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Curationis

On-line version ISSN 0379-8577

Abstract

MARCUS, JK  and  CLOW, SE. Response times of ambulances to calls from Midwife Obstetric Units of the Peninsula Maternal and Neonatal Service (PMNS) in Cape Town. Curationis [online]. 2009, vol.32, n.1, pp. 59-66. ISSN 0379-8577.

Response times of ambulances to calls from Midwife Obstetric Units, although varied, are perceived as slow. Delays in transporting women experiencing complications during or after their pregnancies to higher levels of care may have negative consequences such as fetal, neonatal or maternal morbidity or death. An exploratory descriptive study was undertaken to investigate the response times of ambulances of the Western Cape Emergency Medical Services to calls from midwife obstetric units (MOUs) in the Peninsula Maternal and Neonatal Services (PMNS) in Cape Town. Response times were calculated from data collected in specific MOUs using a specifically developed instrument. Recorded data included time of call placed requesting transfer, diagnosis or reason for transfer, priority of call and the time of arrival of ambulance to the requesting facility. Mean, median and range of response times, in minutes, to various MOUs and priorities of calls were calculated. These were then compared using the Kruskal-Wallis test. A comparison was then made between the recorded and analysed response times to national norms and recommendations for ambulance response times and maternal transfer response times respectively. A wide range of response times was noted for the whole sample. Median response times across all priorities of calls and to all MOUs in sample fell short of national norms and recommendations. No statistical differences were noted between various priorities of calls and MOUs. The perception of delayed response times of ambulances to MOUs in the PMNS was confirmed in this pilot study.

Keywords : MOU; ambulance; response time; PMNS.

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