The Boss

“Our eyes met across a crowded room”

One of the things that Peter Bradley, the boss of all the London Ambulance Service, does is to occasionally come out on the road and do a shift working on an ambulance. Last night he was in our area teamed up with a team leader, running an extra FRU car. Whenever he has been around I've not been working, however last night I was working at the same time…

We were called to a 37 year old man who was 'suspended', not breathing and with no pulse. Control told us that there was a hysterical woman on scene and that it was a child who had called us. We rushed around there and saw that we had been called by a passing teenager. Hopping out of the ambulance and I saw a FRU pull up behind us. In it a team leader…and the Boss.

My crewmate and I ran into the room and found the man dead – there was nothing that we were going to be able to do for him. Sticking out of one leg was a needle and on a nearby workbench there was some citric acid, a spoon, a lighter and other drug paraphernalia. It looked like he had overdosed.

There was nothing that we could do except for wait for the police, the team leader and the Boss looked after the distraught wife and the man's young daughter, while my crewmate and I made sure that no-one altered what could be a crime scene. It's very sad to see someone so young dead, and to leave behind such a young child is terrible. We try to rationalise this by saying to each other that perhaps she is better off without a drug user in the house, but… I just don't know.

The Boss and Team Leader came back in with the police to show them the body and I bid farewell to the Boss with a cheerful, “Welcome to Newham sir”.

The team leader seemed very eager to get him away from me, I have no idea why. This is a shame as I would have liked to have asked him how crap it felt to be screwed over by the government so much.

Actually, I think that may have been why the Team Leader was so eager to get him away.

16 thoughts on “The Boss”

  1. He probably had a copy of Da Book tucked away in his jacket waiting for the right chance to ask for an autograph….Could be worth a few quid on eBay some day !

  2. Hi Tom, I've been a long time lurker and thought I'd get my first comment in!I wish my boss would spend a day with me on my job, just to prove to him that we *really* do need that extra money to buy more equipment to get the job done easier/faster/safer………

    BTW – read “da book”, it is brilliant. I found that I couldn't put it down and finished it in two days.

  3. Hello :o) I think its a good thing to have “the boss” on scene now and again (even if he is snatched away in the threat of a conversation being started)…where are I work could be called a stressful environment and although training/help/support is provided to a certain extent..nothing quite gets rid of the feeling of helplessness at the sound of a distraught mother in fear for her childs life..and I'm sat there trying to exude “calm” with a headset glued to my ear (and my veins popping out of my head)…another busy night tonight…

  4. How much would Team Leader have your blogging in mind, and be worried about you reporting things that might have been said by The Boss (particularly considering That Woman's latest soundbite) without much prior thought and approval?I have a mental image of the Team Leader ushering the Boss away with a hushed “that's the one I told you about, Sir, the one who wrote Da Book…”

  5. Some time ago, our Chief Exec (the only Board member ever actually to have done The Job) was invited by the BBC to go “Back to the Floor”, but first he went Back to the Training School. He also took on the filming as a full time task, making it clear that he would take no part in running the service until it was completed. He then worked as an EMT on the streets of one of our cities for (I think) 3 weeks. The most fascinating part of the finished documentary was seeing his reaction on encountering problems he clearly already knew all about, but now at first hand. I particularly recall the effect of his seeing the reality of ambulances stacked at hospitals for up to an hour whilst A&E crews attempted to hand over their (non-emergency) patients. We already thought he was doing a pretty good job (he still is) but the documentary did his reputation no harm either.We strayed into a neighbouring service's patch the next day, and met a home team crew at the hospital.

    “That your boss on the box last night?”


    “How much do you want for him?”

  6. Wouldn't it be awesome if he did?!After all, I know that I have always respected and admired emergency services personnel for all that they do for we lowly civilians, but blogs like yours have educated even fans like me to all of the crap you go through day in and day out.

  7. Better the Boss, than one of the under bosses. 'Tis always better to go to the brain directly than having it transcribed by one that must impress the Man.

  8. Rings alarm bells with me, worked for a small company where the MD (owner) used to pride himself on being able to do all jobs and used to regularly have stints at them all (although he never managed to do mine in the 6 years) He used to use it against us whenever we raised issues at performance reviews, (must be you, I dont find this) not realising that everybody else was giving him special treatment so it was not normally like that. Infuriating… Make sure he sees it all as it is.

  9. Our old mnagement used to walk through the garage at the biggest station and not say a word to anyone…the old head down and walk hoping no-one will speak to me mentality. The only time one of these managers would speak to you was just before you got your backside hauled into the office for a telling off.I was talking to one of our new senior managers and he explained his surprise at why everyone on the said station looked the other way and hurried past when he tried to strike up conversation! Having said that, i don't think he will ever talk to me again after having consumed a few beers he asked me what was wrong with the old trust…don't think he was prepared for the answer!

    Nice to see bosses taking to the shop floor to keep a hand in and an eye on what it's like to be out on the road!

    Tom, your team leader ws probably very uncomfortable having the boss out with him, but i like the question that you want to ask, don't think it would hurt us to ask all our chief execs the same question and see if they feel as much as we do!

  10. Tom, you may be over thinking this a bit.The point of FRUs is to provide a quick response to as many CAT As as possible, if I was working with my Boss I'd be turning around the jobs as quick as possible and I think the team leader was probably doing the same.


  11. I would love to see any of our lot go back out on the road, some of the aom's ( assistant operational managers ) do there job, but others will sit in there a*^&s and do nothing. Again read yout book it was spot on. Couldn't put it down.Regards

    manchester tech

  12. You call your Boss “sir” Or was it a tongue in cheek remarkFrom what I gather, He is known as Sir to everyone. At the 7/7 hot debrief, I addressed him as Sir, and I'm not even LAS! I do have respect for the guy for getting out on the road. Our AOM hasn't got a valid ambulance ticket any more, and our head honcho has never even been ambulance trained. Scary, isn't it?

  13. When I first respond on my own, I aim to give as much care as I can, and it doesn't matter whether there are calls stacking up – you can only do one job at a time.My biggest frustration of working solo is that eventually the crew turn up (and usually quite quickly, god bless 'em) and take your patient away. Yes, I know that is the point, but I miss that patient contact…



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