International Control Room Week: More than 1.2 million calls answered in a year

Date: 25 October 2019

Samantha Barber

This week we have joined together to celebrate the work of our unseen heroes on the frontline.

This is the second International Control Room Week, which highlights the crucial role played by call handlers and dispatchers across the 999 services.

The international event was supported by our three ambulation operations centres in Bedford, Norwich and Chelmsford, as well as almost 200 control room operations across other UK blue light services.

Our three centres answered an astonishing 1,270,736 calls between October 2018 and September 2019.

  • Chelmsford: 453,342
  • Bedford: 362,451
  • Norwich: 454,943

Samantha Barber has been working for the ambulance service as a call handler in Bedford for just under four years and became a senior call handler in June 2018.

She said: “I was first inspired to work for the Ambulance Service at age 14 when I joined St John's Ambulance as a cadet. The main motivation was to be able to help people who are in need and being a call handler enables me to do this, as we are the first port of call and are able to give vital instructions to the caller/patients to help them until the responders arrive.

“During my time in the control room I have taken a mixture of calls, from elderly falls and chest pain to instructing expectant parents how to deliver their baby and giving instructions for CPR for those patients in cardiac arrest. Throughout this time, I have taken a number of traumatic calls but with the help of my colleagues, the Wellbeing Hub and Trust support services I was able to continue doing the job I love, and it has also made me a stronger person.

“Following on from one of those calls I was nominated for Call Handler of the Year 2018, for my professionalism in dealing with the call and was one of 15 finalists in the UK. I am now achieving my dream and moving forward in my career with the Trust by going out on the road, I will continue to take the skills and experiences I have learnt throughout my time working in ambulance control.”

  • Summary:

    This week we have joined together to celebrate the work of our unseen heroes on the frontline.