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Emergency phone line continues to flounder

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Emergency phone line continues to flounder
Photo: Stine Bidstrup/Polfoto
09:37 CEST+02:00
Seven months after its rollout, the new 1813 emergency phone line is still falling massively short of its promised performance. "Regrettable," says a Region Hovedstaden spokesman.
When the Capital Region (Region Hovedstaden) introduced a new acute care telephone line, it set a goal that 90 percent of all calls would be answered by a healthcare worker within three minutes. 
 
But since its rollout on January 1st, the 1813 emergency call system has consistently failed to meet the stated goal and has been heavily criticised from all sides. 
 
Seven months later, things aren’t much better. In July, just 23 percent of the calls to 1813 were answered within the three minute promise. Half of the callers had to wait over eight minutes while ten percent had to wait over 21 minutes.
 
“It is very regrettable,” Region Hovedstaden spokesman Svend Hartling said in a press release. 
 
“The emergency system was faced with a number of practical challenges in shifting work hours, changes in staffing and holding holiday,” he continued. 
 
The 1813 was introduced as a way to reduce pressure on hospitals. By asking residents to call ahead, the system is supposed to cut down the number of unnecessary trips to the emergency room. Instead of heading straight to the hospital when ill or injured, Copenhagen area residents are required to call 1813 to speak to a health official who will advise the patient on what to do. 
 
Life-threatening emergencies should still be called in to 112.
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