Real-life story - Claudette McNaughton
Claudette joined the London Ambulance Service as a call handler in 1991 and works 12-hour shifts as an emergency medical dispatcher.
How I got into the role
When you join the service as an emergency medical dispatcher, you complete a call handling training course. Once you finish your training and after approximately six months of call handling, you go back to the training centre to learn how to dispatch ambulances. At the end of your first year in the service as an emergency medical dispatcher, you are able to answer emergency calls and also dispatch ambulances to incidents.
What I do
I mainly work in the call handling section of the control room answering emergency calls from people including members of public, the police, London Underground staff, GPs and the London Fire Brigade. When you answer a call you never know what type of incident you are going to be dealing with. I am also responsible for making sure that ambulance crews have as much information as possible before they arrive at a scene so the crew can give the patient the best treatment.
The best bits and challenges
Call handling can be stressful and it is a busy job, but it is also very rewarding. Often I am the first person someone talks to when they are in an emergency situation and need. It is a big responsibility but I enjoy the challenge.
As an emergency medical dispatcher you get a lot of job satisfaction - knowing that you have helped to save a person’s life or helped deliver a baby over the phone is a great feeling.