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Trainee Emergency Call Handler - Waterloo/Newham

Band 3

Main area
Emergency Operations Centre
Band 3
Full time - 37.5 hours per week (37.5)
Job ref
Waterloo or Newham
£26,618 - £28,065 Per annum inc HCAS.
Salary period
01/01/2024 23:59

London Ambulance Service covers an area of 620 sq. miles, serves one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse cities and is the busiest ambulance service in the UK. We handle over 1.9 million emergency calls from across the capital and attend more than 1.2 million incidents every single year as well as delivering a 24 hour NHS 111 Integrated Urgent Care Service in South East and North East London that we estimate will respond to around 1.4million urgent care calls by the end of the year.


We employ over 8,000 people who work or volunteer across London to respond to the health needs of over eight million people who live, work and travel in the capital. We work closely with our NHS partners and are commissioned by 32 clinical commissioning groups spread across 5 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and NHS England for our specialist services. We work alongside London’s hospital, mental health and specialist trusts, as well as the five STPs across Greater London.


In addition we work in partnership with the other emergency services, London’s Air Ambulance and London’s Resilience Forums to make sure we are ready and prepared to respond to major incidents and ensure we keep Londoners safe. As the only pan-London NHS provider we have a unique opportunity to play a leading role in integrating access to emergency and urgent care right across London.


By 2023 we will improve outcomes and experiences for all our patients by providing the right care to patients at the right time, and in the most cost effective way. This will mean up to 122,000 fewer patients being taken to emergency departments when their needs could be better met in a different way, and we will deliver significant efficiencies in avoided costs to the urgent and emergency care sector.

Job overview

Do you want to make a difference?

Do you want to work for the best Ambulance service in the U.K?

Do you like working as part of a supportive and motivated team?

Would you like generous NHS Benefits, including 27 annual leave days (plus 8 days bank holiday) and NHS Pension?

Would you like to develop your career with the London Ambulance Service?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, then we would welcome an application from you..

This is a vital role for the London Ambulance Service, receiving and taking charge of all incoming emergency calls.  You are the first point of contact for our callers and patients, some of whom will be distressed, anxious or panicking.   Using effective communication, interpersonal and persuasive skills, you will deal with all callers in a professional manner in order to obtain the required essential patient information.

Using the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS), you will obtain an initial assessment of both the patient and the scene in an efficient manner.  You will also be responsible for accurately recording essential patient information in a precise and timely manner. 

This role is Band 3 rising to Band 4 on completion of 12 months service. After you have gained vital experience as a Call Handler, there is a clear Career path to being either a Emergency Resource Dispatcher (B5) or Emergency Call handling Supervisor (B5). 

Main duties of the job

You must be able to remain calm in an emergency. When people are panicking, your role is to be clear and assertive where required to ensure the caller remains focused.  You will need to be able to follow a script and reassure the caller, but also to be firm where necessary about what they need to do.

Our staff are on the end of the line while new life is born into the world and we helped to deliver them. We provide support and reassuring words for someone alone with no one else to turn to. We stay on the line with those who are vulnerable having engaging conversations to find out more information. We are the voice that comforts those who have lost a family member and we are there, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Following a shift you will need to be able to switch off, which can be hard, especially after dealing with difficult calls.  As part of a team, your colleagues are there for you and will help, support and enable you to realise the difference that you have made.

Working for our organisation

We are one of the world’s busiest ambulance services. We have around 8,000 staff and volunteers in our Service: around 3,300 frontline crews in ambulance stations across London, 500 people in our two 999 control rooms and hundreds of support staff based in our offices across the city. 

Working for us is an experience like no other, in a city like no other. Whatever your role you’ll be helping people who need us the most.

Together, we all play a key part in making sure that we can respond to anyone needing our help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

We are committed to promoting equal opportunities across everything we do, in terms of employment and training, providing services and our engagement and decision making. We welcome diversity and look for self-motivated, enthusiastic people from all backgrounds who care about making a difference.

What We Can Offer You

  • Salary starting at £26,618 including HCAS (After training)
  • Unsocial hours enhancements (In accordance to NHS Terms and Conditions Agenda for Change section 2)
  • Generous NHS Pension Scheme
  • 27 days annual leave plus additional bank holiday leave allocated
  • MPDS qualification (Nationally recognised triage system used in 45 countries)
  • NHS Discounts in over 200+ stores including Holidays, Days out, Car insurance, Restaurants and Clothing

Detailed job description and main responsibilities

To effectively answer all types of emergency and non-emergency calls made to the 999 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) from both Health Care Professionals, external agencies and members of the public

To ensure all calls are answered and responded to as laid out in the Trust’s policies and procedures

To be confident in utilising the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system and Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) to accurately enter patient information in an efficient way

To ensure all details are inputted and passed to relevant personnel to ensure appropriate dispatch of resources

To deal with complex, sensitive or contentious information regarding a patient’s condition.

To communicate tactfully and empathetically with callers showing care when handling all calls

To monitor patient incidents to ensure all information is gathered and the patient’s condition has not deteriorated

To maintain effective control of the call to ensure efficient handling time to improve the response to the patient

To remain calm and resilient in a pressurised environment

To be able to modify and adapt communication styles taking into consideration the differing needs of the callers especially in complex situations

To be able to effectively communicate and deal with highly emotional callers, including traumatic incidents such as death

Be confident to utilise negotiating skills when handling calls where the caller is abusive or uncooperative

To cover a 24/7 rotating shift pattern

To continually maintain standards and develop through annual education and personal development

Please note that the training for this role will take place in Barking. The role is based at either our Waterloo or our Bow site (which is moving to Newham), and may require travel to other EOC sites subject to the requirements of the service.

If your application is shortlisted, you will be required to attend a Typing, Audio Recall and Comprehension assessment, and if successful will be invited for an interview.

Person specification

Qualifications and Experience

Essential criteria
  • Minimum of 3 GCSE’s or equivalent at grade C / 5 or above including Maths and English, NVQ level 3 in a relevant subject or equivalent
  • Experience within customer orientated environment
  • Experience of using a telephone as a regular means of communication at work/or through voluntary/charity work

Skills and Abilities

Essential criteria
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Inquisitive mind and proven questions skills (The ability to question and obtain relevant information)
  • Ability to work to defined procedures and instructions (has an understanding of specific instructions/guidelines and able to follow as directed)
  • Ability to work to deadlines without compromising on standard of performance
  • Assertive and empathetic manner/ Tactful and Diplomatic as required
Desirable criteria
  • Understanding and commitment to diversity

Other Requirements

Essential criteria
  • Resilience when faced with distressing situations
  • Ability to work 24 hour rotating shifts
  • Good verbal & written communication skills, Possess basic keyboard skills (including well-presented application form, literacy, spelling with no omissions i.e. fully completed application form)

Employer certification / accreditation badges

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Applicant requirements

This post is subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2020 and it will be necessary for a submission for Disclosure to be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Documents to download

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Further details / informal visits contact

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