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Incidents resulting from staff leaving normal duties to attend medical emergency team calls

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Clinical emergency response systems such as medical emergency teams (METs),1 rapid response teams,2 patient-at-risk teams3 and critical care outreach teams4 are now used in hospitals worldwide to manage patients who have unexpected clinical deterioration. Currently, the optimal staffing structure for these systems remains unknown.5,6

At our hospital, MET personnel are not rostered solely for staffing the MET. Instead, MET staff have normal hospital duties to perform and, when a MET call is activated, they temporarily forgo their normal duties to attend.

This study was instigated after reports of potential adverse events, such as delayed medication dispensing, occurring as a result of staff leaving normal duties to attend MET calls. Our review found no publications in this area. The primary objective was to determine the rate of adverse events and incidents occurring as a result of hospital staff leaving normal duties to attend MET calls.


This single-centre, structured interview- and questionnaire-based study was conducted over an 18-week period between 29 July and 15 December 2013. The study was conducted in a 650-bed university teaching hospital in Sydney, New South Wales. Participants…