Mr Grumpy

I reckon I'm going to have two complaints put in against me this week. Not from patients, nor from relatives, but from random members of the public.

You see, I've been 'rude' to two of them.

Take the first one. We were called to a teenager who'd been run over by a car, he had quite a nasty injury that threatened the health of one of his limbs (I'm being deliberately vague for various reasons). So I parked in the road as there was nowhere else to park that wasn't on top of his head. We did a few bits at the side of the road, then scooped him up into the ambulance. We then had to do a lot more 'stuff' to him before heading off to hospital, partly to stabilise his injury and partly to make sure that his big obvious injury was indeed the only thing wrong with him.

I then hear a knock at the back door of the ambulance and, thinking it's the police, go to have a look.

It's the driver of one of those big stretch limos – the sort of things that are hired out by hen parties. He wants me to move the ambulance so he can drive down the street.

I try to explain that I've got a seriously ill patient in the back of the ambulance, and that it needs both of us crew to look after him. I say I *try* to explain but the man won't let me get a word in edgeways – he just wants me to move because he has 'kids and their parents' in the back of his limo. I tried to explain, but he just wouldn't stop talking at me. I'm conscious that my crewmate may need me in the back of the ambulance. Trust me, I'm not being purposefully obstructive.

Well, the red mist starts to rise at the corner of my vision, so I tell him to (and my exact words are), “Shut up!”

“That's a bit rude”, he says, and then draws breath to moan some more, but I interrupt him.

“Yes! I know!”, and I then storm back into the ambulance to deal with my patient. (I may have flounced back into the ambulance, my arms do get a bit flappy when I'm angry).

The limo driver then miraculously manages to squeeze his huge vehicle past the ambulance despite my not moving.

The second one was last night – the ambulance bay at the Royal London was packed with ambulances. It also had a bloke in a private car parking in one of the bays. I'm trying to park so that the 18 month old who has just had a fit can get in to the hospital to see a doctor. This car is blocking my way, and blocking the ambulances who may want to get out for another job.

“Excuse me sir”, I call after the driver, “You can't park there, it's for ambulances only”.

“Where am I supposed to park”, he shouts back at me.

“Well sir, if you go around the back of the hospital you can park there”.

“But then I'll have to walk”, he shouts back.

I note the 200 yards he'd have to walk.

“So”, I shout back at him, “You ignore the big 'No entry' sign, the big writing on the floor that says 'Ambulances Only' and stop me from being able to park my ambulance THAT ALSO HAS A SICK PERSON IN IT!”. My arms may have got a bit flappy as well.

He turns around and heads into the hospital. I'm not sure that he heard the shouted “Pillock!” after him. I thought long and hard about putting a brick through his car window. I decided not to.

Needless to say this was highly amusing to the other ambulance crews in the area.

I wouldn't mind but I'm normally very placid. And again this person could put in a complaint against me and I'd have to defend myself to people much higher than me in the ambulance management food chain. Remember, my only complaint against me so far was from someone who assaulted me and was horrified when I told him that he 'slapped like a bitch'.

But I'm only human.

I wonder if it's anything to do with the negative pay 'deal' we'll be getting or the proposed new 'unsocial hours' payments which will probably end up screwing us over for the next couple of years.

50 thoughts on “Mr Grumpy”

  1. If you do get complaints lodged against you, at least you have the defense of health of patients as your reasons. I would love to know what these people would do if they were the ones in the back of the ambo and people made life harder for the staff to get them to hospital / initiate life saving measures.You'd never hear the end of it… sometimes it makes me wonder where common curtsy has vanished to. You would think they'd be understanding that the emergency services are there to save lives…

    on a side note.. looks like the bbc is getting on the bandwagon again with this

    and the subsequent discussion of if the service can cope on the have your say boards.

  2. I honestly can't see that any complaint by these idiots would be taken seriously. Can you imagine that man going into the hospital and saying 'One of your paramedics just yelled at me!' 'Why?' 'Er…. It's not important…'Case thrown out of court for sheer stupidity yer' honour!

  3. There is only so much stupidity and selfishness that one person should be expected to endure without comment and I think you were perfectly justified in what you said. Besides, that wasn't rude, informing the limo driver that he was a pig ignorant moron and you didn't give a flying rats behind if he had the pope in the boot of his ridiculous vehicle, you'll move when you're good and ready and not before would have been rude. As would telling the man who parked in the ambulance bay that chronic ego overinflation and total selfishness are unfortunately not life threatening so he shouldn't be parked in the emergency bay and could take his crap-mobile and shift it before you had it towed away and crushed into Britain's most expensive rubix cube. I love the fact that you told someone that they slap like a bitch, that's fantastic. That's doing rude properly!

