Control room tweetathon - Thursday 4 October

Emergency Medical DispatcherWe tweeted live from our control room on Thursday 4 October to show the range of 999 emergency calls we receive.

From midday to 6pm and from 6pm to midnight, the work of call takers Juliet and Sam was broadcast on Twitter.

As well as showing the difficult and distressing situations our call takers deal with over the phone each shift, the tweetathon also demonstrated that a lot of 999 calls received aren't so serious and could be handled more appropriately by other healthcare professionals.

Find out more about:

Top five Q&As

The tweetathon generated a lot of interest on Twitter and many wanted to know more. Here are answers to the top five most common questions we received.

  1. How many calls did we take yesterday?
    We took just over 4,700 emergency calls yesterday. Frontline staff attended 2,976 incidents.
  2. What’s the difference between a call taker and a dispatcher?
    A call taker answers 999 calls and finds out the severity of the patient’s condition. A dispatcher allocates appropriate frontline resources, such as ambulances or fast response cars, to the patient. Both call takers and dispatchers are known as Emergency Medical Dispatchers.
  3. How many call takers are there per shift?
    On a normal day we can have as many as 36 staff taking 999 calls. Between 70 and 80 staff are working in the control room at any time.
  4. Are we planning any future tweetathons in other parts of the Service?
    Yes. We’d like to tweet live with one of our ambulance crews or single responders. Watch this space.
  5. Are there any vacancies in the control room?
    See our current vacancies page to find out if we’re looking for more emergency medical dispatchers to work in our control room. .

The two call takers - Juliet and Sam

Juliet was followed taking calls from 12pm to 6pm. During this time she took 46 emergency calls. Watch her short film:

Sam was followed taking calls from 6pm to 12am. During this time he took 42 emergency calls. Watch his short film:

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