Carol - Specialist Paramedic

Based in the Emergency Operations Centres, Specialist Paramedics like Carol Robertson undertake additional training in telephone triage. Her jobs involves calling back patients whose conditions are deemed not to be life-threatening and asking questions to work out the right care for the patient.

As Carol cannot see the patient, her job requires a great deal of concentration. She has to trust her instincts, as well as her knowledge as an experienced, fully trained paramedic, to help her get as much information about the injury or illness as she can, and get the right care for the patient.

Carol said: "I got into this job because I love to help people and this new initiative should make it easier for me to give people the best care possible.

"Many people who call 999 are convinced that they are going to be sent a blue-light ambulance and be taken to hospital. But, the reality is that, for a lot of patients this is not appropriate. By asking them questions, I'm able to refer patients to the right place for care.

"I call back patients who don't need emergency medical help, but the majority of the time people are genuinely unwell or injured and, although it's not life-threatening, they don't know what else to do or what services are available to them. In these cases, I can refer the patient to a health service in the community, arrange a visit to the patient, or give them advice over the phone so that they can stay at home. If an ambulance is sent in a non-life-threatening case, it can take up to four hours to arrive."

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