calls

Victoria Hawkins |

In Auckland there are over 125,000 111 calls for ambulance each year. Over 30% of those are for non-urgent (not serious or immediately life threatening) issues. Those ‘low acuity’ calls are for issues like boils, constipation, piles, trouble sleeping, cramps, gout and ear ache. There are better – and often faster – ways of managing these calls for patients, that also free up ambulance resources to focus on the increasing number of ‘high acuity’ urgent and life threatening incidents. 

To help connect patients to the right care at the right time, from May 2014 St John – working with other urgent care primary health services - will provide a 24/7 ‘111 Clinical Hub’ initiative in Auckland. This service sees a combination of St John Intensive Care Paramedics, and nurses provided by Homecare Medical, doing enhanced clinical assessment of low acuity calls* for callers from within the Auckland DHB region.  This means that when a 111 call for an ambulance has been triaged by the St John Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) as low-acuity, the Clinical Hub team will phone the patient back, gather additional information, and advise them on the most appropriate care, via the most appropriate pathway. Options will include self-care, referral to a general practitioner or Primary Health Organisation, referral to a private A & Emergency facility, or St John responding with an ambulance or alternative vehicle to treat the patient without transporting them to an emergency department (ED).  

The objective of the 111 Clinical Hub is to connect low acuity callers to the right care, to reduce the number of ambulance responses to these calls and to reduce the number of low acuity patients who are taken to Auckland EDs.Currently there are over 90,000 presentations at Auckland EDs by ambulance - the aim is to reduce those presentations by 6,000 (16 a day) over the next 12 months.The 111 Clinical Hub is based in the Auckland Clinical Control Centre (previously called Ambulance Communications Centre). St John is funding this Clinical Hub trial and working closely with the Ministry of Health about future funding streams.


* For non-urgent, not serious or immediately life threatening calls requiring an ambulance St John responds as soon as possible - depending on other emergencies in the area, and this may take up to 2 hours. 


Victoria Hawkins St John Media Relations Manager T 09 526 0528 I X 7877 I F 09 526 0553 | M 021 605 342

Subscribe to our RSS FeedLook after the teams who look after you.St John First Aid TrainingFeel Safe with a St John Medical Alarm