A Taste Of The Olympics?

I've come to the realisation that I use Twitter as a place to stick ideas for further blogposts, sort of a public memo-space. Which is a bit daft as I have a word-processor on my phone/PDA, but there is something about the immediacy of publishing that appeals to me.

Yesterday was the London Marathon, temperatures were high and all my patients were over the age of 60. They weren't running the Marathon of course.

Instead the St John Ambulance people were staffing it – I've got to admit a bit of jealousy that they get to do all the fun stuff like concerts and sports events, while I get to wrestle with drunks. And before you ask, no, I won't be joining them, there is still bad feeling between a lot of folk in the London Ambulance Service and St John ambulance. Most of it tied to the dispute of the late eighties.

Also, way would I do my day job and not get paid for it. I have a mercenary soul.

Going back to the Marathon, it's sad news that one of the runners has died, but given the weather it's not entirely unsurprising. He must have been running on pure willpower and my condolences go out to his family and friends.

I wonder how we are going to cope with the Olympics, loads more people and I doubt there will be any new A&E departments, in fact the government is trying to close down two local A&E departments. Given that Newham hospital has had to double up it's cubicles to see the 'normal' stream of patients, I dread to think what will happen when we have a couple of hundred thousand visitors to the area.

Returning to St John Ambulance, the current belief is that they will be in the 'security zone' of the Olympic park – they will then take patients to the outer cordon where we will take them to hospital. Now not wanting to give anyone any ideas, but I would have thought that it would be easier for terrorists to infiltrate St John ambulance than the LAS – that and we aren't recruiting people anymore. I'm sure we'll have plenty of our management involved though.

Today was going to be my 'writing and answering emails' day, the plan was to sneak around my mum's place and work on my laptop while she tops me up with cups of tea. Instead she has been on day 20 of her campaign of 'cleaning out the loft'. Loads of old computers, computer magazines, toys, books and cameras have had me looking up beauties like this, this and this on the internet. Because of this I have been prevaricating like an expert.

But I promise – all my emails will be answered by midnight tomorrow, (so if you haven't got a reply and expect one then it's probably gone astray).

Still, I have got my revenge on my mum with this picture. She nearly died with laughter after I told her what it was really a picture of… Is it any wonder I'm an atheist?

At midnight tonight I will have completed my year and a day abstention of alcohol; successfully at that! I shall be celebrating with a can of John Smiths and the company of some friends of mine.

Also for some reason I signed up for Facebook, I don't know why – perhaps my next step will be a MySpace Livejournal page… (I have a Myspace account that I forgot about)

UPDATE: Mum's just shown me a butter knife that she found in the loft (and is using at the moment) that was blown out of their house when a WWII bomb dropped on their street – she later found it buried in the garden while digging as a child. You couldn't pay for this sort of history.

28 thoughts on “A Taste Of The Olympics?”

  1. I hope it's been a change for the better…I left in utter frustration at the sort of people who were running my area. I was left with the distinct impression that in terms of management you get what you pay for…

    Incidentally, I went on to work with the BRCS for a couple of years, and ended up leaving because I had difficulty in seeing them as a charity. Both organisations had considerable scope for improvement.

    Which is, of course, to say nothing about the current membership of either… Hopefully the lessons were learned…


  2. It would have been reasonable to expect someone in amongst all the Olympic Committee's highly paid consultants to have thought of the logistics of health/accident requirements.That would probably cost too much and anyway the LAS 'will cope' and if they don't it's their fault.

  3. Loved the picture of Jesus. Just shows the faithful that God is in everything, even those things that one would rather not look at. There was a story recently about Allah in the aubergine…Actually, I saw the dog's bum before I saw Jesus – does that mean I'm going to hell?

  4. Well done on the Year and a Day – you're a better man then I am. Takes me doing nights to lay off the sauce, though I try to avoid it if I'm on earlies the following say. I am definitely NOT looking forward to these poxy Olympics – going to cause MAJOR probs in Docklands (where I live), re public transport, traffic, health care & hospitals. Oh – Jesus in a dogs bum – priceless!!!

