My Last Shift

I would like to start with an apology.

A little while ago, I asked the question 'What is it that makes an ambulance'. I then went on to inform you that the only equipment that an ambulance requires is a defibrillator and a bag-valve-mask. I may have made the suggestion that this shows the priority that the LAS has on patient care.

But I must apologise, for I made a mistake.

You don't need the defibrillator.


Yes, on my final shift I found myself on an ambulance without a defibrillator, going to calls of elderly patients with chest pain. Then our tail lift stopped working, so there was no way to use the stretcher.

We we refused our request to go 'unavailable' in order to return to station in order to get replacement kit.

So the last shift continued my tradition of trying to give good healthcare despite management policies.


The patients were also a fair mix of the normal sorts of patients I've spent the last eight years going to – a fall, a drunken and abusive alcoholic, a homeless chap with chest pain, a runny nose, and two hospital transfers.

My last call was for one of those transfers, an elderly chap that the doctors at a local hospital suspected was having a heart attack that we blue-lighted to the heart-attack centre.

They didn't think that he was having a heart attack, but given his long, complicated and somewhat obscured medical history I still think that the local hospital did the right thing.


So, no bangs, no whimpers, just a continuation of what my shift has been like since I joined the service.

I'm going to hold off on writing about my new job for a while until I get settled in a bit, I think that it's important that I get the lay of the land, and besides, it's better to reflect than immediately report.

I've still got a few things to write about the ambulance service sitting in my notepad, so that will keep me going for a bit.

(Plus I need to work on a new banner for the blog, maybe a new layout and who knows what else…)

10 thoughts on “My Last Shift”

  1. It's endemic in the system. Even Da Boss has to answer to targets and he pushes those below him ad infinitum. Patient care is gone long before it gets anywhere near the patient.

  2. My subconscious has been working on this question of what makes an ambulance, and now has an answer: a person or persons in the cab with knowledge and skills who will help me when I am in need of medical help.Even in your frustration with the system, you always gave me hope that if I called for help, I'd be answered by someone who knew what they were doing – and cared enough to do it.

    Thank you.

    Changing your job won't change your level of knowledge or the way you care about what you do, so I think you will still have plenty to write. I'll still be reading!

    Keep us posted with how things are going, at least.

  3. Management will never consider patient care as an important part of their job, as a significant proportion of the management in the LAS have gine into management for the sole reason that they where unable to empathise with their patients, or sometimes where just unable to do the job on the road.

  4. If you can stop a ticking clock hitting eight minutes, then you're an ambulance; and a bloody good one apparantely. It's sad I know; yet true.I am disappointed( but not surprised) to hear that an ambulance could potentially arrive without vital equipment.

    Good luck and all the best.

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