Insightful, educational and enjoyable…despite the bad jokes – my time at West Midlands Ambulance Service

Thursday 30th May 2019 – 11.45am – Daniel Rundle.

As I sat in my first lecture as a journalism student at Birmingham City University, I felt utterly deflated when I was told I was to complete a mandatory 70 hours work experience at the end of my first year, in order to progress into second year. I dreaded the idea of having to go and work at a news publication where I would most likely be given practically no real experience that would help me in my studies.

However, I found myself to be rather lucky in the placement I received. My mum has been a paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service for nearly four years and was able to get me a place in the Press Office at Millennium Point. On my first day, I was introduced to Murray MacGregor Claire Brown and Jamie Arrowsmith, the trio that I would be working alongside for the next two weeks.

They immediately made me feel welcome and gave me plenty of interesting work to get on with during my time there. I learned how to write and format a press release, and with their guidance I improved my own writing skills, as well as learning how to become more vigilant in the editing of my work to make sure it reaches the level of quality and professionalism that I aspire to reach. I truly felt like a member of the team for the time that I was there, and thoroughly enjoyed being in their company, even if they did have a seemingly endless stream of terrible jokes.

As part of my work experience, I was given the opportunity to spend time in the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Brierley Hill. Here, I sat with call assessors as they answered a range of 999 calls, and the dispatchers who juggle the priorities to ensure ambulances get to people as quickly as possible. During my time with the call assessors, I listened in on many different types of emergencies, ranging from heart attacks to a woman with a serious brain tumour who was experiencing extremely painful headaches. This call in particular was emotional to listen to, and it put into perspective how difficult the job of a call assessor can be.

In my time with the dispatchers, I watched as they sent countless ambulances to emergency 999 calls and was truly baffled by the system they use to do so. While I sat trying to work out what one small section of a screen meant, the dispatcher would be viewing multiple screens with hoards of information with seemingly little to no difficulty as they directed one ambulance after another to whichever patient needed them the most, occasionally diverting a crew if a more serious incident required their attention.

This gave me greater context for my shift alongside my mom on an emergency ambulance. I spent twelve hours on a shift with her and her crewmate, observing them as they attended to patients. We began our shift, and immediately had a call to a woman with dementia who had overdosed. When we arrived, the woman was confused and distressed, but the paramedics managed to calm her down and transport her to a hospital to receive further treatment.

We spent much of the shift attending patients who were generally unwell, and it was incredible to see how their state improved with the aid that the paramedics were able to give, both medically and emotionally. Their presence and support were often enough to calm patients, so they could be treated and where necessary, transported to hospital.

Although we didn’t experience this during my time on the ambulance, we discussed the frustrations of attending jobs that don’t require an emergency ambulance. While many people may not think this is an issue, it can potentially mean that there are no ambulances available if a serious call, such as a cardiac arrest, requires the attendance of an ambulance.

Around 10 minutes before our 12-hour shift was due to end, we received a call to a young girl having a seizure. Despite the shift being almost over, the paramedics didn’t hesitate in racing to attend the patient. When we arrived, it was clear that we would require additional support, so a backup crew and the MERIT team (Medical Emergency Response Intervention Team) were called. Through excellent teamwork and communication, we were able to stabilise the girl and transport her to hospital.

Working with my mom was a fantastic experience, as I got to see first hand the job she talks about so much at home. To see her in a job she’s so passionate about, offering life saving care to people, was awe-inspiring to watch.

My experience at West Midlands Ambulance Service was invaluable and gave me an insight into the lives of the hardworking, dedicated staff that care for the people of the West Midlands, and the vital roles each of them play in saving lives in the community. I gained a greater appreciation for all the work that everyone in the Trust does, gained new skills and improved on existing skills that will serve me well as I continue my studies and move on into a career in journalism.

Motorcyclist dies and pedestrian seriously injured in Rugby

Tuesday 28th May 2019 – 4.30pm – Claire Brown.

A motorcyclist has died, and a pedestrian is in a serious condition following a road traffic collision in Rugby this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Main Street in Bilton, Rugby at 10.12am today (Tuesday). Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance with a BASICS emergency doctor on board attended the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Crews arrived to find a motorcyclist, pedestrian and a car that had been involved in a collision. The motorcyclist, a man, was being given excellent first aid by off duty nurses who stopped to assist. Upon assessment by ambulance staff it was found that the man had sustained serious injuries and was in a critical condition. The team worked together to administer advanced life support to the man on scene and en route to hospital via air ambulance. Sadly, despite the best efforts of everyone, nothing could be done to save the man and he was confirmed dead a short time later at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.