  5. Some of us Johnnies refused to scab in the LAS dispute you know…AND we know we're the amateurs! You should come along some time. Your skills and experience would be hugely appreciated, and you'd get into all those concerts 😉

  6. What I can't work out is why there is still this bad blood between LAS and SJA, considering that it happened 20-odd years ago! I wasn't even born then!! Why can't bygones be bygones?!With regards to the Marathon, I thought we did have LAS crews working alongside ours? I wasn't there, but from what I've been told in the past, I thought we had escalation protocols that if someone was really, really bad we handed them over to you guys?

    And also, with regards to Music Festivals – they're great. Until you're stood about 4 foot from a massive speaker stack. Then you ask yourself, “Why am I here?” 😉




  7. It's interesting to see read the description of conditions during the marathon. 21C is considered ideal for running a marathon Downunder. As a runner/triathlete myself I usually prefer 24-28C, but I guess its what you get used to. Also most documented/recorded deaths during marathons have been due to pre-existing medical conditions, that are complicated by the marathon, not by the race itself in someone without any prior problems.Poor St John's, they seem to cop it every where. Down here, there's the running joke of: How many St John's does it take to CPR?……

    ……… 3, one to do compressions, one to ventilate and one to hold the patient down.

  8. Yeah, in the U.S. that temperature would be considered fine although not perfect (16C with a light rain is considered better–for the runners, if not the spectators). But 21C is definitely in the “comfortably cool” temperature zone. I don't think I've heard of anyone dying of heat stroke at any of the local marathons, although our weather is so unpredictable it's not unusual to run them in 25-30C weather, but there has been a case of death from water intoxication.

  9. Meh, some folks hold a grudge. I'm quite happy to chat with them, although quite a few of them do seem a little…strange.Whenever I've been involved with something SJA have been at, it's purely been in a 'major incident' capacity, if a stand collapses or something.

  10. Oh dear, I really shouldn't have laughed quite so loud at that joke.And I did come across a similar scenario in real life once – except it was a GP and a pseudofitter… Had to pull him off of her; and he was doing CPR while she was draped over a chair.

  11. Unfortunately, there are a number of quite strange people in the organisation…And anyway, SJA are always crying out for HCPs, especially for the big events – Superbikes, Download festival, etc. OK, I'll stop the recruitment drive now.




  12. I had to pull a GP off a casualty once…the guy was actually in arrest, and was on the floor…but the GP was doing compressions somewhere around the larynx!

  13. Nick,At the marathon SJA and LAS work extremely closely – there is actually a joint control room I believe, and 999 calls in the area around the route can be referred to volunteer crews. But the bad feeling between the VAS and statutory service happens for the same reasons it happens everywhere. One little thing, and long memories.

    More recently, LAS staff had reason to dislike SJA as SJA tendered for PTS work and were able to undercut the LAS. The net result was fewer overtime shifts for LAS crews, and hence a certain unwillingness amongst some LAS personnel to volunteer their time training SJA volunteers. It doesn't help that in London, SJA's PTS employees and volunteers wear the same uniform.

    All we as volunteers can do is perform our role in an exemplary manner and co-operate with paid NHS staff to help them forget our organisations's past indiscretions.

  14. David,Thanks for the insight. Like you say, all we can do as volunteers is give the NHS services less reasons to hate us. In my county, we've got a pretty good working relationship between SJA and the NHS Service, but it's taken a lot of hard work!




  15. hey there new reader, congrats on your abstention.. I once had a Police surgeon who actually damaged a ligament in his finger while going to 'inject' a patient who was faking an anaphylaxis attack.. ( dont ask) how embarrased was he, the doc in A and E thought it was hilarious!And thats a nice picture of jesus!

  16. I'm just being nosey but what happened 20 odd years ago then with SJA and LAS? I know we have quite a good relationship with our ambulance service but I have heard other areas aren't quite so lucky. Just wondering if someone could satisfy my curiousity.Fantastic blog and book Tom!!

