999 Call Handler Shares Their Heartfelt Resignation Letter

As with the vast majority of our hard-hitting articles which we share, the following resignation email was sent into us by the person who sent it.

It is a shame to be losing such bright individuals at a time when the emergency services are under so much stress.

We hope that by sharing this, then not only will members of the public start to understand what THEY can do to help the situation, but we also hope that senior managers can learn as to why some people are deciding to give up a job they had once dreamed of doing.

We have omitted some of the details within the correspondence in order to protect the identity of the person who sent it into us. Some other details have also been changed for the same reason:

“Hi guys! I’m not sure this is the right place to do this, but here goes!

I recently left my job as an Emergency Call Handler with [omitted].

There were many reasons for my resignation, most of which I put in an email to our Call Handling Manager. I would like to share my email with you.

I feel like if I can be a tiny part of opening people’s eyes to what goes on on a daily basis for us, I would feel my 15 months with the service wasn’t a waste.

Below is the email I sent with some of the reasons for my resignation, I’m not asking for you to share the full email (it’s a bit of an essay) but even if you can take some points to make an article to get out there and maybe it will help change the perspective of some of the people we have the ‘joy’ of assisting each day!

So here it is..

Part of the reason for my resignation is unfortunately the abuse we take from the public on a daily basis.

Although not always personal, I believe the expectations of the Ambulance Service and the way we are perceived in the public eye needs to change.

I believe it creates an almost impossible barrier to overcome when dealing with the public in such a way.

I have come to learn over my 15 months with the Service the difference between a distressed caller and a caller who is simply rude.

I feel as Call Handlers we are treated with very little respect from the public for the amazing job we do.

Sometimes I feel that the limited resources we have contribute to the frustration of the callers who call repeatedly until an Ambulance arrives.

I have had personal abuse from callers on numerous occasions, this has been due to my nationality and accent, as well as sometimes my age as callers seem to think I am young and inexperienced.

We are all human, and I believe we deserve nothing but respect from callers who are asking for our help.

Sometimes I feel that callers see us as robots and forget that the harsh abuse they are screaming and shouting at us does take its toll.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the level of stress that our role involves is high at the best of times, so this added pressure of trying to stick to our protocol whilst being shouted at and hung up on doesn’t make our job any easier.

I feel that we are under alot of pressure to just get on with this abuse whilst being audited on our calls, trying to say the exact wording whilst being called all kinds of names and not to forget get the correct code with the limited information we get from the caller who refuses to answer our questions.

Although the staff here try their best, I feel that sometimes being understaffed and having no Call Handling Supervisor is tough.

When problems arise and we are needing some help or guidance with certain calls, having to walk to the other side of the room to get help from a Duty Manager can be frustrating, for us and for them I’m sure.

There have been occasions where I have had to walk to get the attention of a Duty Manager and in this time the caller has hung up, leaving my phone open to the next call which I am not at my desk for.

I also believe that the system can be quite frustrating at times, I once had to code a call for a person who had drank some out of date milk because he said his breathing wasn’t normal for him, although he was talking to me without a problem, he got a yellow response, this call along with many others makes me understand why we are so under resourced.

Perhaps we should be able to question the callers integrity when we feel necessary?

I felt so sorry for the crew attending this particular patient and understand just how frustrating it must be for them.

I definitely believe that educating the public will help, whether that be on a small scale or a large one.

If we can educate the public on when to call an Emergency Ambulance, maybe just maybe we will begin to sieve out these calls.

I’ve lost count of the amount of callers who have said ‘But the Ambulance Station is just round the corner so where is the Ambulance’ unfortunately telling the callers that Ambulances don’t sit in the station for very long comes as a shock to a large number of these callers.

Or when an Ambulance drives past them and don’t stop, having to educate callers that there are others in need also comes as a shock.

I feel sorry for the elderly who fall and lie on the floor for hours, but often I feel there should be much more in place for these types of calls.

Especially if they are uninjured and their elderly relatives just can’t get them up.

I don’t think they should lie for hours, but a lot of the time they don’t need an Ambulance and could have some sort of falls resource to help them.

Another reason for my resignation is the one break in a twelve hour shift.

We are dealing with life threatening situations, coping under a lot of pressure by the end of each shift are mentally drained to say the least.

I feel that one break is insufficient for the role that we do…

…I don’t mean to rant, but I hope that you can take my experiences and make the necessary changes for my colleagues and their future with the Service.

Thanks again for your well wishes, I wish all of my colleagues nothing but the best for the future and I have nothing but respect for each and every one of you.”

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2 comments

  • It’s an awful shame to lose a member of the emergency services. We all need help at one time or another and these people being rude ECT,. Don’t deserve the help you give us. The result is we no longer have you at that end of the phone and we desperately need you and every other member of the emergency services.
    The people who abuse you for no other reason than they want now and care nothing for the other members of the public, should they be elderly or young. As for time wasters they should foot the bill for unnecessary call outs.
    The wages are not in line with the job any of these services do, so is it not time they got paid for all the nasty customers?
    I would like to thank you for your service and good luck in your new career.
    Also thank you to all our emergency services who put their lives on the line for us everyday

  • I have been watching some of the “ fly on the wall” programmes and I am shocked by the amount of offensive callers, waste of time (prank) callers and unnecessary requests for emergency services. What really insensed me were that genuine cases, like suspected heart attacks, people with broken bones or dislocations etc were having to wait ages while those who indulged in a self-inflicted excess of drink and/or drugs, were being pandered to by umpteen emergency service crews!!
    Having said that, I can totally empathise with you 💜 Best wishes for wherever life takes you

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