"disappointed and bewildered about the lack of paramedic support"

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance

(as other),

Whilst out on the Isles of Scilly I came across a cyclist who had come off his bike, he had facial lacerations and was in shock. A taxi driver who was also a passerby called 999 for an ambulance and was asked to give the phone to the injured cyclist. However, because of his injuries the cyclist was unable to respond to the questions he was being asked and I took the phone from him to speak to the operator.

I was disappointed with the service. No allowance was made for the fact that the injured man could not answer the phone himself and the operator was not prepared to move on to take other details until seemingly irrelevant information such as his temperature had been given. We had no means of taking his temperature, it was a roadside accident. 15 minutes later we were still no further forward in getting an ambulance to treat the casualty, the call operator would not send out an ambulance until they had this information.

At this point an off duty ambulance crew person arrived by chance, also a nurse who was dropping off a child at a nearby school. I left the cyclist in their care, disappointed and bewildered about the lack of paramedic support.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Sara Coburn, Patient Engagement Manager, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Dear Pattern538

Thank you for taking the time to provide our service with feedback.

The circumstances of this event are anonymised for the purposes of publishing here, so I am afraid I am unable to identify this specific event to be able to comment directly.

All 999 calls to our service are answered in the same way; a number of key questions are asked at the start of the call to enable our service to establish what the needs of the patient are and, very importantly for our service, the location of the patient. Once these questions have been answered a call taker will continue to ask questions as our triage process: the aim of triage is to establish what is the most appropriate response for the patient. While triage is taking place, action is being taken behind the scenes to establish which is the closest ambulance resource and where necessary dispatch this resource to attend the patient.

I know there are lots of questions to answer, and I understand that some may seem inappropriate, but the answers given to these questions give our service pieces to the bigger picture which is really important when making decisions on what resource to dispatch to a patient where necessary.

I hope this has provided some information, however if I can clarify anything further please do let me know - sara.coburn@swast.nhs.uk.

Kind Regards


  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful