AN ambulance service has opened a third centre for handling emergency calls to help deal with rising numbers of people calling 999 or 111. 

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) says the call centre in Teesside will help it build resilience and deal with rising numbers of 999 and 111 calls.

The centre at Wynyard Business Park in Billingham was opened in 2018 to house clinicians working is its assessment service.

It was been given additional funding for more health advisors, allowing it to use the facility as a third emergency operations centre, with 44 health advisors. 

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NEAS has existing bases in Newcastle and Hebburn.

The new team of 44 health advisors, including existing staff who have transferred to the base and new advisors, with a section manager and six team leaders, moved in today.

Stephen Segasby, chief operating officer at NEAS, said: “Having a third base for call handling allows us to provide additional resilience for our call handling capability across the North East, and has also allowed us to recruit from a larger pool of candidates in a very competitive local job market by being able to offer a location in the Teesside area, as geography had previously prevented people from being able to apply to work within our emergency operations centre.”

Chris Dawson, deputy chief operating officer for the emergency operations centre, added: “We received an overwhelming number of applications for the new roles, which shows us how welcome a third base has been in the local community.

“What’s particularly pleasing to see though is that the management team established at Winter House has been recruited primarily through internal promotion; one of our current team leaders has been promoted as our new section manager, three new team leaders have progressed from roles within the senior health advisor team and two new team leaders have progressed from the health advisor role.

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"Progression on this scale has only been possible through the expansion of our Emergency Operation Centre sites and presents an exciting new start for them all."

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