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4.6 out of 5 stars
Nee Naw: Real Life Dispatches From Ambulance Control
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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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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 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 21 June 2011
As the title helpfully explains, these are "real life dispatches from ambulance control". But bear in mind, the author confesses that she sometimes elaborates when she tells stories. Having said that, let's move on to the book!

The narrator is one of those forunate people who by circumstance and accident finds herself in a job she never thought she'd have, but that she grows to love and master. She is very honest and down to earth in her retelling of her experiences as a call taker. She shares her uncertainties before new assignments and her feeling of accomplishment after a job well done.

The book is based on a blog and, for better or worse, it shows. The chapters are short, some of them as short as 6-8 lines with the longest chapters being 3-4 pages long. Not an immersive read then, but given the subject matter that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some of the stories are harrowing, and I had to put the book down several times because i welled up.

As for the stories themselves they are dramatic (the first story is about the bombings in London in 2005), funny, sweet, disgusting (Mr. Halfpenny!) and moving. She touches on prank callers, children as callers and patients, rude callers, psychiatric cases etc. (The list goes on!) As a bonus she advices on the correct behaviour as a caller and explains why they have to ask the seemingly stupid questions.

I heartily recommend this book! :)
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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 22 March 2015
I loved this book so much I jacked in my IT job and became an EMD. And now I'm a dispatcher. And when I was asked why I wanted to be an EMD I was completely honest and blamed her entirely.

What I love the most about Suzi is her compassion for her patients - even the ones that get the average dispatcher rolling their eyes or their blood boiling. I would highly recommend this to anybody who wants an idea of the life inside an Ambulance Control room. Even road staff.
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on 3 March 2011
This book is about a ambulance dispatcher (the person you speak to when you want an ambulance and dial 999). I read this book in 24 hours. Lots of funny stories/calls and lots of sad stories too. It's really easy to read and I could not put it down hence finishing it so quickly. Especially found the story about the person thinking they had appendicitis and thought it was this because they had had it before, when they had their appendix taken out.. very funny. Sadest story was the toddler who fell in a pond/pool. Heartwarming and heart wrenching read. Def recommend.
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on 30 December 2012
An exceptionally well written insight into the vital work most of us spend most of our lives ignoring. As a commuter I'm a big fan of 'blog style' books I can easily dip in and out of, and was pleasantly surprised with some of the continuity in this title - some of the people (/patients) featured throughout could have easily been short stories in themselves. This book does an excellent job of really making you think about the jobs (and lives) of those in the ambulance service, and offers a very good mix of emotions, tales, time wasters, and those who steadfastly refuse to call for help. An excellent read, and one which I would say everyone should try.
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on 15 October 2014
Very funny, very honest and a genuine insight into what its like working on Ambulance Control. Enjoyable throughout - Suzi Brent writes confidently and with passion giving the reader a real feel for what its like working on the coal face of the Emergency services. A must read!
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on 5 June 2012
A fantastic insight to Suzi's work at the Ambulance Control Room. Although I have never worked for the Ambulance Service or NHS, I have worked for HM Prison Service and Suffolk Constabulary and can still relate very much to the encounters in Suzi's book! A somewhat tragic reflection on human life today - but in a real 'if we didn't laugh, we'd cry' type of way! It's good to know I'm not alone!
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