Emergency medical dispatcher Emergency call handler, ambulance dispatcher
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Emergency medical dispatchers handle calls from the public and GPs requesting an ambulance.
1. Entry requirements
You'll usually need:
- GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in subjects like English, maths and science
- a typing qualification
It may also help you get a job if you've experience in customer services or the health sector.
Requirements for each ambulance service vary. Check with your local ambulance service.
2. Skills required
- excellent communication skills to handle 999 calls
- the ability to think quickly under pressure
- fast, accurate typing skills
- IT skills to use computerised command and control systems
3. What you'll do
You'll need to meet standards for response times so you'll be working quickly and under pressure. Some ambulance services split the role into call handlers and dispatchers.
As a call handler, you'll be:
- keeping the caller calm to get essential information
- finding out the location and details of what happened
- logging information electronically and passing it to a dispatcher
- giving advice to people facing life-threatening situations
- helping people cope until an ambulance arrives
As a dispatcher, you'll be:
- deciding what's needed - ambulance, car, motorbike or helicopter
- working out which vehicle's nearest
- contacting the crew and passing on vital information
Starter: £15,000 to £17,750
Experienced: £16,750 to £19,500
Highly Experienced: £26,000 or more (manager)
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environment
You'll work shifts, including evenings and weekends, including public holidays.
You'll work in a control room, under a supervisor.
6. Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a team leader or control room superintendent.
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Last updated: 11 September 2018