“The pedestrian, a woman, sustained potentially life-threatening injuries and received trauma care from ambulance staff before being taken by land ambulance on blue lights to the same hospital for further emergency care.”

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New lifesaving equipment installed in Staffordshire Moorlands

Friday 24th May 2019 – 1.40pm – Daniel Rundle.

A remote part of Staffordshire is now home to a lifesaving piece of equipment thanks to the installation of a defibrillator.

Located in Dovedale, the defib has been provided thanks to a donation from the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Chairman’s Charity fund, which was made by Councillor Ben Emery.

The defib, a device used to help restart the heart of someone in cardiac arrest, is in a secure cabinet on the outside wall of the toilet block on Dovedale Car Park. It can be opened by anyone in an emergency, with a code you will be provided with after calling 999. In addition to the defib, an emergency phone has also been donated which gives a direct line through to the emergency services by the push of one button.

Councillor Ben Emery met with community first responders Sally Stickland and Jon Lane on Wednesday (22nd May) to view the facility his donation helped to provide and find out more about the voluntary work of CFRs.

Sally Stickland, co-ordinator for Wetton and Alstonefield CFRs, said: “We’ve been wanting to get a defibrillator in Dovedale for many years as it is a very popular area with tourists and locals. We were pleased to be approached by Ben to see where the money could be used for a public access defibrillator.

“It has been placed in a locked cabinet due to its remote location and we were fortunate that the donation covered the cost of an emergency phone that was needed due to the poor mobile signal in the area.

“The phone has been used already a number of times by members of the public so it’s good to know we can be called to an emergency quickly if needed.”

Councillor Ben Emery said: “It’s been my honour to serve the Staffordshire Moorlands for the year 2017-18 as Chairman of the Council, and it’s been a pleasure to raise funds to enable a possible lifesaving piece of technology which will give everyone, including the lesser able visitors, peace of mind.

“The landline phone is extremely useful as it could be used for many other types of emergencies.

“I am delighted to thank the residents of the Staffordshire Moorlands and wider areas who helped myself and my consort Ms. Elaine Cashin to raise the enabling funds and achieve something that could benefit people of all ages.”

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Notes to Editors:

Pictured (l-r) Sally Stickland, Councillor Ben Emery and Jon Lane.

Child suffers multiple injuries in collision with car

Friday 24th May 2019 – 12.30pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.

A boy has been treated for serious injuries following a collision with a car this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Walstead Road in Walsall at 8.27am and sent one ambulance, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival at the scene, crews discovered one patient, a boy who was the pedestrian, who required treatment.

“Following assessment from ambulance staff he was found to have suffered multiple serious injuries in the incident. After receiving treatment at the scene, the boy was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital by land ambulance.”

ENDS

Motorcyclist seriously injured following collision with car

Friday 24th May 2019 – 11.45am – Jamie Arrowsmith.

A man has been seriously injured following a collision between a motorbike and a car this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to the junction of the A449 and A463 in Wombourne at 9.09am and sent one ambulance, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Crews arrived to discover one patient, a man, who was the motorcyclist.

“He had suffered very serious injuries in the incident and received specialist trauma care at the scene.

“Ambulance staff then transported the man to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham for further treatment. The doctor from the air ambulance travelled with the patient to help administer further treatment whilst on route to hospital.”

ENDS

Two seriously injured as car crashes into shop

Friday 24th May 2019 – 8.20am – Jamie Arrowsmith.

Two men have been treated for multiple serious injuries after the car they were travelling in left the road, overturned and collided with a shop in the early hours of this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Watling Street in Cannock, near to Longford Island, at 3.53am and sent two ambulances, a senior paramedic, a paramedic officer, a rapid response paramedic and a MERIT trauma doctor to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Crews arrived to discover two patients, both of whom were out of the vehicle on our arrival. The vehicle had come to rest against the DFS store.

“One of the men, the driver of the car, was treated for potentially life-threatening injuries. He received specialist trauma care at the scene before being transferred to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham on blue lights and sirens. The doctor travelled on the back of the ambulance to help continue treatment on route to hospital.

“The second man was also treated for multiple serious injuries, potentially life-threatening, and he was also taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham on blue lights and sirens.”

ENDS

Ambulance staff all set for Birmingham Pride

Thursday 23rd May 2019 – 11.00am – Daniel Rundle.

Over 80 staff, volunteers and students from West Midlands Ambulance Service will be marching in this year’s Pride parade in Birmingham to show support for the LGBT community.

The Trust will be joined by West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service at midday on Saturday 25th May to take part in the parade. As with previous years, the Trust is also being joined by staff from other ambulance services from across the country as part of the National Ambulance LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Network.

