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Home > Topics > Communications / Dispatch

911 dispatchers banned from eating lollipops

Staff say they are being "micro-managed" to death — and not even allowed to eat lollipops at work

The Courier Mail

BRISBANE, Australia — They are entrusted with one of the most critical jobs in society but ambulance dispatchers aren't trusted to feed themselves or drink without spilling. Call centre workers have been banned from eating lollies at their desks and are being forced to drink only out of "sippy cups". The "micro-managing" has sparked claims that workers fear being burnt out as the busy flu season approaches

The Courier-Mail revealed on Saturday that communication failures and meal break issues contributed to the tardy response to a Brisbane man left to treat himself after crushing his leg under his own truck. Documents showed the man died of a heart attack last year after waiting almost 40 minutes for the right paramedics to arrive after a hungry dispatcher wrongly coded his case as non life-threatening before going on a break. At the same time, a key clinical supervisor was also in the mealroom.

QAS Commissioner Russell Bowles acknowledged there were systemic failures in the case of the man's death, but said they had been fixed. But workers say low morale in the communications centres was putting lives at risk.

Full story: Ambulance dispatchers do their lolly over eating ban

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Mike Ledgerwood Mike Ledgerwood Tuesday, April 02, 2013 9:57:47 PM I don't think food should be allowed at the console. Last thing that we need is an unintelligable dispatcher because their mouth is full of food. Water, ok but no food. Here, dispatchers get breaks ever 30 minutes.
Sherry Sanford Sherry Sanford Wednesday, April 03, 2013 5:14:08 AM late april fools joke?
Sherry Karnes Sherry Karnes Thursday, April 04, 2013 4:01:02 PM Hmmmm as a retired night dispatcher that worked alone, no breaks, no 30 lunch break or someone to cover while you ate, or God forbid had to pee. for 12 hrs shifts you gotta work with what you have been handed. Glad I don't work there anymore.......
John Arnoldussen John Arnoldussen Friday, April 05, 2013 8:07:32 AM OK dispatchers... Sit at your desk, eyes focused on computer, hand on the phone receiver, and don't even blink.....just in case an emergency comes in. I know you all do the best you can so keep up the great work and forget about the idiots who "try to" make you do the impossible. Dispatching is a tough job and I appreciate everything you do! Keep EMS rolling to calls folks!

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