  4. Even if they gave you a million pound a year pay rise, it wouldn't make these people be any less of complete and utter assholes than they already are.

  5. Very restrained if you ask me! Can you imagine either of those two people if they or their relatives needed your help and someone was obstructing you? Strikes me that health is very low down the pecking order in society until the individaual has a problem then suddenly it's important. (Football and alcohol being the most important of course). (From grumpy old woman.)

  6. It's a funny situation isn't it – we're expected to act “professionally”, but to the extent that a certain amount of people think that anything they do or say to us will be met with a “yes sorry sir I will do that straight away”. And people abuse this – with no respect whatsoever for anything else than their aim.I can't blame you for flying off at these two chaps… I would find it very difficult not to. Just a shame that the situation came about… and that it's not inconceivable institutions like LAS would bow to the pressure. On the other hand, chin up mate; I have heard of a few cases being chucked out at a low level due to managers being aware of it being a LOB.

  7. Loved the description of flappy arms! I always get my words wrong when I'm cross which really helps me keep the upper hand…!!I'm not entirely sure that us humans are worse now than before, or whether it's my perception… but the two incidents you describe are perfect examples of how many people nowadays feel that they take priority over everything and they should have instant access to whatever they want. And it always seems to be over such trivial things too.

  8. My other half gave me a pair of gen-yoo-wine “Mr Grumpy” slippers a while ago. I wore them out, and graduated to “Mr Rude”.I'll second that 'chin up'; they haven't complained yet and probably won't! Can you imagine the conversations they might have had with work/pub mates:


    'I had some ambulance driver tell me to shut up today, God, give 'em a bloody uniform…'

    'What was he doing?'

    'Dunno, he had a kid in the back of the ambulance. I think he'd been hit by a car.'

    'Why did he telll you to shut up?'

    'He wouldn't move the bloody ambulance and I had a limo to get past it.'

    'You tw*t.'


    'I just had a jumped-up bloody ambulance driver shouting and swearing at me when I was at my hospital appointment!'


    'He said I had to use the car park but it's miles away!'

    'Where were you parked then?'

    'Outside casualty.'

    'On the double yellow lines?'

    'Yeah, but…'

    'You tw*t'.

  9. People are so stupid to be fair. Really really stupid. But there we go, nothing we can do about it….other than blog ofcourse

  10. I can see why someone would get annoyed with an ambulance parked in the road. I cannot see how some could stay annoyed long enough – in the face of such compelling arguments against them – to lodge a formal complaint.I think the same thing pretty much applies to parking in an ambulance bay (although that guy sounds like a right 'pillock').

  11. Tom/Brian,I suspect that the pay “rise” and everything that goes along with it may have something to do with it, in so far as you may be a wee bit more apt to feel frustrated and lose your cool.That said, these guys were complete twats and anyone with half a brain could see that you were just trying to deliver the best care to your patients whilst having to deal with these imbeciles.I don't blame you in the least for yelling at them and it was probably the only thing you COULD do, under the circumstances. So don't beat yourself up about it. Just have a cup of tea and a nice chocolate biscuit and remember that there are a lot of people that love and support you and appreciate all of the hard work you do, not just those of us out here in the blogosphere.

  12. Considering the sheer number of total idiots in the world, I'm surprised you've managed to keep your head this long!”flappy arms”—I'm giggling….

  13. Hi TomPlease continue to insult stupid inconsiderate people. Everyone in society has a purpose; it is the purpose of stupid and inconsiderate people to be insulted, regularly. Failure to insult them is degrading and takes away from them the only faint vestige of purpose in their otherwise empty lives.Some people are pillocks – that's just how it is! They richly deserve your rudeness. Don't let them down.

  14. DAMMIT! I've just spat tea all over my keyboard!Tom – you were exceptionally restrained. I think I would have lamped at least one of the pillocks, if not both…

  15. Your priority is your patient. It's hardly surprising that you get p*ssed off with people who get in the way of allowing you to take care of your patient.But I also think that the current stresses (pay etc) mean you are maybe at a different position on the passive-assertive-aggressive scale than you would have been, say, a year ago?Unfortunately the Suits may be less than understanding about your principle of putting emergency treatment of a genuine patient above politics and “corporate image”. Hopefully no complaints will be made, though, and I'm sure there are those who would speak up for you.*hugs*

  16. If someone asks me to move the motor and we are both busy and it can't happen I explain to them once. After that its doors shut and locked and we get on and do what we need to do and go when we need to go. As for someone parking in an ambulance bay its a big big pet hate of mine. Yes I can understand the temptation that parking is difficult and there may be 5 bays and only one ambulance but that can change in a matter of moments!! Still I hear rumour that a lot of pleasure can be derrived from blocking said car in for a while…..

