I've had a crappy day and I get home to find a couple of people have sent this story to me. (And thanks to all those people, I would have missed it otherwise).
A paramedic has been criticised for not cutting short a break to help a woman who had suffered a heart attack.
Catherine Cowie, 50, died two days after collapsing in Fraserburgh.
An ambulance technician was on the scene within four minutes, but a paramedic did not attend with him because he was on a lunch break.
Some cardiac drugs can only be administered by a paramedic. The Scottish Ambulance Service said staff could not be disturbed during breaks.
However, it said staff could choose whether or not to attend calls during break periods.
Can someone please explain how 'staff could not be disturbed during breaks.' and 'staff could choose whether or not to attend calls during break periods.' can both be in effect?
In London it's quite simple if you get a break* then the first part of it is sacrosanct, with a 45 minute break that's the first half an hour. Then the last third of the break is interruptible. If a high priority call comes in during this time then Control can choose to end your break early. Unless Control chose to do this, the crew having the break have no idea that a call is waiting for them.
There is a lot of other weird stuff in this story that just doesn't sound correct – but then, few people understand the bizarre workings of an ambulance trust, and that includes some of the staff**
And of course I'd like to see the person who wrote this article work without a break for twelve hours while dealing with some of the awful things we have to do. And that means no cups of tea and no hot meals, or if you are lucky then you can get a dodgy takeaway while dodging Control. And having to use the toilets at hospital that patients with infectious diarrhoea have been using. And doing that every day of your working life.
If this story were really as written then I suspect that the Paramedic involved would be thrown to the wolves for 'denying a member of the public an ambulance'.
What next? 'My relative died because Paramedic was off duty'?
Remember people – if you are picked up by an ambulance and die two days afterwards while in hospital then it's all the fault of the ambulance service…
I'm sadly getting used to this attitude that ambulance staff aren't actually human.
*And really, I'm not convinced that the LAS aren't breaking the law by not enforcing break periods, instead paying us an extra £10 if we don't get a break.
**…And all the managers…