WEST Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is urging the public to desist from “awful” levels of abuse directed towards staff handling calls for help.

The service’s social media posts prompted staff to come forward with their own accounts and an explanation as to why questions that may appear frustrating to those in need on the other end of the line are necessary.

“Unfortunately, many of our 999/111 call assessors are reporting being verbally abused by callers,” said a WMAS statement.

“Colleagues in our control rooms are doing their very best to ensure patients get the treatment they require and do not deserve to be abused.

“We understand tensions can be high when calling for medical help but please remember that those on the other end of the phone are doing their very best.

“They are people with feelings, just like you.”

It came with words from 999 assessor Nami who said “The amount of verbal abuse we’ve had to endure recently is awful. We’re doing our best with what we have. The service is under immense pressure so please do your bit.”

Asked why the unwanted trend had become more prevalent, a WMAS spokesperson said: "The NHS remains under severe pressure and unfortunately, this does mean some patients are delayed whether that is seeing a GP, while attending A&E or waiting or an ambulance.

"It could be that they are frustrated but the thing about it is that being aggressive to our staff won’t make that change."

It led to public outcry with an army of people supporting the call assessors.

Another assessor commented: “This is such a common experience for us all at the moment, and despite being strong people it can grind you down to tears.

“Please think twice before shouting at us, telling us how you’re going to hurt us if we don’t hurry up.

“We don’t have any magic technology that tells us where you are, we will help you find out if you don’t know but you have to actively help us instead of abusing us for not automatically knowing.

“Every question we ask is to make sure if your situation is the most dangerous, we prioritise you so we get to you quickly, safely.

“If you don’t answer the relevant questions, it runs the risk of not being able to categorise you safely, and it results in things being slowed down.

“Every second you spend abusing a call assessor further delays not only the ambulance you’re calling about, but blocks up a phone line for somebody else and has fatal consequences.

“If you or a loved one need an ambulance please follow the protocols in place which are all there for your safety.

“We will always accept your panic and your frustration, but we do not have to accept threats to our safety, aggression, shouting, name calling and obscene language.

“Take care and please think twice before you mistreat people who are purely here to help you.”

  • DO you work as a 111/999 call handler? Or a paramedic? Have you suffered abuse? Tell your story - email: andy.mitchell@newsquest.co.uk