  17. Bastards, you should be issued with a stun gun and able to harvest their organs. (I'm having a bad day too!)The general public are a bloody disgrace at times, and I cannot conceive of why someone thinks it's okay to be rude to someone doing their job at all, let alone a life-or-death job like this.

  18. Can't you just point out this bit of legislation (“You do realise sir…”) of a 5000 quid fine should shut up even the most self-involved, even if what they're doing might not _technically_ come under the legislation πŸ˜‰

  19. Oh yes! Ian I have printed that out and tacked it in BIG LETTERS above my desk! I love you – you have made my day, week – and quite possibly, century.

  20. After however many years of reading this blog and working in the NHS myself? No, I really, really wouldn't…

  21. The only bad part about not putting a brick through his window, was not being able to find a volunteer to sit in broken glass to move the car.

  22. Ah the old parking in the Ambulance bay trick, we get that a lot too, usually because the 200 yard walk is just too far for them. We have managed to block a few cars in before with some strategic parking, also a loud blast of the airhorn has worked a treat too. Some people just have no common sense (or the ability to read it seems). I agree with the stun gun idea too, either that or just normal guns would help in a lot of cases. In my experience they never end up complaining anyway Tom, they get home all angry and then realise that they forgot to note the vehicle number or just can't be bothered writing a letter, I am sure it will be just fine.

  23. It is quite hard to believe that some people can be so moronic.Have you seen the BBC article today? According to information they have received, ambulance call out rates have soared – up 20% apparently in some areas. Apparently this is on top of a 6% rise (nationwide I guess) last year. Unfair that you guys have to work 20% plus harder, get a below inflation pay rise and then have to put up with morons in stupid cars. You should be able to seize peoples assets if they obstruct you doing your job – like the police can with criminals.

  24. The car would have been in your way, so I'd argue it fell perfectly under that nice new legislation. You were hampered in your efforts to aid that child… (talking more about the fitting kid here)On a side-note, has anybody been prosecuted under the Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006 yet? I haven't heard anything, and I imagine it'll make the news when it does…



  25. Better yet, can Hospital Security or appropriate body not tow the vehicle? That'd make it better, cleaning out your ambulance as he saunters back out to find his car gone.. “Oh, there you are mate. They asked me to give you this” and hand over the details of recovery costs etc.Vindictive? Me?, probably. A career in Customer Relations (read: being whined at for a living) does that to you. πŸ˜€

  26. Be good to see the breakdown of these figures. Then we would know how many drunks have accidents or get into fights and how many drug addicts overdose. What I would like to see is how many are repeat/regular customers and their ailments.

  27. We get a lot of that parking in the ambulance bay malarkey. We take great pleasure in blocking cars in, and making them wait as long as possible.I often tell them i havent got the keys and im waiting for my crew member to get back form the wards…. And we also mess around by backing the tail lift under one of thier wheels and then when they arrive back “ask” them what they think theyre playing at parking on an ambulance taillift, and offer to call the police….

  28. Have a disposable camera on the Ambo , then tell the geezer. ” Sir. Just A mo! Sir! need this for the court”, and snap off a couple quickies.A cheap documetation tool. Make sure flash be on so that thee blind 'im too.

    A digital Camera in a court of law can give a SAL. a field day, wheresa a negative based film be harder for a SAL to shout fake.

  29. you should have jumped in the front started up and swirved into his limo! Arse! (as long as the patient wouldnt suffer dramatically of course :-P)

  30. i turn up to A&E to find a car blocking a spare bay and 2 NHS ambos. i reported it to the sercuity bloke i was, who said “i'll hit him where it hurts, his wallet” 10 mins later the car was being lifted, at the shouts of the owner a bloke with a small cut to his arm. the car remover and sercuity bloke both pointed out the “ambulance only, any other vehicles will be towed away”valet parking at 120 and 13 per day after that. good service for the ****heads from the NHS trust πŸ˜€

  31. Er, actually, if they're anything like my hospital, they own a clamp but are not actually legally allowed to use it. I promise I am not making this up.

