Lonely and scared? Never with ambulance crews

Woman crying
Relax, it’s going to be alright – the ambulance crew are here

When did our world become so cruel?

People don’t care. They’re rude and greedy. Shove you aside to grab for themselves.

A shocking example, set from Westminster on down. You can’t blame the yobs when the toffs are doing it too.

Nobody wants to know any more. Love is dead.

Until you call an ambulance

You might have to wait a while though, these NHS ambulance guys are busy.

So busy, those parliamentary do-gooders are falling over themselves to complain about how long it takes.

They’ve never had to queue, nine deep, to deliver an code-blue emergency to an over-worked A&E. Never faced grid-locked traffic, or Lord Muck in the Roller, refusing to move over for lights and siren.

Or been so hard-pressed and over-stretched that London Ambulance have had to fly in a relief squad of 175 paramedics from Oz.

Yeah, they’ll get to you – in maybe more than the 4 hours officially designated. A wild thumbsuck target set by Westminster wonks who never drive themselves.

But what can you expect when traffic in Central London is only 8.98 mph?

They never learn, do they? That’s the same speed as a horse-drawn carriage in 1830.

Dedication and respect

But at least the ambulance people get to you!

And that’s when you find out – they’re the only people in the whole world who care.

Who treat you with respect and consideration.

There you are, terrified, with a rib sticking through your chest.

Who else in the world is so calm, so soothing, so skilled that every movement puts you at your ease? (Tweet this)

You know you’re in good hands.

Even the Aussie blokes say so – top paramedics, selected from Sydney’s best.

Because London is the busiest ambulance service in the world and that’s why they want to work here. 5,000 calls a day is a challenge they can’t resist – remember Crocodile Dundee?

It’s OK

They’re here to help you. To reassure, to care, to get you towards feeling better.

They’re dedicated and professional too.

But who teaches them that wonderful compassion and the skill to restore confidence, only a few short years out of school? The Aussies, the Kiwis, the Poles – or our own home-grown heroes, right here in the Old Country?

Nobody else in the world can care for you better.

Not even your GP, who’s swamped with patients now out-of-hours work is stopped.

And it’s a terrifying world when you don’t know what’s happened to you.

Especially at 2.00 in the morning, when NHS paramedics are the only people on the planet who are concerned that you’re having a panic attack.

They don’t call it love, but that’s what it is.

Compassion and care for fellow human beings, totally selfless and unreserved.

So the NHS is the biggest waste of money in the UK is it?

Political rethink

Try remembering that when you’ve fallen down the stairs and you think you’re going to die.

The only people who are going to help you are wearing NHS badges – and they’re in the middle of a 12-hour shift.

You slag them off, but they still love you.

Even enough to save you from yourself.

Think nobody cares? How about ambulance crews?

Lizzy Pickup
Paramedic Lizzy Pickup pulled an unconscious mum from a blazing house (with thanks to Gazette Live)

Time to review your belief in saints.

There’s two in your rear-view mirror, coming up fast – Mercedes Sprinter, blue lights flashing.

On a shout for some bloke who fell down the stairs at a stag do. Broken collar-bone, nasty head gash, heavy bruises and unconscious.

Real live care

Or they could be on the way to your place – your wife can’t breathe and she’s having a panic attack.

Real people with professional skills and bucket-loads of a quality no-one else has got. (Tweet this)

Compassion.

The only people in the world who give you time when others turn away.

Well think about it.

Two in the morning, who do you call?

Your Doc doesn’t do call-outs any more. The help-lines don’t understand you – or you can’t understand them. Online stuff is confusing – and you’re getting more worried by the second.

Thank goodness

Then the knock at the door.

Relief, reassurance, confidence.

Solid professionals with an easy feel.

World-class paramedics who know what they’re doing.

Strangers who do more to help you than the rest of the world combined.

Because two in the morning is a very scary place when things go wrong.

You need your Mum. You need your Dad. You need a doctor, medicine, encouragement, help.

And here’s two of them all in green – all these things and more.

Ordinary people like the rest of us. But with a caring feel and commitment  no-one could ever teach – kind-heartedness straight from the soul.

Yes, they’re quick. But they take their time. Rushing a patient creates problems.
You’re panicky, your wife can’t talk – so the first thing they get is garbled, disjointed, and not very accurate.

They do the checks – blood pressure, temperature, breathing. Step One, assess and stabilise.

They put her on oxygen, wrap her in a blanket – why didn’t you think of that?

Steady does it

Will they take her to hospital?

Quiet voices, steady, calming.

Colour in her cheeks now, no more gasping for air.

They take their time, but the clock is ticking. There’s a radio alert, tense, urgent.

