The role of a Lifeline Duty Controller is dynamic and varied. Duty Controllers must, in the first instance, be able to take in bookings (‘calls’) and dispatch crews in response. All activity is pre-booked, though the notice period may vary. Many calls may be booked the day before, and the planning with respect to crewing arrangements for the next day will largely be based on this information, though the Duty Controller must also be able to plan for additional calls on a given day. They need to have a good understanding of the logistics involved in transferring patients, and all the factors that may impact on a transfer e.g. delays, weather, traffic. They need to be able to monitor the progress of the call thereafter, and be able to respond to issues arising, as well as planning the next call(s) for the crew.
The role of the Duty Controller also entails an administrative element, so they need to have a good phone manner, be computer literate, and to have good administrative skills. Duty Controllers need to be very flexible, and capable of making decisions at short notice. During peak demand, they will normally work as a team, to ensure that all calls are handled as expediently and efficiently as possible.