The majority of European Hospitals use a dedicated internal telephone number to call an emergency team to patients with a cardiac arrest or needing resuscitation; some others use a call bell.  Often this is called a ‘cardiac arrest call’ but some other names may be used e.g. crash call, code blue etc.

The telephone number used in each hospital varies, with 27 different numbers used in one country.

Nursing and medical staff often move between hospitals in their home countries and others increasingly move around the different countries of Europe. There is also higher reliance on agency staff.

Common sense and logic would suggest that using the same internal telephone number throughout Europe would reduce the incidence of confusion by staff having to remember or find the correct number for each hospital when trying to call the resuscitation team. Stressful situations such as this automatically reduce the human’s ability to accurately and speedily recall information and precious time could be lost and patients’ lives put at risk. Having the same number everywhere will improve this reduce the burden on front- line staff.

Standardisation is a key principle of Patient Safety and by doing this it will demonstrate that European healthcare systems can deliver such standardisation on important but relatively simple things like telephone numbers and send a clear message for other more complicated issues.

To get more information about this please could you answer  this 5 question survey about cardiac arrest call numbers (it will normally take you less than 1 minute to complete). Thank you very much for your help !

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* 1. Does your hospital use an internal telephone number to call the cardiac arrest team?

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* 2. Do you think that the “cardiac arrest call” number should be standardised to the same number in all hospitals in Europe?

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* 4. Name of your Hospital?

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* 5. What is the number used in your hospital to call the cardiac arrest team?
(e.g. 4545)