Ex ambulance 999 handler AMA

(59 Posts)
Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:08:29

Also a carer so you can AMA on that!

OP’s posts: |
sausagerollsontheside Fri 06-Jul-18 18:14:06

Have you ever thought oh my god this person is in agony and wanted the ambo as fast as possible?
What is your true feeling when the caller says no the patient cannot talk to you they are in too much pain?

Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:15:25

sausage - yes of course

TBH we wouldn't ever really need the patient necessarily to speak to us if the person ringing is with them so that never really came up

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sausagerollsontheside Fri 06-Jul-18 18:17:30

Why is it that they always asked my husband
"Can i speak to your wife or is she not well enough?"

Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:19:36

sausage - stuck on that one! Different areas use different triage systems though so it may have been one of those. I know there are a few that ask to speak to the patient or have nurses etc that will also ring back and triage further. The system we used didn't ask to speak to the patient

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UtterlyDesperate Fri 06-Jul-18 18:20:16

What training do you have to do? In my head, I would love this job, but that's based solely on watching some documentary and completely ignores the fact I have no medical training whatsoever grin

And what do you do when you get idiots on the phone? (I mean, someone like those people that the police talk about every year - calling 999 because they've dropped their ice cream or there's a spider in the house) Are frequent time wasters numbers flagged or something?

sausagerollsontheside Fri 06-Jul-18 18:20:57

It always got on both of our tits
Olive I saw you on another thread and I just think you are full of compassion you must have been wonderful at your job.
Did you receive the opportunity to have a debrief after an awful call?


Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:22:43

Utterly - the system we used was 8 weeks of training on it, and then with a mentor until we were capable. Also basic life support, defib training, regular update/training for instance stuff on terrorism, and then doing a recertification every 2 years

Time wasters - explain not an emergency, not appropriate and hang up. Numbers might be flagged for frequent callers

OP’s posts: |
sad9999 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:23:01

How much do you earn

Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:23:47

sausage - yes and no. You could take time out but honestly if there's 15 calls waiting to be answered it wasn't always possible. You could always speak to colleagues or counselling if needed but not always straight away

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IHaveBrilloHair Fri 06-Jul-18 18:24:15

Either me or Dd have had to call 999 for me often, last time a month ago.
We're used to it now, but it's not always made clear the ambulance/first response car has been dispatched while you are going through your questions.
Why is this?
(I have brittle asthma so am struggling to breathe and absolutely need oxygen and have always been admitted so definitely an emergency)

Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:25:09

sad - band 3 which is approx 16 -19k depending how long you had been there plus 25% anti social hours. So max of around 24k before tax

OP’s posts: |
tectonicplates Fri 06-Jul-18 18:25:13

How frequently do inappropriate calls happen?

GobbyLino Fri 06-Jul-18 18:26:27

Has a call ever made you cry? If so why?

Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:27:05

IHave - purely because you can't say. A few reasons, one it might not have been and if you say that, people panic or get angry it hasn't been. Two, it might have been dispatched but from a different area. And one of the most common is that it has been dispatched BUT it can be diverted. For instance if they're going to a heart attack, and then get diverted to a baby not breathing. So you could say the help is organised or arranged but not it has been dispatched

OP’s posts: |
Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:28:14

tectonic - as in "I want a refund for this rubbish ice cream" or "I've had a cold for a day?"
Ice cream type - maybe once a month if that
Cold for a day/sore throat/vomited once/anything that wasn't a life threatening emergency - about 60% of calls

OP’s posts: |
tectonicplates Fri 06-Jul-18 18:28:18

Have you ever had anyone on the phone where you couldn't understand a word they were saying and therefore found it difficult to help them? I had considered this kind of work in the past, but my hearing has got worse and I get annoyed with mumblers. On the few occasions I've phoned 999 I've always made sure to speak extra clearly, but you can't expect that of people in distress.

UtterlyDesperate Fri 06-Jul-18 18:30:29

Thanks, op - it sounds like intensive stuff. Frankly, though, despite my fantasy life, I would find it bloody terrifying to talk to someone through cpr or child delivering - I think dispatchers are awesome, as they always sound so calm and in control. I haven't needed to call 999 often, but whenever I have, they have always been towers of strength - flowers

Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:30:40

Gobby- a fair few. Children/baby cardiac arrests, a son pleading with his dad to live during an accident, a husband telling his wife not to die because he didn't know what to do without her, and one when I realised it was a colleagues dad that had died

OP’s posts: |
Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:31:44

tectonic - yes! Accents plus drunk plus loud music plus bad signal. We would get a colleague/manager to listen as well or if language barrier then use an interpreter

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IHaveBrilloHair Fri 06-Jul-18 18:33:38

Ah right, I hadn't realised that so it is helpful to know.
It comes across as they are insistent on knowing if I have swollen lips when I can't breathe and need an ambulance asap.
I've been blue lighted several times.

tectonicplates Fri 06-Jul-18 18:34:31

Cold for a day/sore throat/vomited once/anything that wasn't a life threatening emergency - about 60% of calls


littlecabbage Fri 06-Jul-18 18:35:17

What are your working hours like?

Ollivander84 Fri 06-Jul-18 18:37:20

little - it depends on which trust you work for. The majority do 7am -7pm and 7pm - 7am, and it's 13 days a month. Or you could do shorter shifts like 7am - 3pm and 11pm - 7am and do say 4-5 days a week
People did part time as well or fixed hours so they did the same shift each week

OP’s posts: |
IHaveBrilloHair Fri 06-Jul-18 18:39:00

Does it frustrate you that it's shown on Tv as calling, giving a quick rundown of the problem, the address and hanging up?
It drives me and Dd mad.

(Car crash in Albert square, be quick)

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