THURSDAY 31 MAY 2018
A Dragonfly Film and Television production for The BBC
Kirsty Cunningham / Simon Ford
It's the last Saturday night before Christmas and it was always going to be a busy night for the service, with Sui having to prioritise stabbing victims.
It's the last Saturday night before Christmas and it was always going to be a busy night for the service, with controller Sui having to prioritise stabbing victims and reports of drowning over patients like Betty, whose daughter says she's fine but needs help getting her up having fallen to the floor.
Six hours into their shift and the Control Room has already received over 1,000 calls. Ambulance crew Tash and Marek are about to take their meal break when a general broadcast comes over the radio requesting multiple crews. There are reports of a major traffic accident in central Birmingham, and the pair are among the first to reach the scene. Over the course of 90 minutes, a 16-strong ambulance team and specialist trauma crews work alongside police and the fire service to treat the victims of the worst crash, in Birmingham, they have seen in over 20 years. At 21, Tash is the youngest paramedic on scene.
Running the operation on the ground is incident commander James. He has 16 years of experience and it's his job to coordinate the work of a total of 114 emergency service personnel and urgent transfers to hospitals.
With so many resources tied up at the crash, calls continue to stack up in the control room. Across Birmingham there are 37 patients waiting for an ambulance. Betty has had a fall and her daughter has called several times for help. By the time an ambulance finally gets to Betty, she's had to wait over six hours.
After leaving the scene of the crash, an exhausted Tash is in need of support and makes an emotional phone call to her mum in the middle of the night.
Just as James and senior staff hold a debrief to check on the welfare of all crews who attended the crash, a call comes in for a shooting. Specialist trauma team Kerry and Paul leave the briefing to head back out on the road to treat the victim.
Tash and Marek end their nightshift helping 88-year-old Eileen, who has fallen at home and shattered her hip.