Food For Thought….!

February 3, 2007


Ambulance disguised as Batternberg cake…

A Paramedic crew have recently been sacked in the Yorkshire Ambulance Service area after refusing to attend a 999 call. The reason…? They had not had a break for 6 hours! Details are still a bit sketchy as they have gone to appeal.

A report by the BBC details the main facts surrounding the incident.

It is a Cardinal sin to refuse a 999 call in the ambulance service. We,ve all done it at some time, that is thought about refusing a 3 niner, and we,ve gobbed off to control but we did the job then complained about it. I,m not supporting the dismissal, far from it, and I can understand someone snapping. Also…there is no mention of what the call was, so therefore you could assume it was a numpty job! Both crew members have a fair whack of service between them and I think personally that getting the sack was harsh.

These are my few thoughts on the issue and I have brought in other factors which will hopefully paint a more clearer picture of life on the road. (or maybe not as the case may be).

The Ambulance Service is a demand driven service, so we eat when we can. Sometimes this is not possible even when you are back at station you may be restocking kit/vehicle after a traumatic job or a cardiac arrest. (nothing worse than being caught out at a job with missing kit). So we restock the ambulance first and then refuel ourselves….or try! 


Fish & Chips…mmmm! nice!

Look around you next time you are in a restaurant….do you see that man/woman over there with flames coming off the knife & fork as they eat quickly? Chances are he/she will be in the Ambulance Service. Even when you are on a break back at station you still need to stuff the food down your neck in case you get called out before the half hour is up! If I could add up the cost of food that I,ve wasted from leaving/throwing away due to being called out for a job then I,m sure it would be a princely sum! 


Dog Burger…lovely!

Getting a break is one thing…having the time to eat properly and chew your food is another. Ambulance crews are noted for having digestion problems and ulcers from poor eating habits. And the food is not healthy either…fish & chips or burgers with coffee or cola as you can at least eat them “in the saddle” if you do get another job before finishing your meal break. I am, by definition, a professional forager. A good Ambulanceman/woman/person/stretcher monkey will always find a cup of tea and a biscuit within a 1.5 mile radius of their vehicle. But we should not have to forage or rely on getting drinks from wards etc.  


If you are unfortunate enough to require an Ambulance due to illness/accident, check out the crews uniform. Are there any tell tale signs of crumbs or dried food on their tops/jackets? Is there a dried egg smear across the lower face? Can you hear loud burping noises every now and then when your back is turned? Its not bad manners…its the result of having to wolf down their food. Again….As per usual….Normal state of affairs….Its the way! 

Throw into this meal break madness 12 hour shifts and now you are on your way to a very unhealthy lifestyle indeed. (I know some crews prefer 12 hour shifts and if it works for them then fair play.) For me it doesnt work. I work 0700 to 1900hrs day shifts and 1900 to 0700hrs nights shifts. Therefore my breakfast is either very, very early or not at all. And then lunch will be taken at any time other than the normally accepted hours of lunchtime (if at all!). Teatime is none existent as I am out on the road and I dont want to eat when I get back around 1930hrs (thats if we dont get a late job!).


Proper Sleep…I wish…

10 hour shifts suit me as you can organise some of the days meals at home better. 0700-1700hrs/1200-2200hrs/2100-0700hrs. So the shifts are not good when you are hungry. And when you are hungry you get more tired. But the shifts dont allow you enough time to relax and wind down and eat healthily. Therefore fitness levels drop and sickness soars! 


Healthy Food…I wish…

All we want is the opportunity to be able to sit down and eat a healthy meal in good order so that the fuel we take inside ourselves will help us better with the demands of the job/shifts/punters etc.  



Mrs. Magic & myself on hols…

I wish…