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One in seven 000 calls not answered?

By johnboy - 16 July 2009 33

Brendan Smyth is jumping up and down about some figures, from some where, which apparently show only 86.58% of triple zero get answered on the first call.

As Brendan isn’t getting hot and bothered about a lack of police or fire services we can perhaps deduce this applies only to requests for an ambulance.

Is this the service level you’d expect?

Triple Zero calls

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One in seven 000 calls not answered?
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laughtong 6:48 am 25 Aug 09

vg – I fully understand the need to prioritize the call outs if the resources are truly limited. It sounds like the Govt needs to provide more resources to all emergency services including the call centre.

There was an earlier RiotAct discussion on Ambulance response times to which my comment may have been better appended, but the fact that they had to ring several times seemed to make it relevant here as well. Why did you pick out my comment and not the number 31, who resurrected this thread and had a similar one-sided story?

BTW his former home care client is now in a nursing home but has recovered quite well.

vg 10:06 pm 24 Aug 09

laughtong said :

Related to this – my husband works as a Care Worker assisting frail elderly in their own homes. One day a couple of weeks ago he arrives to find his client had fallen in her driveway, and broken her hip while attempting to collect her newspaper. Suburban Canberra. Very cold morning and this client is 90 years old. All that could be done was to cover her in blankets until the ambulance got there.

An ambulance had already been called by a neighbor, but it took a couple of follow-up calls and more than 30 minutes after he got there, before an ambulance finally arrived.

This is bad enough but what if it had really been time critical!

That is what we, in the business, call ‘one side of the story’.

How many ambulances do you think there are in Canberra on any given day?

Was there a reason given for the delay, like a higher priority job?

How did the neighbour describe the situation?

So many questions from which you may get what we call, in the business, ‘the other side’ of the story

Do people honestly think the ambos would be sitting around in the office saying ‘its OK, that one can wait until after the news’?

kathy 6:59 pm 24 Aug 09

Well I’d dare say that 000 calls don’t connect more than
1in 7,as this has happened to me.In May of this year my
partner collapsed,I attemted to ring 000 three time
none of the calls connected,I had to seek help down the
road,as a result of him being unattended for all that
time he died.Investigations are currently underway.

The cat did it 1:20 pm 17 Jul 09

In an effort to get media coverage, Brendan is getting into a state of confected indignation by selective quoting of the report. Bonejac is on the right track, IIRC, the 6 out of 7 statistic actually relates to the number of calls answered within three rings. Almost all of the remaining calls are likely answered within the next few rings, and maybe 1 in a 100 is never answered at all- but Brendan is implying that ALL of the remainder are never answered.

Pathetic- no wonder the credibility of the ACT Opposition is lower than the outfall from the Belconnen Water Treatment Facility.

staria 9:23 am 17 Jul 09

Unfortunately 000 is not really the best number to use if you want to avoid mis-dials. I know my mobile phone can call it by itself, even if the phone is locked. When I queried my provider about this (it used to be only 112 would be able to be dialed from a locked mobile) they said that it was their opinion that it would be better for the call centre to filter out misdials rather than having someone stuck in an emergency and not knowing how to unlock the phone… Not 100% sure I agree on that one, but I suppose at least they’ve thought it through.

Ozi 8:38 am 17 Jul 09

ant said :

If people are abusing it, we have the technology to find and prosecute those who abuse it. If they are prosecuted, abuse will stop.

for our emergency number to be not 100% reliable is unacceptable.

As TP 3000 says, the number is recorded for landlines, or the billing address for a mobile service. However there have been a number of recent prosecutions of persons who were abusing the ‘000’ number in the ACT. They got, predictably, little or no penalty. These were people who called 50, 100 times in one night, and had mental problems.

To say prosecution will stop abuse of the system is again too simplistic; abuse of the 000 line continues unabated and ‘prosecution’ in the ACT is always going to be laughable.

justsayit 1:38 am 17 Jul 09

I know this is just one parents experience and N=1 is nothing to base a report on unless you work for channel 7.
I have used Health Direct (ACT line ) many times for advice on whether I am worrying too much, just enough or not enough. It is a great service as the nurses talk you through what may or may not be wrong with your child. The triage is 1st class. If you still need to call 000- they will put you through. The one time we needed to call 000, they were there in 10 mins.