The theme of this year’s pride festival is ‘Love Out Loud’ and is a celebration of the right to love both other people and ourselves in a world where oppression of the LGBT community is still present.

Ash Deakins, Paramedic and Chair of the Trust’s Proud@WMAS network, said: “Attending this event enables the ambulance service to better represent the community that we serve and demonstrate the service as an employer that celebrates inclusivity and diversity within its workforce.

“We are thrilled that the number of people from the service who have registered their interest in attending has far exceeded that of last year. I’d encourage anyone who is attending Pride on Saturday to come and cheer us along at the parade and we look forward to meeting you there.”

To see what our Proud@WMAS team get up to during Pride on Saturday, head over to Twitter and follow @wmasLGBT.

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Fatal RTC in Pensnett

Thursday 23rd May 2019 – 10.25am – Claire Brown.

West Midlands Ambulance Service can confirm that it was called to reports of a single car road traffic collision on Tansey Green Road, Pensnett, Dudley just after midnight today (Thursday).  An ambulance, a paramedic officer and a MERIT Trauma doctor and critical care paramedic attended the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Crews arrived to find a car that had overturned. Sadly, nothing could be done to save one occupant, a teenage girl, and she was confirmed dead on scene. A second occupant, a man, sustained injuries not thought to be serious and was taken to Russells Hall Hospital for further checks.”

ENDS

Motorcyclist airlifted from Whitchurch

Thursday 23rd May 2019 – 9.50am – Claire Brown.

A motorcyclist received trauma care from ambulance staff following a road traffic collision in Whitchurch last night.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to the A40 in Whitchurch, heading towards Monmouth, shortly before 7.00pm yesterday (Wednesday). An ambulance, a paramedic officer, the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham and a MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic attended.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Crews arrived to find a motorcyclist, a man, who had collided with a barrier. Upon assessment, ambulance staff found he had sustained serious injuries and the team administered trauma care on scene. Once stable the man was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol for further emergency care.”

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Crash on the M50

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – 4.35pm – Murray MacGregor.

Two people have been hurt after a lorry and a car collided leaving the lorry straddling a motorway central reservation.

The crash happened at about 2.20pm on Wednesday on the westbound M50 between junctions 1 and 2.

An ambulance, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance crews found the HGV on the central reservation and a car on its side; both had significant damage.

“The car driver was trapped for around 20 minutes.  Ambulance and fire crews worked to extricate her safely.  She was assessed at the scene before being airlifted to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

“The lorry driver was able to get out of the cab himself despite the damage.  He was assessed and treated at the scene before being taken by land ambulance to the same hospital.”

The road is likely to be closed for some time due to the damage and recovery work.

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M50 RTC

Man dies after crash

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – 9.21am – Murray MacGregor.

One man has died and four other people have been hurt after a two vehicle crash.

The collision happened at about 1.10am on Frankley Lane near the junction of Scotland Lane in the Kitwell area of south west Birmingham.

Five ambulances, three paramedic officers, the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic and the Hazardous Area Response Team were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “When crews arrived, they found two cars that had been in collision; one had subsequently caught fire.

“There were three men in the first car.  Sadly, one was confirmed dead at the scene.

“The other two were treated at the scene for injuries not thought to be life-threatening and were taken by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

“There were two people in the other car.  The driver, a man, and a women in rear; they were both treated at the scene for non-life threatening injuries and were also taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.”

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Blue Lights at Night (2)

Are you really fine?

Tuesday 14th May 2019 – 3.50pm – Murray MacGregor.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the average adult will say “I’m fine” 14 times this week, Mental Health Awareness Week, yet less than 20% will actually mean it!

It’s been known for some time that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.  In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.

Over recent years, we have been working hard to improve the support we provide to our staff.  Given the types of cases that they deal with, we need to be sure that we get better at making sure their mental wellbeing really is ‘fine’.

Director of Workforce, Kim Nurse, said: “We have 24-hour support through their management team, our Staff Advice and Liaison Service (SALS) and the Trust is employing two psychotherapists who will provide dedicated help for staff.  We also procure specialist support from an external counselling service The Listening Centre who can support staff with a variety of help.

“With a workforce of over 5,000, we want to be certain that we have a range of support in place to assist our staff stay mentally well in addition to their physical health.   We know that some of the cases that our staff deal with are extremely difficult, so we want to do as much as we can to support their wellbeing.

“Another important development for the Trust is our training of hundreds of staff in Mental Health First Aid courses.  These courses teach our staff to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support.  The training teaches people to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and potentially reach out to someone before a crisis happens.  Feedback has been really positive, and all courses have been fully attended with a waiting list for staff wanting to be included in the future.

