A day in the life of a call handler
Call handler Juliette Du Fosse gives us an insight to her day answering the regions calls
6AM “Early start at the North East Ambulance Service, waiting for the rest of my day shift colleagues to come in and relieve the night shift”
6:14AM “CPR call – carers have found patient not breathing – a difficult call to start the day”
7:01AM “A young man calls 999 with lower back pain – this patient was referred to GP on the call”
7:29AM – “An out of hours doctor rings to arrange urgent transport for patient who is dehydrated and off legs – this is a non-emergency ambulance for patients that need to be in hospital but don’t need to be taken in on blue lights and sirens – These can only be arranged by a Health Care Professional
7:52AM – “A call from an elderly gentleman who has fallen and has a hip injury – patient taken to hospital”
8AM – “The north east is beginning to wake up and the day is getting busier”
8:06AM – “A call reporting a road traffic collision comes in from a passer-by. The patient refuses an ambulance”
8:36AM "CPR call – male in his 50s found not breathing – patient was blue lighted into hospital”
9:05AM – “Call comes in for a male adult with breathing difficulty – patient was transported to hospital”
9:56AM – “Anchor call (care line) ringing for a patient who has fallen and hurt their hip – unable to get up and reach for a phone to ring 999 themselves - care line give the details so we can dispatch an ambulance”
10:40AM – “Young teenage male with a suspected broken wrist – ambulance arranged as patient was in a public place and under the age of 16 with no adult supervision”
10:51AM – “Parents of previous male ring back for estimated time of arrival and shout about how long the ambulance was taking, parents decide to transport him to hospital themselves”
11:17AM – “Elderly female who had fallen over whilst out shopping – quite elderly but assessment was needed as with every call to determine whether this call was life threatening – passer-by in background of call shouting and swearing to stop asking stupid questions and to just send the ambulance. The public are often unaware of the different response times for ambulances, the skill sets of crews and the types of vehicle we can send. The brief assessment is needed to ensure we’re getting the right care to the patient but it doesn’t delay our response."
11:36AM “Male student complaining of nausea and vomiting, he had been out drinking the night before and had vomited twice. Clinician advised him on how to manage this at home.
12:13PM “Distressed mum whose young daughter had trapped her fingernail in the car door – advised not appropriate to ring 999 and to take her to a walk in centre”
12:40PM “Hospital ringing to arrange an emergency blue light transfer for a new born baby”
1:41PM “Male asking for a lift to Sainsbury’s to do his shopping stating ringing a taxi was too much hassle, meanwhile my colleague is giving CPR advice to parents of a child.
2:05PM “Call for an unconscious male, advised this male was a substance abuser. Unable to send a single paramedic due to nature of call – double crew sent for safety”
2:26PM “Male ringing as he was unable to get money out of his bank – very verbally abusive, after confirming no medical emergency, I had no choice but to end the call”
3:04PM – “Frequent caller ringing in to the service demanding an ambulance – aggressive and inappropriate – arrange for one of our clinicians to call them back”
3:11PM “Hysterical mum calling for her new born baby who is having a fit, I managed to calm her down and give her care advice until the ambulance arrived.
3:20PM “Same frequent caller ringing again”
3:27PM “Overheard colleague on the phone to this frequent caller yet again”
4:01PM – “Care connect (another care line) ringing for an update regarding a patient”
4:18PM “Intoxicated male requesting an ambulance stating chest pain. Ambulance sent as an immediate priority, patient refused to travel to hospital”
4:49PM “Female ringing for an injured pigeon in a town centre – advised this is for the RSPCA and ended the call”
5:03PM “Very upset young girl ringing for her mum who had taken an overdose and is not responding Mum taken into hospital on blue lights and sirens.”
5:23PM “Dog walker has come across a deceased person – ambulance and police dispatched immediately”
5:36PM “Hoax call from young children giggling then swearing down the phone.”
5:49 “Last call of the day – Police requesting assistance for a stabbing – patient rushed into hospital on blue lights.”
6:00PM – “My shift is now finished and I’m going home to get a glass of wine!.”