Advent Calendar window 21: Lucy Beardsmore, Call Assessor

21 - Call Assessor - Lucy Beardsmore


Lucy Beardsmore

Job Title:

Call Assessor



Millennium Point Emergency Operations Centre, Brierley Hill, Dudley


Length of service:

1 ½ years


Role within WMAS:

When someone calls 999 for an ambulance in the West Midlands, I’m one of the people you’ll speak to. The first three questions we ask on a 999 call are really important and help us to arrange the most appropriate help for you; ‘is the patient breathing, what’s the address of the emergency, what’s the telephone number you’re calling from?’. If we know the patient isn’t breathing, they take priority and I ensure my dispatch colleagues on the other side of the room send an ambulance immediately. Before we ask what’s happened, it’s vital that we know where the patient is and also the telephone number you’re calling from.  The reason we ask for your telephone number is in case the call gets cut off and we need to call you back. It also can help us to locate roughly where you are if you’re in an unfamiliar area, but we will still need to get an exact location so that we don’t delay the help reaching the patient. Whilst we’re on a 999 call and getting more information about the patient using the triage questions, we’re already busy in the background arranging the best help for you.  Over the phone, I can give you some advice on how to give basic life support, like how to control bleeding, how to help deliver a baby, or how to carry out CPR instructions.  Sometimes, when all life threatening symptoms have been ruled out and a patient doesn’t need an ambulance response, I can help you to arrange alternative support for the patient.  It is sometimes better for the patient to ring their own GP if they don’t need hospital treatment.  We always have the patient’s best interests in mind, and we will always advise you to call us back on 999 if the patient gets worse in any way.


Christmas day plans:

I worked Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day last year but am only working on Christmas Eve this year thankfully. I’m really looking forward to spending a Christmas Day with my family this year and even more excited about playing with all of my nieces and nephews new toys!

Top tip for winter: Splitting headaches, sickness, dizziness, dehydration: the dreaded hangover

Believe it or not, we do get called to people who are suffering from a hangover.  If you are going out to party, then there are ways of making it more bearable the next day.  Alcohol is a diuretic which means it removes fluids from the body, so drinking excessively can lead to dehydration, which is the main cause of your hangover after a heavy session.   Have something to eat before you go out, especially rice or  pasta.  Drink water or non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic one; fizzy drinks actually make it worse as they speed up the absorption of alcohol into your system.  Drink a pint or so of water before you go to sleep and keep some beside your bed in case you wake up during the night.  If you wake feeling terrible, you probably didn’t follow this advice.  There are no cures for a hangover, but paracetamol based pain killers can help and you should replace lost fluids by drinking water, soda water and isotonic drinks.  Sugary foods can also help.  ‘Hair of the dog’ (drinking more alcohol) does not help!  You will simply delay the appearance of symptoms until the alcohol wears off again.  If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, please wait 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol.

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