Your wife smiles. You know the signs. Time to put the kettle on.

The two saints decline – the blonde girl with the pony tail, younger than your daughter. And the dark one with rosy cheeks.

So grown-up, but just kids – looking after the whole world.

Your wife gets tablets and a shot. More like herself and breathing easy. Back to bed, less distressing than A&E.

The two saints go. Twenty minutes and the world returns to normal.

Back to confidence. Back to being you.

They leave without lights or siren. Another ten hours ahead of them before they’re off shift.

The only people in the whole world who care when nobody else does. (Tweet this)

Harder worked than any of us will ever be. More stretched, more challenged. Yet by some miracle, totally dedicated to looking after you and me.

Think about that next time some wazzock bad-mouths them on TV.

They’ll help him too, if he needs it.

Nice to believe in human goodness again.

Please, please, help our paramedic heroes

Fallen down stairs
Always there when we need them – just call 999

Temperatures are plunging, but the NHS is in meltdown.

There’s massive and unprecedented demands on the service all over  – ambulance services, A&Es, treatment centres stretched to the limit as if it’s New Year’s Eve.

It might be an ordinary week in the run up to Christmas, but more people are feeling the sudden cold and succumbing, more victims are being felled in norovirus attacks, and more people are drinking themselves silly – more arguments, more fights, more injuries, more accidents.

Pre-Christmas crisis

With 11,008 call outs last week, London Ambulance Service has raised its service status to critical.

The rest of the country was equally scary – West Midlands 3,550, North West 3,973, East of England 3,278.

Scarier still is that around 1 in every 10 call outs is alcohol related – a legacy of low prices that encourage drinking at home before a night out – straight into a drinking culture fuelled by festive season bonhomie and extended opening hours.

Many other calls are unnecessary, paramedics responding to patients who should have gone to their GP.

But many people can’t get to their GP. With many surgeries only open during business hours, waiting times for an ordinary appointment can be a week or more. Not good when you’re hurting and need attention NOW.

Going to A&E has the same problem. First priority is of course to more serious cases – but even for acute pain you can expect to be triaged to a standard 4-hour wait.

Paramedic superstars

So it’s the ambulance crews who take the brunt – long 12-hour shifts with no let up from pressure.

The stress is amazing. Response time for a life-threatening emergency is supposed to be eight minutes. Not easy when traffic congestion alone could make journeys ten times longer.

A bottle-neck in many A&Es ramps up the pressure. They’re busy in there.

Backed up when they should be on the road, ambulances might queue four and five deep to reach a hospital bay – and during that time the patient is the crew’s responsibility – along with pressure to cope with still more incidents happening out there, round the clock…

Across the board the NHS is receiving £700 million to cope with this year’s pressure. It’s not enough and all of it should go to the ambulance service urgently.

Because in case you hadn’t noticed, life isn’t as easy as it once was. GPs no longer make house calls. And when you finally do get through to an appointment, five minutes consultation time is your lot – next please, there’s people waiting.

But call 999 and the ambulance service comes running. Which means that paramedics are way more than the frontline emergency teams they’re trained to be. And as the sharp edge of the NHS, their work takes the heat off right through the whole system , not least through overworked A&Es.

In safe hands

You see, to Tom, Dick or Harrys like us, getting sick or having an accident is a major drama. We’re scared, we don’t know what’s happening to us, we anticipate the worst.

Which is where the training of our paramedics is so amazing. And why they get called so often.

Theirs is the calm, confident voice of the professional. Reassuring. Soothing. You’re obviously in the hands of experts. You can relax.

You’re in your own home too. Not the daunting environment of a hospital. Familiar things surround you while practiced hands provide care. You’re going to be OK. No panic attacks. No nervous reactions. No complications.

If you’ve ever been cared for by an ambulance crew you’ll know the quiet sureness, the easy confidence – already three-quarters of the way to feeling better.

Meet your new GP

Which makes them our new GPs – and then some. And every year 1 in 20 of us will call urgently for their services.

Not for “take two aspirins and call me in the morning” either – but for serious needs like segment elevation myocardial infarction – a type of heart attack.

Anything in fact, from minor injuries to cardiac arrest, to multiple casualties from serious road accidents. How many GPs can handle that?

Our paramedics are still in the hot seat though. The NHS is a big place and £700 million doesn’t go very far in a country that needs expert care 24/7.

More ambulances, more crews, more systems to handle them, they’re urgent now.

Because come rain or shine, our paramedics are always there when we need them – no matter how tired, hungry or rushed of their feet they are.

Genuine heroes.

And they deserve better than 10p in the pound for saving our lives.