It's been a long two or so weeks – lots of shifts with some nasty changes (getting up at 12am for some shifts then less than 48 hours later having to get up at 5am, changing shifts 'backwards' is awful). Add in hardly doing a 'decent' job for a month or two and coping with the management led changes that are causing morale to plummet and it's easy to see why I'm incredibly grateful to be off work for a few days.
Before starting Friday, Saturday, Sunday night-shifts.
Rather than bore you with lots of posts about how bad it is getting I thought I'd keep my moans all short and put them together in one post.
As an example of the sorts of calls that I've been running on blue lights to, with a FRU already in attendance, include a blocked nose and someone with an earache. These then get categorised as 'Cat A' rapid responses – surely this is proof that the computer system which triages these calls is not fit for purpose. Giving everything a high priority is not triage, it's arse-covering.
I'm going to start testing people's eyes soon as part of my assessment – stand them on their doorstep and ask them if they can read the writing on the side of the ambulance, you know, the bit that says 'Emergency Ambulance'…
The blocked nose and earache calls weren't even the normal 'demographic', young wimpish men, they were calls from people who should know better.
Due to 'Call connect' jobs are being sent down to us half-formed. Nothing but an address with no indication of what is wrong with a patient. I refuse to drive on blue lights to these jobs until they give us more information – I'm not going to turn up somewhere without any idea how dangerous it is. Imagine being sent to someone who has been stabbed by a mad family member, knocking on the door and being greeted by someone with a bloodstained knife.
This dangerous practice is due, once more, to the governmental target needing to be met rather than any actual clinical need.
If this job was based on clinical need I'd not be blue-lighting it to blocked noses, yet trundling down the road to elderly patients who have been on the floor all night with a broken hip.
Active Area Cover (AAC) continues to be a farce, as if a computer can predict where the next call comes from when there is a population density as high as in London. Only the other day I returned to station after being out all shift, behind me was another ambulance. We hadn't even opened the front door to the station when the phone started ringing to tell us both we had to turn around and start driving around.
I was told to go to a point 0.7 miles away from the station.
To say that I was fuming that I wouldn't even be able to get a cup of tea would be putting it mildly. So instead I found myself sitting in a cramped cab in the rain only to have to drive back past my station on the very next call.
What irritates me even more is knowing that the people who order us out to roam around are sitting in a nice comfortable office drinking tea and eating biscuits while clapping themselves on the back for a 'job well done'. And they get paid more than me.
Our stock of equipment has been of it's usual high quality, in the last two weeks I have been out on an ambulance with…
- No scoop stretcher
- No drug pack
- No reagent sticks for measuring blood sugars
- No blood pressure cuff
- No working ECG leads
- No oxygen masks
Good job I hardly ever go to anyone who is actually 'sick'.
When I first joined this job, staff morale wasn't too bad, it has now plummeted. This can be the best job in the world, but the changes that are brought in for no reason other than to make some governmental minister happy are destroying the job. To them a successful job is getting two resources to the earache within eight minutes, while ignoring the hypothermic broken hip patient. to them a success is 'doing something', even though there is no evidence that it makes things work any better – after all no-one was ever re-elected by doing nothing to a service even though it works well – you have to 'stamp your mark' don't you know.
It also doesn't matter if you get to a job and can't give the patient oxygen, as that doesn't impact the all important eight minute target.
Expect to see more of this sort of thing and be under no illusions, as far as the government is concerned this is a 'successful' job, because the FRU got there in under eight minutes – it's one of the many reasons why I came off the FRU.