I’ve been involved in a project for the past couple of months hence the sparsity of posts. This project involves responding to 999 calls from people who seem to be one cell up from an amoeba. My service is jumping on us to get there faster, treat more effectively and therefore clear sooner at scene or hospital and to treat (as in listen patiently as some plank rabbits on rather than actually ‘treating’ a real deserving patient!).
We need to educate the public on when they should call for an ambulance. Only a few years ago it would have been common to anecdotally relate only a few inappropriate calls ie ‘need the curtains drawing’, ‘cant find the remote control’ ‘I’m lonely’ ‘cant get the top off a childproof container’ etc. But now we seem to be getting so many stupid calls that undoubtably affect our target chasing of ORCON that we are getting penalised financially (for missing the ORCON time) and the general public dont get the full story.
Education should involve self-treatment for minor ailments/injuries and information on what is and what is not a 999 priority. You do not dial 999 because you ‘cant sleep’ or ‘I thought I would get an ambulance to hospital then I can go shopping after my checkup with the A/E being in the city centre’. A lot of people out there need to have a word with themselves!
And the number of calls we get for ‘Swine Flu’ that turns out to be nothing more than a sniffle….and I mean a sniffle….is staggering! The Ambulance Service is changing culturally and becoming more academically focused and gaining more skills and recognition and starting to have its own voice within the NHS….but nothing is being done to tell the general public (and GPs) when and when not to call for an ambulance!