Claire Brown – Tuesday 7th December 2021 – 1.30pm.
Whilst stories of physical abuse towards frontline ambulance staff is all too familiar, the voices behind the 999s are speaking out about the levels of verbal abuse they receive on an all too regular basis.
Two West Midlands Ambulance Service call handlers, based at Tollgate control room in Staffordshire, volunteered to speak as part of the Together Against Abuse campaign by Together We’re Better Integrated Care System (ICS).
Our call handlers play a crucial part in getting help to the most seriously ill and injured patients throughout Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and beyond. In a video to support the Together Against Abuse Campaign, the two call assessors describe how their work is made so much harder by threats, not only to them, but their families.
Names are withheld.
Jeremy Brown, Integrated Emergency and Urgent Care Director, has worked for the service for 30 years both on the frontline as a paramedic and in control and knows all too well the abuse staff can face at times. He said: “Call assessors are the first voice you hear when you call 999 or 111 for our help. They are there to do the very best by each and every patient, being abusive, difficult and offensive to them is not going to help a patient and does have an impact on call assessors personally.
“When people call us for help, call assessors often talk to people at their most vulnerable and often at a person’s low point in their lives. Having taken 999 calls myself, I know how difficult a job it can be at times. Meanwhile, out on the road, our staff are subjected to verbal and physical abuse every single day. Our staff have recently been issued with body worn cameras and the Trust is also running a trial of stab vests. The public are clear, they find it abhorrent that such things happen, and we are now calling on the courts to reflect that strength of feeling when it comes to sentencing people convicted of such awful crimes.”