  17. Dave the Ambo Great joke (LoL I liked it). Im SJA, infact I work with AmbuNick, (where both in the same County). I enjoy what I do with them and get to meet some great people. Our county has a pretty good relationship with WMAS, or at least we do at the moment. Granted there are some people in SJA who are genuinely thick as two short planks (Sry if I offend anyone) but I think thats something that happens in all Organisations, including NHS. But at the end of the day, I think the majority of SJA members know there limitations and are more than glad to recieve help from the Professionals, be that in training or when doing the job. Well done to everyone who took part in the marathon. I wonder wheather I will be fit enough to run it 😉

  18. Tom,You are the last person I would have expected to want to have any truck with all the nonsense about the dispute between SJAB and the professional ambulance service – I've come to expect better of you…

    As a former member of SJAB, there are a couple of points I would ask you to consider… First of all, you are an emergency service – not a convenience service. Your work is absolutely essential. By going out on strike you FORCED SJAB into a position – their conscience demanded they act in the public good, and the best way to do that was to take on your less serious work. Perhaps before attacking them again you might stop to consider that the situation was entirely of your own making.

    Second – the vast majority of the SJAB members involved will by now have left their units and moved on. Even if they were in the wrong (which I don't accept), you're now holding a grudge against an organisation of whom the current management and membership were not even around at the time of the strike. Does that seem reasonable?

    Yes, ambulance staff and nursing staff get a very raw deal, and have done so for quite some time… It's one of the many reasons I could not support either the Conservatives or Labour again… I had hoped a labour government would mean real changes, but it seems the party managed to get hijacked somewhere along the way…

  19. This is true, over the past 5 years the organisation has changed incredibly. Were more of a buissiness than a charity. Were here to provide a service. Granted we are by no means the “Ambulance Service”. But please give us some credit…And I think you will find that there alot more HCP's in St. John than people realise. But I would also like to point out that I dont think Tom was directly attacking SJA. And I didnt take any offence to anything he said. After all, there the under paid, under appreciate ones out day in day out helping the community. Although its not voluntry work, its not exactly the most well paid. So i say a big congrats to All Stat Ambulance service employees.Jamie

  20. Great it isnt just me whos noticed the amount of bureaucracy, politics and needless regulating. LoL as far as that part of SJA is concerned. Its still being run by people who liked things in the 60's. Thankfully there are more younger people making there mark in places of responsibility. Hence the new changes.

  21. hello… 1st time on this blog and i think it's ace!!… Im in SJA in the West Midlands!….Just a couple of point's i have to add…..Most Saturday night's i work in a night club as a volunteer medic for St John til 4 o'clock in the morning! And we DEAL WITH LOADZ OF DRUNKS!!… So SJA does deal with drunks! But i wouldnt stop doing it for the world!….. Love every minute of it!I was at the marathon on Sunday and saw quite of a bit of LAS… Found them very helpful! It's nice to see two organisations working together to acheive the same goal… Good and Effective Patient Care!….Thanks!!

  22. Good to hear…The problem in my area was that too much influence was held by one particular family, with three area level officers coming from the same household!

    Unfortunately, I'm not the sort to suffer fools.

    Personally I think that although your public duty work is indeed an important service, SJAB has more to offer society in terms of it's Youth Movement… I personally came through as a cadet from a division in a run down former mining area, but I took a sense of values from my time there…

    How do you solve a problem like SJAB? Well, given free reign myself, I'd abolish the Area level – it's a layer of “management” that's not really needed, and seemed to cause more problems than it ever solved. I'd have divisions reporting directly to County – as the County staff are paid I would feel able to expect a higher level of professionalism from them – and how much time does it really take to organise the activities of 35 units, which for the most part run themselves anyway?


  23. Bit late, just started reading your archives.runners battled 21C temperatures at midday



    Wow. Summer here would simply kill you, if 21C was a battle.

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