Saturday, January 20, 2007

New Pseudonym

I need to change my Pseudonym name, because it's been pointed out to me that there really is a Steve Gibbs that works for the LAS, so it's clearly impractical for me to continue to use this name.

Any suggestions?


There's a new member of the control team. His name is Fred.

Fred is a computer that monitors all the FRUs and automatically sends Category A calls, or calls that it recognises as going to be category A, to the nearest available FRU.

Fred has a slight flaw though. He judges which car is nearest "as the crow flies", which means that as far as Fred is concerned, you're quite close to a call, when in reality, you're miles away from it, because we have to drive round buildings, find bridges to cross the river, and negotiate one way systems.

So the other night, I was activated to 14 calls. Only 6 of which I actually got to, because the others were just miles too far away, and I was cancelled. This meant that I spent more time driving around on blue lights than dealing with patients. This might not seem to be a problem, but I don't see why we should be running at faster than the speed limit, driving through red lights (even though we do it very carefully), putting ourselves and potentially other road users at risk.

Not only that, but the increased concentration levels required when driving on blue lights means that when we get cancelled, and Fred sends down another job straight away, and this happens three or four times on the trot, you can be driving for extended periods, meaning you're absolutely knackered by the time you do actually make it to a call and see the patient. All I can say is thank God none of my patients were suspended, cos I'm not sure I'd have had the energy left to do resus on anyone.

I've mentioned my concerns to one of the officers on my station, but it sounds like Fred's effectiveness won't be evaluated for at least another three months, so I'm now going to query all calls that are miles away to make sure they want me to go before I set off, only to be cancelled again.

So I apologise to the folks on the FRU desk, but safety comes first.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Back On The Car

Firstly, I'd like to say thanks to all for your supportive comments to my last post.

I finished my last shift with my training crew on Sunday. They have both done well, are aware of their weaknesses, and are determined to work on them, which is great news. I wish them well at their new stations.

As I'd hoped, I've learnt a lot from the experience of TSing a crew, and in the process of answering their questions, discovered I knew stuff that I'd forgotten I knew. A great experience, and something I'd like to do again.

I'm back on the car now for three months, starting from tonight. I'm hoping for an easy shift to get me back into the swing of working on an FRU, but of course, that's not guaranteed.

I'll probably be hammered all shift now...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Why Blog?

A colleague has asked the following question:

"having been a paramedic for over 30 years i would ask why you need to publish things like this on the web?there is so many people putting stuff like this on here and writing books on the subject it becomes boring.the job has and always will be something we do not for praise but because we want to help people and as such should be kept within the confines of the service.i notice your a member of st.johns in which case this type of thing is best suited to telling your mates there and not on here."

To be fair, it's a question I've thought about since I first started this blog. At first, it just seemed like a good idea, but as time's gone on, I realise that I do it as a release for frustrations.

Someone has said to my face that I come across as "old hand who doesn't give a toss, which I personally know to be a false image". I probably do in some posts, but those that know me will know that I take my time and treat everyone in the same professional manner. Even if inside I do feel that they're wasting my time.

I certainly don't do it for praise - if I wanted praise, I'd hand out cards for thank you letters from the patients and/or relatives (I know some people do - that is just sad!).

If in the process of writing this blog it helps to go some way to educating those that call us unnecessarily for stubbed toes and back ache for 3 months, then why not?

Since the recent newspaper reports about our rest breaks, people in the service have been saying the public simply don't understand what the job is like, so why not use sites like this to tell people what the job is like - coming in at the start of shift, going straight out, being hammered all day running round after people who for the most part could use common sense and see their GP, get a taxi/friend to take them to hospital instead of calling us and coming back usually after the end of the shift?

If people find it boring, then simply go and read something else :)

If you think I'm a sad bastard for doing this, oh well never mind. I've been called worse by drunks and drug addicts.

As for being a St John member, that is something I'm currently seriously reconsidering, as at the moment I'm finding it more trouble than it's worth.....and I don't mean from pressure or p*ss taking from service colleagues.

New Year

From the sound of things, I'm pleased that I was off over New Year. New Years Eve night shift itself is usually a slow start, with all Hell breaking loose just after the Big Ben Bell tolls at midnight, then people start fighting, stabbing each other, and falling over because they've drunk far too much. And they all do it at once.

This year, apparently it was mayhem for the whole night, with crews doing anywhere between 12 and 16 jobs in the 12 hour shifft. I'm sure there were crews who did more than this too.
One FRU that I know of was due to finish his shift at 6.30am, but got a job at 6.28. The CAD number (which shows how many calls have been received by control) was over 3,700. That's around the number of calls that we usually end the day on. I've no idea what the final tally was by the end of the day.

Well done to all those working that night - I don't envy you in the slightest.

Happy New Year!