from an insider
I work there, so matt, dave, and even the reg or any other smartarse who speaks up without knowing what the fuck they're going on about, listen up. The callers are not assessed by 'software and call takers' but by fully trained up NHS nurses and midwives who have to have at least five-ten years service under their belts. Most of the nurses at my site have become disabled through years of lifting fat fucks on wards, so it's the ideal job for them. Initial calls are triaged by health advisors, but they have constant access to a clinical lead, usually a nurse with a good 20 years worth of experience.
Most calls to the service are 'Health Info' calls which are sent off to a dedicated team, or 'quick calls' such as 'What is a chemist?', 'Where's the local clap clinic' or 'how do i find a vet?' (No I'm not joking, wish I was). Of the 30% of calls that require assessment the most common outcome is 'Home Care' for idiots who don't know how to put a sticky plaster on, or 'See GP for routine appt. within a month' for nutters who think that the single spot on their face is leprosy. The third most common dispo is 'GP within a week', followed by 'GP within 48 hrs' which the patients need to follow up themselves, if they can figure out how to. Out of the millions of calls taken a small percentage are referred to out of hours GPs directly, and a tiny percentage are told 'Visit A&E' or are patched through to the ambulance service.
Righto, onto the A&E/999 thing. If the British public weren't such idle, idiotic, hypochondriac lying fuckwits those two would hardly ever be used. but, if Joe Fucktard is saying his leg is hanging off, then we obviously can't ignore him. If lying Sally Twatbag who makes 30 calls a night is drunk and pretending to be unconscious, we can't tell her pissed mate to fuck off and leave us alone. Conversely if Barry Braindead calls us instead of dialling 999 for his very obvious heart attack, he gets patched through. If Mrs Shouldbe-Sterilised rings because her baby is blue, not moving, and "Should I give him some calpol" then what are we supposed to do? Not bother calling for an ambulance?
Google 'Tragedy Towers' for a better example of what goes on, and the lying, stupid scumbags that NHSD staff ehave to deal with every day. After copping shit from the idiot public they then get it in the neck from other NHS staff because liars dial 999 and say "NHSD told me to do it" and ambulance calltakers are stupid enough to believe them, or they turn up at AE, lying, and saying the same thing.
If you call, and you're telling the absolute truth about your symptoms, and they tell you to get help from a GP or A&E then do that. They're not blind automatons, they're trained healthcare staff with a shit job, doing a thankless task and receiving abuse every day. omplete mental breakdowns are a ccomon reason for sickness here. Some people have ASBOs or restraining orders forbidding them to contact us, it's that bad.