After the last post Cookie left a comment asking if I still wanted to leave my job…

We were sent on blue lights and sirens to a young woman who had 'collapsed'. We arrived and found her writhing around on the floor. She wasn't too happy to talk to us, instead she kept pretending to be unconscious.

It transpired that she was having period pain.

My crewmate (who is female) asked her if she had taken any painkillers for it, after some grunting, groaning and flailing around she was told that, no, the patient hadn't taken any painkillers.

“Do you have painkillers?”, asked my crewmate.

“Yes”, said the patient and named a rather good painkiller.

“Why haven't you taken them then?”

The patient then pretended to be unconscious.

We asked a couple of times, at no point did she answer. Instead she kept 'passing out' in a way that wouldn't win her any Oscars.

So we popped her in the carry-chair (because otherwise she would be throwing herself about) and popped her to the hospital.

She was given two Paracetamol tablets and sat out in the waiting room.

By London Ambulance Service numbers, 8 out of 10 of our jobs are like this, not needing an ambulance or hospital treatment. I think I get more than my fair share. I find myself going to people younger than me, often healthier than me and yet having to carry them downstairs because their 'flu' makes them unable to walk.

I'm glad I don't have 'proper' jobs all the time, I also like it when my patient can walk on and off my ambulance at both ends of the journey. What does happen is that these 'inappropriate' calls* eventually grind you down, the endless parade of people who don't need any of the skills I have except the ability for me to write down what they say and drive them to hospital.

I knew it would be like this before I joined the job.

It's not the main reason why I want to change jobs, not by a long chalk, I'd say it's around reason #17. But the jobs that make me want to stay, the serious jobs where I can make a difference, are few and far between.

*Of course there are, according to people on much higher payscales than me, no 'inappropriate callers', only 'inappropriate responses'. Which is why we spend so much money on dealing with people who don't need hospital treatment but can't be bothered to see their GP or local walk in centre. At times it seems to be our main focus as an ambulance service.

14 thoughts on “Inappropriate”

  1. 80% of your jobs are like this?Is it really the case this country is a nation of whimpy malingerers? Maybe the brasshats in the NHS will wake up and start invoicing persistent time wasters for the resources they use.

  2. I work in a control room and sometimes we can tell that the calls arent what the callers say they are, the problem is unlike the police or fire service when the public call we have to follow what the computer system says, we are not allowed to judge the integrity of the caller, and we are not allowed to dig much deeper to find out exactly what is going on, we have to go on what the callers say.What I am getting at is that some of this calls could be nipped in the bud and dealt with using other resources if people had more education about what we do and what we dont do, and if in the control rooms we could dig deeper.

    I do feel sorry for the crews who have to go out on silly calls, and it especially annoys me when the callers lie about what is going on.

    Sorry if it seems like I have gone astray of the subject

  3. I love the poster. Do you think it will have more effect than my personal favorite of “Only one of these is a taxi service”?I like them b/c at least the UK is trying to reduce inappropriate callers. We just grin and bear it here in the US.

  4. I think the 80% refers to calls that do not require transport to A&E by a 999 ambulance. This will include patients that need to go to hospital (but not A&E), patients that would be better served by a community nurse or other service away from hospital. Obviously the patients that don't need any help at all are a minority (although it often feels like they are the only ones we see).DSO

  5. Exactly, and 10% need A&E treatment by ambulance, while 10% are life-threatening calls. At least those were the figures as I remember them.With the amount of time and money that is going towards the front end model, I think we should rename the service the 'Accident, emergency, sniffles and hurty boo-boos service'…


  6. I'd like to see Paramedics being given the ability to prescribe a slap on scene.”What seems to be the trouble? You're in pain? And have you taken any painkillers? No? Well, I have a treatment for you – its more of a long term solution than a short term, but it should help. SLAP. There, now – see? from now on, you'll take your painkillers before wasting our time, yes?”

    2 slaps, twice a day, or however many it takes to put the phone down.

  7. It grinds me down just reading about it, especially having just watched the evening news and the plight of the people of Burma.I don't think two slaps is enough, not with that patients condition, you've under prescribed, up the dose.

  8. On a serious note the everyday grind of these jobs leads to skill degradation. The mundane becomes second nature, of the 40 – odd jobs I've done in the past 4 days I can think of only 2 that were life threatening and 4 others that needed A&E attendance. Skills and diagnostic thought become rusty no matter how many times you go over the books. The training opportunities are there, but due to the high volume of calls every day, getting 'stood down' to participate is impossible. And yes, I have gone to training sessions on a day off, which means even less time spent with the family.

  9. “I find myself going to people younger than me, often healthier than me and yet having to carry them downstairs because their 'flu' makes them unable to walk.”I found that resonating, but perhaps not the way one might think. In two of the three times I was transported by ambulance, I offered to at least climb into the ambulance (at the time I weighed 240lbs – is that 17stone?) but was told that the rules (most likely for fear of lawsuits in case of a fall – patents leaving hospital after a full night or more in a bed must be taken by wheelchair at least to the curb/kerb because of this) would not allow it.

  10. Essential new kit for all ambulances to include Mr Teddy, a bag of lollipops, a roll of “I've Been Very Brave!” badges, and of course the Magic Cream and some Big Dangerous Plasters.

  11. Period pain? FFS. Was she 'educationally challenged' or was she just a lazy, whinging, over indulged oxygen thief?

  12. I have heard of one way of dealing with some time wasters. Apparently you take them to a hospital a long way from their home and then they have to make their own way back. Costly but satisfying I should imagine.As usual , these sort of people will end up ruining the services for everyone else.

    I hope you can find something to do that makes you happy.

  13. Well Reynolds , you are not a happy bunny , what to do though ? reason No 11 says no to paediatrics and reason No 20 says stay away from A&E ! you have tried FRV , you are not allowed to have a day off ill as you have had your quota ! no wonder you are close to the end of your tether with L.A.S. Does the blog help or is it a millstone that you are addicted to ? Or does it help you get through day ? Being Tom has opened some big doors for you but til the suits get back to reality and help sort out the shop floor the only changes to your life can only be made by you .

  14. Sorry, had to laugh at 'Hurty Boo-boos' lol. Is that proper medical terminology? ;o)It has quite a ring to it. It would brighten many people's day to see that written above the door of their local A&E lol.

    Second comment :o)

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