There are places in this job that become regular haunts for us ambulance lot. Often they are places that you wouldn't want to be in, the worse types of estates, the hostels full of drug users, the crack houses.

There is one place that lets me feel a little happy to be going there – just so long as it's for nothing too serious.

We have a borough special needs school on our patch and it's a lovely place. It's always clean and cheerful and colourful. The children all seem happy and, strangely for a school, so do the staff.

Some of the children there are regular customers of ours, normally because they are epileptic and while the staff can easily cope with a simple seizure, sometimes the child has more than one and so needs more medical assistance than the staff can provide.

Unlike some of the nursing homes that I go to the staff member that accompanies the child in the ambulance always knows them, and they will spend the journey trying their best to comfort the child – a far cry from the 'nurse' who neither knows the patient or does anything but sit motionless in the passenger seat.

We went there today, a new child with severe problems – the staff who came with us talked to the child all the way into the hospital and gently stroked his hair. You can see how much the staff care for even those children they are yet to know well.

And it's unforced, it just comes naturally to the staff. I've seen it in some nursing homes, where the care of people is as important as the job itself. The staff walk around with smiles on their faces and we often have friendly chats with them.

So I come away happy, knowing that out there, in little pockets, there are people who really do care for others, who don't tick boxes and count pay-cheques.

And I'm glad that I've never had to go to anything too serious there.

5 thoughts on “Special”

  1. By posting that you have bought back some special memories for me, before being a stretcher monkey i worked in a residential unit for special needs children mostly with such profound disabilities.We had such fun! there was always a happy atmosphere and there was nothing we wouldnt try with the kids to make their stay/lives happier- regardless of their disability. We had some sad times too, being a semi residential unit and the short life span of some of the kids we had deaths in the unit- usually expected and we would celebrate the life they did have.

    What has always saddens me is that children with SN get so much interaction/intervention up until 16 or 18 years of age then they are transferred to Adult Services…. and you know how that goes.

  2. Good to know there are places like that about. Very good special needs school near Charing Cross hospital – staff know exactly whats going on.Far too many “Don't Care” homes around. Places where they are still trying to feed the patients, an hour after they have passed away. Or the place I deal with a lot, where the staff call us to Cardiac Arrests, CVAs, Fits etc, and take ten or more minutes to let the crews in.

  3. My son attends a special needs school and it is lovely. There are about 30 staff including admin dinner ladies and part time classroom assistants and one to one workers and about 33 kids and its like a large family everyone knows everyone and its a happy vibriant place. Sometimes it is a little sad to see some kids with such profound disabilities though, im fortunate in that my son's needs are purely learning disability and autism he is physically healthy as an ox – although thats a challenge for the staff too as he loves to run off given the slightest chane and has absolutley no sense of danger or “being lost” . I can honestly say though he wouldnt have made the progress he has without thier teaching , patience and most of all thier love. Its a very special teacher who can help those children like my son.

  4. I agree that it is good to know that caring people do exist in the “care industry” after all isn't that the reson why many of us signed up for our chosen career???? and without making any excuses i feel some people have become numb through years of being pushed around by number crunching paperwork monkeys

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