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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 February 2010
If you ever ever wondered what happens when you say "Ambulance", whilst making a 999 call, then this is a book for you.

In fact, I think this should be a book for everyone - as the "rules" that you should abide by if you call 999, I think, must be taught to everybody. (I certainly did. I was once a "why are you asking me these silly questions" man but now, I know they are asked for a reason (even if I cannot answer them)

From the start, a bad day... to the end, (of the book, not the "story"), this book has laughter, fun, smiles... tears, horror, shock and moments of sheer amazement/disbelief - oh, and Bananas (Lots of them, some of them itchy!)

My suggestion? Read this, then go read "Blood, Sweat and a cup of tea" and its follow up. Then think the worst for (some of) humanity that wastes time, thus maybe killing people - then take the lesson that these books teach - If you need an ambulance, say for chest pains, then call... you will not be wasting someone's time... if you have cut your finger, got a cold, are drunk and need a lift home, or just plain annoying.... call someone else, or.. get a plaster, take cold remedy, call a taxi and sober up, or become a stand up comic....

To end. Buy this book, read it - Learn from it. (oh, and laugh, cry and enjoy)
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on 4 March 2010
A very well-written insight into the London Ambulance Service and the reactions of those of us who use them which range from the hysterical to the utterly bizarre. The stories run the whole gamut of emotions too, from highly amusing to utter sadness. The format makes it easy to dip in and out of at any time - assuming you can put it down, that is :-)

Hoping Ms. Brent writes more in the future!
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on 28 April 2010
I saw a review in a magazine about this book 'Neenaw' so went out and purchased it. I'm very glad i did, it has had a huge impact in the way i see the ambulance service and the general public for that matter.It really makes you wonder whether this world has gone mad when you read the stories of the 'regular 999 callers'. I couldn't put this book down until i had finished it, Suzi brent really does explain things in a comical and laugh out loud way, but there is also a serious tone to the stories being explained. Excellent book, i hope she writes more.
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on 8 November 2015
Everyone should read this book. Everyone. It is very well written, and started off as a blog that I love. It is amazing the type of calls the ambulance call takers get! And this author took the first call in the London Bombings. Despite the call not definitely saying bomb (they thought it was a gas explosion first) it was a momentous occasion that changed our country forever. You hear hilarious, sad and annoying stories... and since each call has its own section it is perfect for night time reading before bed as you can put it down at any time. Not that you will want to, of course!
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on 2 March 2010
If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when you dial 999 then this is the place to find out. Often tragic, always stressful, sometimes funny, this is the best (possibly the only) insight into the day to day existance of the people you never get to see on Hospital Dramas. The blog this is based on has a huge following for good reason and the book should be a must read by anyone who wants to know what goes on behind the scenes.
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on 5 September 2011
As someone who has had to rely on the ambulance service to save my life on 3 separate occasions, this book was an utterly fascinating and compelling read and served to make me respect and admire these exceptional men and women even more than I already did.
Some stories were hilarious whilst others were truly heartbreaking. A brilliant insight into the world behind the 999 calls. Highly recommended and easy to read.
If you enjoy tales about the emergency services, then I would urge you to read Police, Crime & 999: The True Story of a Front Line Officer.
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on 1 March 2010
My copy arrived from Amazon today and I have had trouble putting it down. A valuable insight into a world dealt with daily by the ambulance service. The rest of us had better be very glad indeed that these people are there to help us.
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on 3 July 2016
I bought this book after reading the neenaw blog. I'm fascinated by the ambulance service, and this book is a collection of funny, hard-hitting, memorable, almost short story style pieces. Just like the ambulance service, you don't know what you're getting on the next page and it really opened my eyes to the world of emergency call handling.
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on 15 June 2014
After an eventful 23 years in the forces I became a paramedic in south wales but after surcumbbing to a life changing illness (MS) had to come 'off' the road and into the control room environment. Suzi has this book spot on and it should be on every ambulance in the country so that the frontline staff can see what the control room guys go through!! Well done Suzi well written well balanced and well worked. Is there a second one in the pipe line? Please think about it!!
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on 14 April 2012
Suzi's book is initially about her experience as the first point of contact - the person at Ambulance control answering the 999 calls from the desperate to the nutty and all points in between.

Everything that you would expect is here - the funny stories, the stories that tug at your heart strings and the utterly frivolous waste of time calls. Clinical need runs from those suffering a heart attack whose call starts with "sorry to bother you" through to those who have a paper cut jumping up and down (figurativeely) demanding an Ambulance.

Later in the book Suzi moves into the chess game that is Ambulance dispatch and allocation constantly managing her resources so that her area is ready for whatever is thrown at it. There is also a very informative section on the perfect 999 call from her point of view.

The first story you read is her experience of the London bombings and how control handled it which puts a sobering background to the rest of the book. You sometimes hear people complaining about the speed of Ambulance response to their major (in reality trivial) injury but the fact is when the chips are down and you have something properly wrong with you there will be an entire hospital's worth of equipment beside you within minutes - this book explains how that happens. Despite huge effort there are cases that just don't make it - the story of the toddler pulled out of the swimming pool being a case in point.

This book is complementary to, and should be read in conjunction with, Blood, Sweat and Tea: Real Life Adventures in an Inner-city Ambulance and More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea (or the compendium of both Sirens).
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