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A day in a life of an ambulance crew
3:00pm Thursday 29th November 2012 in News
BLUE lights and sirens are a common occurrence in the town but what is the day in the life of an ambulance crew actually like?
Reporter Hannah Bargery followed senior paramedic Neville White and emergency medical technician Karen Jackson during their shift at Warrington ambulance station, Farrell Street, to find out.
Neville has been in the job 34 years and said his role has changed massively.
The 51-year-old, from Callands, said: “In the 70s it was a man with a fag and a bandage responding to calls, now we’re much more professional, go through higher education and are better trained.
“Staff are under pressure but I think we’re performing really well considering the resources we have.
“Last week a man in Lymm had suffered a heart attack but we got him to hospital and that was a successful job.
“I have successfully resuscitated children but delivering a patient to hospital and people saying thank you is what it’s all about.”
Neville added Warrington Hospital’s busy A&E department can sometimes mean crews are queuing in corridors for two hours to handover patients.
The hard-working pair have also noticed an increase in alcohol-related emergencies with their ‘regulars’ calling two or three times a day.
Karen, who has been at the station for 11 years, said: “I had been in the job two weeks when I was chased around the ambulance and then had CD cases thrown at me and others will hurl torrents of abuse at you.
“But a lot of people are apologetic they have called you out and often they’re the ones who need us most and have suffered for days before calling.”
If somebody does not need to go to hospital, patients can be directed to a district nurse or their GP but Karen says that does not stop them getting numerous non-urgent calls.
The 52-year-old from Callands said: “We get called out every day to cases that aren’t emergencies which can be frustrating.
“I think a lot of people think you’re going to get seen quicker if you call an ambulance but if they’re capable of looking after themselves we can leave them to wait in the waiting room.”
DAY in the life of an ambulance crew:
11.05am: The shift starts at 10.30am and the crew are soon called out to a nursing home in Widnes to an 80-year-old woman who has a suspected broken collar bone.
When the crew gets there they find she had fallen at 2.45am but had been put back to bed with her injury.
Falls are one of the top three calls ambulance crews are called to.
Staff explained to the patient in a caring and warm way what was going to happen before they head to Whiston Hospital.
12.15pm: Despite being based in Warrington, the crew can be called to incidents across Merseyside, Cheshire anad even the edge of Manchester. The next call is to a teenager who has been threatening suicide in St Helens. Her mum is going to meet her in hospital.
1.10pm: Transfer a patient from radiotherapy department at Whiston to Willowbrook Hospice.
1.55pm A 43-year-old from Widnes has knocked herself out after practising her ice skating spins in her kitchen.
She tells the crew she feels fine and does not think she needs to go to hospital but they suggest it is best to be checked out after being unconscious.
On the journey to Warrington Hospital she starts to feel worse.
3pm: The crew finally has a break for lunch.
3.45pm: We rush to a 60-year-old man in Stockton Heath who is experiencing breathing difficulties.
The crew finds he is a bladder cancer patient with pains in his legs.
His condition is not life threatening so we sit in rush hour traffic to get to hospital.
The man behind him in the queue at A&E has suffered serious steam burns after working on a boiler.
4.40pm: Petrol stop
5.10pm Call to Cadishead before another crew gets there before them and they are told to turn back.
They are then called to Buttermarket St in the town centre after a couple found a man on the floor who said he wanted to die.
He was taken to Warrington Hospital.