Emergency Medical Dispatcher Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Emergency Medical Dispatcher, or Emergency Call Handler, is someone who handles calls from the public and other medical dispatchers and makes sure the correct kind of help arrives on the scene. Their duties include answering emergency (999 and 111) calls, helping callers handle their emergency situation until help arrives and relaying information to paramedics to help them prepare for their arrival at the emergency scene.

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Emergency Medical Dispatcher duties and responsibilities

The Emergency Medical Dispatcher connects people with emergency help during a time of medical needs. It’s a crucial role and can be the difference between life and death for callers. The day-to-day duties and responsibilities of an Emergency Medical Dispatcher include:

  • Answering inbound calls promptly
  • Listening to the caller and determining what type of medical assistance they require
  • Alerting the paramedic team that’s closest to the caller
  • Informing the Paramedic team of the emergency situation
  • Updating the Paramedic team of further information once the team is en route
  • Communicating with the paramedics while they’re in transit and on the scene
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What does an Emergency Medical Dispatcher do?

An Emergency Medical Dispatcher works in a call centre and answers inbound calls from people who have an emergent need for medical assistance. They listen to the caller and decide what type of emergency service to dispatch to the scene. An Emergency Medical Dispatcher helps callers stay calm and directs them in the steps they need to take while they’re waiting for an ambulance and paramedics to arrive. The Emergency Medical Dispatcher also communicates with paramedics and keeps them informed until the ambulance arrives on the scene.

Emergency Medical Dispatcher skills and qualifications

A successful Emergency Medical Dispatcher will possess multiple skills and qualifications that enable them to perform their job duties with ease. These skills and qualifications include:

  • Ability to handle the phone system in order to answer calls quickly
  • Strong communication skills
  • In-depth knowledge of medical terms and their communication
  • Ability to maintain composure during stressful situations
  • Advanced medical knowledge to help callers handle emergency situations while the ambulance is in transit
  • Ability to read maps and knowledge of local geography
  • Experience in the health sector either paid or voluntary
  • Current first aid qualification

Emergency Medical Dispatcher experience requirements

In order to work as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher, candidates must have work experience as an Emergency Call Handler. The role of Emergency Call Handler is similar to that of the Emergency Medical Dispatcher in that the Emergency Call Handler answers 999 calls and records the information provided by the caller. However, the Emergency Medical Handler then passes the information to the Emergency Medical Dispatcher who makes the final decision on what type of emergency response is needed for the caller.

Experience in a call centre or other customer support or healthcare role is a plus.

Emergency Medical Dispatcher education and training requirements

Emergency Medical Dispatchers must have GCSEs in grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) in science, maths and English. They must also complete training or apprenticeship that meets the standards of the National Health Service (NHS). They must also obtain industry-recognised certifications, such as the Level 2 Award in Touch Typing and Level 2 ECDL Award in IT User Skills.

Emergency Medical Dispatcher salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for an Emergency Medical Dispatcher is £34,969 per year. The actual salary depends on geographic location, experience and demand for qualified candidates.

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Emergency Medical Dispatcher job description FAQs

Do Emergency Medical Dispatchers have different responsibilities in different industries?

No, Emergency Medical Dispatchers do not have different responsibilities in different industries as this role is strictly focused on dispatching ambulances and Paramedics in response to an emergency call. An Emergency Medical Dispatcher working for a private ambulance has the same responsibilities as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher that works for the NHS.

What should you look for in an Emergency Medical Dispatcher CV?

You want to see prior experience as an Emergency Call Handler on the CV, as it’s a requirement for the position of Emergency Medical Dispatcher. However, if your organisation has a local community that has its own unique language, look for an Emergency Medical Dispatcher who is reasonably fluent in the language to facilitate emergency calls.

Does an Emergency Medical Dispatcher do more than dispatch ambulances?

The role of the Emergency Medical Dispatcher is primarily one of alerting ambulance crews to people in need of medical attention. However, calls for other emergency services get routed to the Emergency Medical Dispatcher due to a misunderstanding or a need for services that are similar to medical emergencies. The Emergency Medical Dispatcher can connect the caller or hold them on the line while contacting the correct medical service.

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