A frequent caller to the ambulance service is defined nationally by the Ambulance Frequent Caller National Network as an adult (18 years +) who makes five or more emergency calls in a month, or 12 or more emergency calls in three months from a private dwelling.
SWASFT has a dedicated team of staff to manage the frequent callers to its service as many frequent callers have complex health and social care needs.
A multi-agency, structured approach is used to assist and improve patient’s access to health and social care. This patient–centred approach leads to many callers contacting the 999 service less frequently due to improved access to more appropriate care.
To raise awareness of the frequent callers demand on SWASFT, the Frequent Caller Team will work with teams across the Primary Health and Social Care sector (GPs, keyworkers including Mental Health Teams and social workers) and secondary care arena (A&E departments, consultants). They may also work with housing departments.
As part of this process, letters will be sent to the frequent callers, their GP and keyworkers, highlighting the number of calls they are making and the impact this is having on the 999 service.
If inappropriate demand continues, reducing the ability of SWASFT to attend others in the community in need of emergency care, the Frequent Caller Team will pursue this matter with the police through the legal/criminal route and a number of successful convictions have been issued across the South West region.
Health care professionals who would like to speak to a member of the Frequent Caller Team should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.