  32. Everyone thinks they are the most important person in the world. Had many similar incidents, the best (purely from a revenge point of view) was when had went to a patient having an AMI and a doctor's clinic and they were very sick, with vomiting too. Someone had parked in the ambulance space, so we had to block the car park. As we wheeled the patient out to the ambulance, the person who had parked in the ambulance space came and complained we were blocking them in. I said she will have to wait until we finished. She then started ranting on about some appointment she had. I said something about parking in our space. So she then came around to give me an ear full, and stepped right into the line of fire of our vomiting patient. All I could do was smile. When on they way to hospital, our patient said told us he could have missed. Priceless.

  33. Both of these cases are examples of the new law as knocking on the back of an ambulance to ask it to move to get a limo through at an obvious RTA is hindering the crew. No one has yet been prosecuted that I know of as the law only came into force on 20th February.

  34. Good stuff, Mr Reynolds. AND I heard you on Radio 4 today. So glad you finally managed to say your bit about timewasting drunks on a major news programme. Maybe the message will start to get around.

  35. Good points about the new laws. That would have been great to interupt him with “You're breaking the law by hindering this crew, please go away before I call the police”. (And something similar for the man who parked his car too)I don't think you were grumpy, I think you were perfectly justified to be annoyed.

  36. You've cheered me up no end – even though I'm having a crud set of weekend nights!Only those who are audacious enough to park inappropriately and behave selfishly are audacious and pathetic enough to complain.

    You deserve a pat on the back. I'd've tried to have told that pillock the same as you but would have been so cross that I'd've ended up tripping over my words and simply shouted 'cock'! So good for you that you can complete a sentence when 'aroused'!

    As for the jobsworth limo driver, he was lucky he didn't find his left hand in an terrible accident involving closed back doors. Lol

    A4C, pay rise… The only people to benefit from this farce is 'management'. I'm A4C 'trained' & nowhere does it say in the bible thick handbook about 'deals'. But I won't get started on that because that really really annoys the cockin pants off of me and I still have to act professional and calm for the next 4 hours with those who don't need an ambulance.

    Mrs Grumpy

  37. The public never fail to surprise me. A few years ago a crew were working on an old boy who had been so inconsiderate as to have a cardiac arrest in Tesco, my mate was bouncing on his chest when a woman put a hand on his back to keep her balance and reached over him and picked a tin off the shelf !!!!! He was so “gobsmacked” that he couldn't speak!

  38. A few years ago, I had to take my sick mother to hospital by car because the transport which the hospital was supposed to have arranged did not materialise. It turned out to be her last journey – she died a couple of weeks later. When I arrived at the hospital, which was unfamiliar to me, there was nowhere to park anywhere near the building except the ambulance bay. So, yes, I did park there for as long as it took me to find a wheelchair and get my mother inside. And I think I was right to do so.

  39. All hospitals have problems with people parking in the first empty space they see. They don't stop and ask them selves why it is empty or what the notice saying Ambulances Only actually means. Soon hospitals will have to have contractors who can remove such vehicles and take them round to the nearest vehicle crusher. It wouldn't stop poeple parking there but in a year or two there would be a lot less vehicles on the roads.

  40. why not install little cameras in your glasses, and post pictures of the car reg plates. let the public do the rest.

  41. Ian summed it fantastically! You go for it Tom, flappy arms and all!Some people should be forced to wear signs saying “stupid person alert”….

  42. Don't wish to sound harsh at all Peter but if your mother needed an A&E ambulance speedily & that ambulance needed to get to A&E rather speedily – but was unable to due to other ambulances which were already parked there (rightly so) and a vehicle which was not an ambulance but was parked in the ambulance bay, which immediately directly impedes access and egress and in-hospital care, I wonder if you would still believe you would have been right to have parked as you did?Reality is there are extremely good reasons why ambulance bays are clearly marked as ambulance bays – not least because we're an accident and emergency service.

    I hope you aren't offended by my reply – it certainly wasn't written to offend.

  43. I have just found out (although at this point in time no-one will probably read this as its been a few days) that there is a new law in place to do with the obstruction of Ambulance Crews, this will involve a 5000 fine to the person doing the obstruction. I have only had a little info so I am sorry if some of it is wrong, but has anyone else heard about this?

  44. Herts Ambo Bloke, I've heard of it too. If they've been found to be deliberately obstructing that's when they get their arses caned for 5000. I'm up for the arse whoopin!Debs

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