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London ambulances on second try with CommandPoint 999 software

'Lessons learned' after last year's eggface debut

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The London Ambulance Service has quietly phased in its CommandPoint 999 dispatch system.

The service began using the package, built by US defence giant Northrop Grumman, at 3am on 27 March. The introduction follows three live tests in the past few weeks and decommissioning of the previous in-house ambulance dispatch software.

A LAS spokesperson told The Reg that so far there have been no reported hiccups, although the new tech is regularly monitored for problems.

The Big Smoke's service believes lessons have been learned from the first abortive attempt to deploy CommandPoint in June 2011 and that problems have been corrected.

“During the implementation process we will be closely monitoring 999 calls to ensure our most seriously ill and injured patients continue to receive a fast response,” a spokesperson told The Reg.

“As with the introduction of any large, complex technical system, we anticipate there may be some teething problems and we recognise that it will take time for our staff to get used to the new system. However, we are confident that lessons have been learnt from our first attempt to bring the system in, and the problems we encountered last time have been corrected.”

The service is eager to avoid a repeat of last year's farce when CommandPoint apparently operated for a few hours before slowing down and ultimately failing. Operators resorted to pen and paper to record calls before returning to the original in-house Call Taking (CTAK) system CommandPoint was supposed to replace.

One death was reportedly linked to delays caused by the breakdown as a backlog of calls grew and held up in the dispatch of ambulances across the capital.

CommandPoint is a .NET-based piece of kit running on Windows Server and Unix-powered machines and is used by law-enforcement and fire departments in the US. ®

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