Emergency call handler reveals reasons for ambulance delays

29 January 2020, 16:16

This emergency call handler revealed to Shelagh Fogarty the reasons for long ambulance delays - including 999 calls for bumped knees and broken toes.

Brittany revealed that when she first started as a call handler the team took 2000 calls a night and now they take 4000.

"There are lots of calls that wouldn't necessarily need to be taken to A&E by ambulance," explained Brittany from Norwich and gave the example of a child at a birthday party who injured themselves.

"There are maybe 15 parents there all with vehicles to take the child in to minor injury, but they'll call for an ambulance," she said, "if you're all there with cars you could probably get the child there quicker if it's a minor injury then it would take for the ambulance to get there."

She said people are under the impression that if you travel to hospital via ambulance for an ailment that isn't life threatening, you're more likely to be seen earlier but that isn't necessarily true.

Brittany said people had called her for bumped knees, broken toes and asked for an ambulance; this leave someone who has a very real medical emergency waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance.

"What might be an emergency for one person might not be an emergency for A&E."