Limitations in software being used by some ambulance call handlers means there is a “significant risk” signs of sepsis are being missed.
The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) said it was working with suppliers so extra questions could identify a patient with sepsis.
A report found one patient who called 999 should have been flagged as a risk.
Instead of sending an ambulance, the patient was told to go to their GP or make their own way to hospital.
The patient was later found to have an immune condition and bacterial infection and had to spend seven days in hospital.
The EEAS looked at the case, which happened in December 2018, and established there was “no specific protocol” in 999 software for identifying sepsis, also referred to as blood poisoning.
“There is a significant risk of not being able to identify this group of patients during the initial 999 phone call,” the report presented to the EEAS board meeting on Wednesday found.
The report said the trust is now seeking to “ensure key phrases or symptoms, such as a high temperature or ongoing treatment, are included in the guidance for call handlers”.
Dr Ron Daniels, NHS intensive care clinician and founder of the UK Sepsis Trust, said: “Complex critical conditions such as sepsis should be afforded the same priority as chest pains by call handlers.
“The level of training of call handlers can be variable and no computer protocol can replace a face-to-face examination, but we would be delighted to work with the EEAS to improve training.”
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The EEAS said it was working with the software providers to develop a specific telephone screening tool.
“While this development is ongoing, we have introduced a standard operation procedure to help call handlers identify patients with neutropenic sepsis and are developing other tools to support the screening of sepsis symptoms,” the statement added.