Just finished 3 days overtime which has been a bit of a shock to the system as I've not done nay for nearly a year!! I was back to where I started in the LAS - sitting on the 9's! However much I like being on sector, it was really nice to not have to worry about any of the crap going on up there. I was able to just sit back and just deal with the call I was on. No managers looking over my shoulder telling me what I should or shouldn't be doing with my crews. No arguing with crews about whether there is a nearer vehicle available. No worrying that I have 3 Cat A's on my screen that I can't cover. It was lovely!! And what was even better was that I got to actually speak to one of our regular callers!
Steve has posted about this particular caller before so I'm going to use the same pseudonym. The phone goes "ping" in my ear and as I glance at the CLI I think, hang on a sec, I recognise that address. All I can hear on the other end of the phone is moaning and groaning (not unlike some dodgy sex sounds I have to say!). I ask the caller his address and in between moans he tells me. Now perhaps a little unprofessionally I say "Is that Joe?". The voice sounds a little surprised and then groans a yes. "Joe is your chest hurting again?", I ask. (If I got QA'd on this call I'd be given a talking to!!) I receive another moan and another yes. I go through all the questions which he answers with the speed of someone who has, without question, been here before. I text Steve telling him that I'm talking with Joe to which I get a reply not fit for this blog. (Steve is still miffed with me for sending him to Joe on all 4 shifts of our earlies!! I even went as far as telling the next watch he was working with to try and send him if they got a call from Joe as he's Steve's favourite patient!!!!!)
When I was out on obs with Steve and Barry on Sunday (See next post!), I was told that Joe has now had a total of 331 ambulances this year (Make that now at least 332!) Every time we dispatch an ambulance it costs approx £500. Therefore, this year, Joe has cost the ambulance service approx £165, 500!! I know that the service is trying to put a protocol in place for him but this is a real tough one. Usually when we get regular callers, they fall into certain categories:
The Hoaxer - people who phone constantly from the same (or collection) or mobiles and ask for ambulances to addresses that aren't their own
The Abusive - people who phone constantly and then proceed to abuse the call taker and the crew so we now don't attend without the police
The Psychiatric - people who have a genuine Mental Health problem such as depression and are constantly threatening suicide and have no where else to turn
The Lonely - people who have no one else in their lives and the crews and hospital staff are always nice to them and give them a cup of tea
The Annoying - people who call us saying they have fallen out of bed when really they just want us to get them a glass of water or turn the TV over
The Genuine - people who have incredibly severe medical conditions such as COPD or Epilepsy and have specific medical protocols and need to get to hospital asap
Joe falls into a whole new category. Really he should fit into The Lonely grouping. However because he is elderly and always says he's having chest pain, one day it may be for real and we can't risk not attending on that day. It's a tough one. He really is The Boy who Cried Wolf - or should that be The Pensioner who Cried Chest Pain! And so for now we (well Steve!) will have to keep attending. I can only think the way to stop him calling is to do all the usual tests and if they are completely normal then leave him at home but medically we shouldn't do that so who knows! I leave it to the PTB that get paid a lot more than me to make these decisions!