There exists, up in the lofty reaches of ambulance control a thing known as the 'TAS desk'. TAS stands for 'Telephone Advice Service', and 'desk' is what the phones sit on. With this modern day marvel, those people who dial 999 but do not actually warrant an ambulance are redirected to this desk. The patient will then talk to a specially trained call-taker who will attempt to advise the patient on a more reasonable treatment – for example by advising the patient to make their own way to their GP, in order to treat the verruca that they have had for the past six months.
Until recently, if the patient insisted, Control would have to send an ambulance – which is why I have picked up, as an emergency case, someone with a verruca for the past six months. The recent 'No Send' trial has meant that Control can now refuse to send an ambulance.
However, the staffing in Control is awful at the moment, and this means that there was not enough people to staff the TAS desk tonight.
Which may explain why we have been so busy going to utter crap calls all night. I could argue that only one patient actually could do with an ambulance, that being a young girl who had started to bleed fairly heavily from her tonsil operation site. About 250mls of clotted blood were in her bath when we got to her, and we later found out that she had needed to be transferred to a specialist unit.
But the rest of our calls were for the likes of – a 30 year old man with a cough, a 13 year old with a temperature for three days, a 9 year old who was upset because she was staying with her gran and missed her mother, and a couple of other jobs that were so pointless I can't even remember them.
It's now 6am, so I have an hour to go until the end of my shift, and this is traditionally the time you have a 'maternataxi' run into the local hospital. This would finish the shift off nicely.