“As a Trust we have moved forward significantly, but recognise that we need to keep moving forward so that we can continue to support our staff so that they can support the public when they need us most.”

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One airlifted after RTC

Monday 13th May 2019 – 1.55pm – Murray MacGregor.

One person has been airlifted and another treated after a two vehicle crash that saw two cars leave the dual carriageway and go down an embankment into some trees.

The incident happened this morning at about 9.45am on the A46 between Harvington and Salford Priors in Warwickshire.

Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “One arrival, ambulance staff found two cars, one of which was seriously damaged.

“The driver of the first car had suffered serious injuries.  Ambulance staff worked with firefighters to extricate her.  She was assessed and treated on the scene before being airlifted to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

“The middle-aged man driving the other vehicle, was able to get out of the car himself.  After assessment at the scene, he was taken to Warwick Hospital for continued care.

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HMED 09 at sunset

Rider dies after crash in Velo

Monday 13th May 2019 – 8.45am – Murray MacGregor.

A cyclist participating in Vélo Birmingham & Midlands has died after coming off his bike.

It happened at about 7.45am on Coleshill Road, Atherstone, which was at around the 23 mile mark, happened on is a rural location with a steep downhill section with tight left and right bends.

An event medic was first on scene and immediately requested ambulance back up.  An ambulance and the Derbyshire Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance were sent.

A West Midlands Air Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The middle aged man suffered serious injuries.

“He received advanced life support before being airlifted to the major trauma centre at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire but sadly died later.

“A second patient who was present at the scene was treated by event medical staff.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has any information is asked to call Warwickshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 84 of 12th May.

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Hmed54

Wall collapse in Birmingham

Thursday 9th May 2019 – 7.45am – Murray MacGregor.

One man has died and two others have been assessed by ambulance staff after a wall collapsed at a property in the Hockley area of Birmngham.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Vittoria Street at 5.40pm on Wednesday evening.

Two ambulances, two paramedic officers, the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford and the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff were faced with the aftermath of a wall collapse.

“Tragically, one man was confirmed dead at the scene.

“A second man was assessed and treated by ambulance staff before being taken to Sandwell Hospital.  A third was assessed and discharged at the scene.

“Ambulance staff worked closely with police and fire crews at the scene.”

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Wall Collapse - Vittoria Street

 

 

 

 

Motorcyclist fatally injured

Wednesday 8th May 2019 – 5.30pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.

A man has died following a collision between two cars and a motorbike this afternoon.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Shrewsbury Road in Preston Gubbals, Shrewsbury at 1.14pm and sent three ambulances, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance crew from Cosford in a rapid response car to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, crews discovered the motorcyclist, a man, with very serious injuries following the collision.

“Ambulance staff performed CPR and administered advanced life support but sadly it became apparent nothing could be done to save the man and he was confirmed dead at the scene.

“Following assessment at the scene, a man from one of the cars was taken to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as a precaution.

“A man and a woman who were travelling in the second car were discharged at the scene.”

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Woman seriously injured in rollover RTC

Wednesday 8th May 2019 – 3.45pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.

A woman has been taken to hospital in a serious condition following a two-car collision this afternoon.

A total of three patients were assessed, including a second woman and a toddler, both of whom also required transporting to hospital after they received treatment at the scene.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Wolverhampton Road in Oldbury at 1.47pm and sent three ambulances, two paramedic officers, the Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team, the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car, a BASICS doctor from MARS (Mercia Accident Rescue Service) and the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Crews arrived to find two cars that had suffered significant damage in the collision.

“From the first car, a woman had to be cut free with the help of the fire service. She was treated for very serious injuries by ambulance staff before being taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital by land ambulance in a critical condition. A MARS doctor travelled on the back of the ambulance to continue treatment on route.

“A female toddler had been freed from the car by bystanders prior to the arrival of ambulance resources. She was assessed and treated for injuries not believed to be life-threatening before being taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital by land ambulance.

“The fire service had to cut a second woman free from the other car involved in the incident, which had overturned.

“She received treatment for potentially serious injuries before also being taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital by land ambulance. Again, a doctor travelled with her on her journey to help continue treatment.”

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Shooting in Wolverhampton

Monday 7th May 2019 – 8.35am – Murray MacGregor.

Ambulance staff and a doctor treated a teenager who was shot in Wolverhampton last night (Monday 6th May).

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Graiseley Street in the Pennfields area at 7.49pm to reports of an assault.

