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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Call 4 Concern

Are you worried your condition is getting worse? Carers, friends and family, are you worried your loved one is deteriorating?

Call 4 Concern when you are worried about your own condition as an inpatient, or that of your relative/friend admitted to our hospital, is getting worse. Also call if you feel that the health care team needs to provide you with more information or act upon your health concerns.

Call 4 Concern is a patient safety initiative. We believe that patients, carers and family members know when their condition/ or that of a loved one is changing for the worse. This complements the other safety initiatives already in place at our hospitals. You can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The main focus of the outreach service is to quickly respond to patients who are deteriorating in the hospital, and forms part of our clinical site management team.

Martha's Rule

Call 4 Concern is in line with ‘Martha’s Rule’, being rolled out widely by the NHS in England from April 2024 to give patients and families access to a urgent review if they are worried about a condition getting worse. Martha Mills died in 2021 after developing sepsis in hospital where she had been admitted with a pancreatic injury after falling off her bike. Martha’s family’s concerns about her deteriorating condition were not responded to promptly and in 2023 a coroner ruled that Martha would probably have survived had she been moved to intensive care earlier.

How and when to make a Call 4 Concern:

  • If you need help urgently on the ward - speak to the nurse / doctor in charge of your care for urgent assistance.
  • Always discuss your concerns with the doctors and nurses responsible for your care on the ward first. In daytime hours this can ensure that members of staff who know the most about your condition can give you advice, support and act upon your concerns.
  • Call outreach when you feel that information about your condition is confusing, or when the concerns you have raised have not been recognised, acknowledged or addressed.
  • Call if you are feeling that you are getting more unwell and/or the treatment that you are on is not working.
  • Remember this is a confidential service and the critical care outreach team will work closely with you and all the health care staff to act on your concerns.
  • To improve your care, comfort and safety all the health team members will work together to find solutions to the problems identified.

Bournemouth - dial 0 and ask for the operator. Ask them to “bleep Outreach on 2727” whilst you stay on the line, and they will connect you. If calling from outside, first call 01202 303626

Poole - dial 0 and ask for the operator. Ask them to “bleep Outreach on 0170” whilst you stay on the line, and they will connect you. If calling from outside, first call 01202 665511

When you are connected to Outreach, give your/the patient’s name, the ward you/they are on and a brief description of the concern

The team does not routinely respond to the following general concerns:

  • basic nursing care issues - these are best dealt with by the nurse looking after you /your loved one, or the charge nurse of the ward, or the divisional matron. Basic nursing care issues would be things such as concerns about the food, the bed or rooms, facilities, or any concerns about staff.
  • parking - this is best dealt with by your ward nurse who can escalate your concerns to the travel team.
  • issues covered by the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) - our PALS team offer an impartial and confidential service. They listen to concerns and help resolve them informally, as well as providing information about organisations that offer help and support. They can also explain the procedure for making a formal complaint. You can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0300 019 8499 (opening hours are 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday).
  • issues covered by the Carer support service - our advisor offers 1:1 support to unpaid carers throughout the inpatient stay of the person they are caring for. You can email carersupport@uhd. nhs.uk or phone 0300 019 8714 (opening hours are 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday)

What can you expect from the Call 4 Concern:

  • 24 hour access to an outreach team member who can prioritise your call and act upon your concerns in a timely manner.
  • A highly trained professional deterioration prevention specialist who will work with you and your family to ensure the best health outcomes for your specific health concerns.
  • The outreach team member will visit you on the ward. They will do a quick physical review and look at all your health documentation and then act on any life threatening symptoms first. Where necessary they may refer you to higher levels of care such as critical care who can provide further specialist opinions and support.
  • The outreach team will have discussions with your ward team and can start treatment changes and investigations to try and improve your condition.
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