"Emergency Call"

About: Scottish Ambulance Service / Ambulance Control Centre

(as the patient),

I understand that the 999 service is extremely busy at times, however, I feel that the Emergency Call Handlers within the Ambulance Control Centres can be extremely rude and cutting on the phone. 

I understand that 999 calls deal with things that are life-threatening, however, I feel that the call handlers need to learn basic call handling skills and courtesy. 

More about:


Response from Alan Martin, Patient Experience Manager, Corporate Affairs and Engagement, Scottish Ambulance Service 2 weeks ago
Alan Martin
Patient Experience Manager, Corporate Affairs and Engagement,
Scottish Ambulance Service
Submitted on 28/07/2020 at 18:33
Published on Care Opinion at 18:33

picture of Alan Martin

Dear Pfeiffer1,

Thank you vey much for taking the time share your feedback on Care Opinion. I am sorry that you feel our call handlers can be extremely rude and cutting on the phone.

You are right that our call handlers do deal with life and limb threatening situations and as the first contact that many people have with the emergency services their role, the advice they give and the information they seek can make a huge difference to the outcome.

Our Call handles utilise a system called MPDS (Medical Priority Dispatch System). This is a licenced product that is used all around the world by multiple ambulance services. This system determines the coding of a call which then determines the priority level of a call and what is the most appropriate resource to allocate to the patient. The call handlers must take control of a call to ensure that the information the system seeks is identified as quickly as possible in the order it requires as deviating from the order of questioning can cause delays and potentially errors. This kind of control also allows for a speediest dispatch possible. I can understand how sometimes this "taking control" of a call can be perceived as rude, or cutting, and I apologise if you have found yourself in this situation. I also understand that phoning 999 in itself is a stressful time and this may add to it.

I hope that my explanation as to why a call handler may talk over the caller at times or seem blunt in an effort to be clear, but if there are any specific incidents that you feel strongly were inappropriate I would encourage you to fill out our feedback form at http://www.scottishambulance.co.uk/Content/emailcomplaint.aspx?Dept=Patient Experience Team and we can investigate it formally.

I hope that you are feeling better after having to call 999 and I wish you all the very best.

Kind Regards


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