TP 3000 12:08 am 17 Jul 09

I would like to know Mr Smyth obtained this information? Did he wring 000 7 times & on the 7th call they knew who it was & didn’t answer or something else?

As far as I know whenever someone rings 000, be it from a home or mobile phone, the billing address of the caller pops up. This is to stop hoax calls & if a call drops out mid way (without an address being given), an emergency services vechile is sent to that billing address, on the chance that that is the right address.

But I’ll add what I witnessed today to finish things off. What holds up emergency service vechiles are twats who don’t want to miss the traffic lights, so they don’t stop & let the emergency service vechiles through. I witnessed this yesterday afternoon & ended up abusing a few drivers for not giving way.

Spideydog 11:35 pm 16 Jul 09

ant said :

If people are abusing it, we have the technology to find and prosecute those who abuse it. If they are prosecuted, abuse will stop.

It’s not as simple as that ant. Evidence is still needed to be able to prosecute.

ant said :

for our emergency number to be not 100% reliable is unacceptable.

That is true in a strict black and white stand point, but I don’t think the “stats” given, really mean what you think they mean. Politicians are very good as wording and using stats to their political advantage, when in fact the “stats” may actually mean something entirely different.

I think it would be smarter to get the “actual” meaning of that stat before getting in heated debate over it. We could be arguing over something that it factually incorrect.

Condor71 11:22 pm 16 Jul 09

ok not great when you are hanging on the end of the line with your emergency, so how do the ambo’s do compared to the AFP or fire service?

ant 10:30 pm 16 Jul 09

Ozi said :

I completely and totally believe that every genuine 000 call should be answered promptly and efficiently. But ant your view that every call to 000 is genuine is either misinformed or hopelessly naïve.

When I finally call 000 for the first time, I will expect it to be answered and for help to come quickly. that is where it starts and ends for me.

If people are abusing it, we have the technology to find and prosecute those who abuse it. If they are prosecuted, abuse will stop.

for our emergency number to be not 100% reliable is unacceptable.

bd84 10:22 pm 16 Jul 09

The figure Mr Smyth is talking about is the answering of the call by the ACTAS call centre, they would not be able to measure the time for calls going to a Telstra call centre. At no time is he critisising the ACTAS call centre staff or accusing them of doing their jobs properly, it just highlights the systemic lack of proper funding. I think if he looked at the numbers and it being an “average” time, the number of calls answered within the target timeframe is quite low and that most of the calls actually take a long time to answer. The average is fairly heavily influenced by calls answered very quickly in times where it is very quiet.

Bonejac 9:57 pm 16 Jul 09

Ok people here it is in simple terms: all 000 calls are answered even if they “flood” the call centre as described above, the calls are diverted to other 000 call centres throughout australia – say Sydney Melbourne or Woolongong where all relevant information regarding the cases are taken then sent back to the local area call centre where appropriate resources dispatched as needed.
I think you will find that the so called “unanswered” seventh call are calls that actually fall out side of bench marks of time for the answering a call (the time that the phone rings prior to an operator actually picking up the reciever – in this case an arbitary three rings – roughly 3 seconds). It does not meen that the call is ignored, it just means that the call was answered after say 5 seconds.
For more information on ACTAS bench marks I suggest you look at the Auditor generals report into the Ambulance service.
As for the abuse of 000 services I can only agree that far to many people inappropriately call 000 – if you have a cough, cold or flu – you dont need an Ambulance – it wont get you past the triage queue – you will go back into the waiting room – as these are things that can be handled at medical centres or your GP.
@Laughtong – A number of reasons for the 30min response 1)A fractured hip is not an immediately life threatening injury – an ambulance will not respond lights and sirens and push through traffic to every job. 2)There is only 7 crewed intensive care ambulances servicing the ACT at any 1 time and they are busy – every call is triaged – given a level of urgency, and depending on its severity response times will increase or decrease (more life threatening = quicker response). 3)Offload times at hospital and bed availability – Canberra only has 2 emergency depatments – and calvary does not have the facilities for emergency Orthopaedics, Paediatrics, Trauma or Cardiac Care – at best a patient may be stabilised there before being sent onto Canberra Hospital. If a Hospital is overloaded delays will occur.
@ Special G – We need all of those as well as increased funding for hospitals, more nurses, doctors, allied health, mental health and infrastructure.

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