An ambulance was on scene within five minutes and was backed up by two paramedic officers and the MERIT Trauma Doctor and Critical Care Paramedic.

The teenager was treated at the scene before being taken on blue lights to hospital; the doctor travelled with the crew.

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ASO in mirror reflection

Trust takes part in trial that could help thousands of patients

Tuesday 7th May 2019 – 6.00am – Murray MacGregor.

Paramedics in the West Midlands are taking part in a clinical trial that could result in thousands fewer patients with heart complaints being taken to hospital; instead being treated at home.

The study, titled PRESTO (the Pre-hospital Evaluation of Sensitive Troponin), is part of the NHS’ ambition to find new ways of delivering healthcare more efficiently without the need for hospital treatment.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is working with three other ambulance services in the trial which is led by the University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Consultant Paramedic, Matt Ward, said: “Chest pain is the second most common reason why people call 999.  However, it doesn’t always mean the patient is having a heart attack; the symptoms are often similar for non-cardiac conditions.

“What this trial is aiming to do is to allow paramedics to carry out a test at scene which would allow them to know which are which.  If the research is positive it could result in ambulance staff being able to provide reassurance much sooner to patients with chest pain while also reducing the number of patients ambulance crews take to A&E departments.”

The trial will be run in Coventry & Warwickshire; the Trust will work with Warwick Hospital and University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire.

For patients willing to take part, they will continue to get exactly the same treatment as they do now except for the paramedic taking a small vial of blood at the scene.  In total, it is hoped 100 patients will take part locally; 700 nationally.

Researchers have already developed a system called the ‘Troponin-only Manchester Acute Coronary Syndromes (T-MACS) decision aid’ to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions from A&E and enable earlier specialist treatment to those that need it.  Over a third of all patients having the test do not need to be admitted to hospital.  The PRESTO study is now assessing whether this decision aid is suitable for use before patients are taken to hospital.

WMAS Research Paramedic, Imogen Gunson, added: “If the trial is successful it could be possible to provide all ambulances with a portable blood testing device which would allow ambulance staff to run these important tests without patients having to be taken to the hospital.

“The impact would be huge; clinicians would be able to make more informed decisions about the best patient care with more in-depth tests at the patient’s side at scene.  As well as providing those patients with non-cardiac related chest pain with reassurance, it would mean those that are having acute coronary problems would receive treatment more quickly resulting in better treatment and potentially saving lives.”

The study is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network: Greater Manchester and receiving in kind support from Abbott Point of Care, LumiraDx and Roche Diagnostics International Ltd.Hospital - UHCW 6

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It’s not smart; it’s certainly not clever; in fact it can put lives at risk

Thursday 2nd May 2019 – 8.00am – Murray MacGregor.

Bosses at West Midlands Ambulance Service are warning that lives could be at risk if people continue to make hoax calls to the service.

New data shows that over the last five years, there have been almost 5,500 malicious call outs.

This has not only wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayer cash, it could have put lives at risk because it delayed answering calls to and responding to patient who are critically ill or injured.

Year Number of Hoax Calls
2014-15 1,171
2015-16 1,283
2016-17 905
2017-18 990
2018-19 1,088
Total 5,437

Jeremy Brown, who is charge of the regions two ambulance emergency operations centres said: “At a time when we are busier than ever, the fact that some people think it is appropriate to deliberately make 999 calls when there is no need is despicable.

“Given we now regularly receive around 4,000 emergency calls each day, the fact that the numbers have remained largely at the same level shows the tremendous dedication of my staff who challenge calls and ensure resources are not sent to a good proportion of these hoax calls.

“With a Bank Holiday ahead and children off school, we would urge parents and guardians to be mindful that quite a lot of hoax calls do come from youngsters.

“Over the years we have seen all sorts of calls: we’ve had people calling about patients not breathing, serious road traffic collisions, patients committing suicide and claims patients are about to die.  Understandably, these can be distressing for my call handlers, but when we then send vital resources on blue lights to these cases only to find that there is no-one there, you can imagine what we think.

“Not only has it tied up a call handler dealing with the call, it means those ambulances have had to drive on blue lights through often busy streets putting other drivers at risk, only to find that there was no need.  Worse, it means they weren’t here for patients who were genuinely in need of that response.  It is appalling.

“We have seen a number of people charged and convicted where they have maliciously abused the 999 call system and we will not hesitate to push for prosecutions again, if that is appropriate.

“Considering we now receive well over a million calls a year, thankfully the number of these which are hoaxes is still very low, but even one is one too many.  We would ask everyone to help us reduce these numbers further so that we can provide the best possible service to the people who need us most.”

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call assessors TG 2018