Drug Codes on Ambulance Patient Report Forms


In 2002, the Cabinet Office asked JRCALC to consider the possibility of all ambulance services using the same drug codes on their patient report forms because hospital departments have reported difficulties when they receive patients from more than one ambulance service. This was considered by the JRCALC guidelines committee which proposed that all drugs likely to be used by ambulance and medical staff in the delivery of pre-hospital care should have common codes comprising three alpha characters (eg ATR for atropine).

A new coding system is expected to be agreed by the JRCALC guidelines committee in September 2003 for subsequent ratification by the main JRCALC committee. After ratification, the recommended codes will be circulated to ambulance services. It is hoped that the codes will be adopted by all services after publication of Version 3 of the JRCALC guidelines, expected in January 2004.