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Telephonists' Role


The telephonists’ rota

Every two months telephonists are contacted asking for their availability over the next couple of months and to say how many shifts they are willing to do. Most volunteers make themselves available for two shifts a month, but even one shift is a valued contribution if that is all the time you can spare.

A two-month rota is then drawn up and circulated to all telephonists along with a list of drivers, their telephone numbers, their availability and where they live.

If for any reason you can no longer do the shift on the dates allocated, please contact other telephonists to see if they can swap with you and then inform the coordinator of any changes.


The telephonists’ day

The bookings line is open from Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 14:00. Immediately before your shift the coordinator will usually email a copy of the “Onwards” which is a list of upcoming runs. This shows you which drivers are already booked on runs and also includes notes on which drivers are not available over the forthcoming 2-3 weeks. Hospital runs are also listed (shaded blue) so that you know which driver is involved. Patient details on hospital runs are not included due to confidentiality.


At 9:30 on the morning of your shift, the booking line number (01445 791436) is diverted to your phone  All calls out of your phone during your shift are billed to your phone bill so please claim the £5 per diem if you wish to. When it is a SWRCCS call you will hear a message telling you to press 1 to accept a call from SWRCCS – so you know this is a bookings line call rather than a personal call. Press 1 to be connected to the caller. At 2pm the divert is cancelled and the calls will revert to the office. Between 9.30 and 2pm please try and make yourselves available to answer any incoming calls. Telephonists often do baking, computer admin and a variety of other activities during their volunteering time as some days there are no calls at all.


Deliveries or other runs

There is NO CHARGE for delivery runs

  • Telephonists will be asked to organise drivers for delivery runs (including prescription deliveries) as needed using the same process as passenger runs that they are used to.  If possible please try drivers who are not currently on the onwards as then we get different people doing the deliveries. All drivers on the list can do deliveries unless otherwise specified but please try those that have said they will do delivery only first.

  • For food deliveries please make clear that any payments due would need to be done direct with the shop.

  • For prescription deliveries please ask the patient to phone the local medical practice to inform them that SWRCCS would be picking up the medicine for delivery.

    • Lochcarron and area (Mon & Wed)

    • Kishorn / Lochcarron (Fri)

    • Torridon & Diabaig (Tues)

    • Shieldaig (Wed)

    • Kinlochewe (Fri)

    • Applecross (Fri)

  • Please make it clear to any recipient of a delivery to take precautions when handling and opening any received goods to minimise cross infection. If possible:

    • remove outer packaging straight away and put in the bin,

    • leave packages in sunlight for 24 hours (72 hours for plastic packaging),

    • do not put packages on surfaces used for other things such as kitchen tables


Contacting Isolated people

  • Telephonists are being asked to phone people who are isolated to see if they are OK and if they need anything. These people are identified through either being past users of the car scheme or by contacting the local medical practice to identify themselves as self isolating.

  • The telephonist on duty would be provided with contact details of a number of people who they would phone.

  • They would say (something like)……

    1. Hello, this is xxxx from South West Ross Community Car Scheme. I am just phoning as you have used the car scheme before and during these difficult times we just wanted to check that you are OK and don't need anything.

    2. We can deliver prescription medicines or food if you need them, you just need to arrange it with the local surgery or the local shop.  The car scheme is also giving people lifts to hospital appointments or local medical appointments when needed.

    3. Are you managing to keep warm at the moment?

    4. Would it be OK for someone to phone again or not?

    5. Keep safe.

  • They would then record:-

    1. when they spoke to them

    2. if they needed anything

    3. if the person wanted to be contacted again or not.

  • This information would be passed onto the Coordinator to keep a record of the call and to action any delivery or other action needed.

Journeys not normally allowed

The following journeys cannot normally be accepted:-

  • Under 18 years old unaccompanied by an adult

  • Journeys that could be done by public transport

  • Journeys outwith the coverage area (see SWRCCS An Introduction)

  • Journeys for passengers not resident in the coverage area

  • Journeys to the pub

  • Regular journeys to or from place of work


JOURNEY OUTWITH THE AREA CAN BE ACCEPTED FOR MEDICAL OR EXCEPTIONAL PURPOSES _ eg  doctor appointment, vaccine appointment, dental appointment, optician appointment. (If in doubt please check with coordinator)



The call procedure

If you get a call for a passenger run please follow this process:-

First, Write down:-

  • Passenger/s names  (if child under 12, passenger needs to provide child seat)

  • Phone number

  • Pick-up address

  • Pick-up time and date

  • Destination and reason for trip

  • Is it a single or return journey

  • (if return - an estimate of length of waiting time expected)

  • Please ask if they have used the car scheme before and if not explain the costs.

Then... Look at drivers list to see which drivers have said they would be able to do ‘Short Passenger Runs’ or ‘ Hospital runs’ NOTE: Unless specified those doing hospital runs will also do short passenger runs or deliveries.


Then look to see which drivers are local to the pick-up point (if a return journey) or local to either the pick-up point or the destination if a single journey.


Then have a look at the “Onwards” to check the availability of drivers – if they are not doing a run already that day or have not shown they are unavailable during that time period. Phone round drivers to identify one who can do the journey. Drivers must be happy to do the journey, they are not obliged to undertake any journeys.


Once identified give the driver the details of the journey including passenger/s name/s, phone number, pick up address, time and date, destination, single or return journey, expected waiting time.


Phone passenger to tell them name of driver and driver’s phone number and ask them to contact the driver direct if there are any changes or cancellation. (Note: at least 2 hours’ notice needed for cancellation or changes, but preferable 12-24 hours’ notice required).. The driver is asked to phone the passenger before the run to agree details of the run as well and which precautions to take such as driver screen, lateral flow testing etc.  

Note on hospital runs

SWRCCS organises hospital runs at the request of local residents. Expenses for these runs are claimed from the NHS. If a telephonist takes a call from a passenger requesting a run to hospital then please ask the passenger to contact the coordinator on 01445791335 or to request a run, OR take the details of the run and pass them to the coordinator to organise. These runs are then arranged by the Coordinator.



As soon as possible at the end of the shift, give details of all new journeys to coordinator by email (preferred) or message on phone as these are needed for the “Onwards” for the day after.


SWRCCS expects the passengers to contribute 20p per mile they are in the car. More than one passenger shares the cost. Minimum contribution is £1. Maximum contribution expected is £10.00 for a journey - even if it is a composite journey (ie two single journeys undertaken on the same day or having numerous destinations).

If you would like to volunteer please click here

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