I work part time as an Operational Paramedic for an NHS Ambulance Trust, I’m also a Freelance Clinical Trainer for a number of training providers including ECG. With most training postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, back in April last year I returned to solely working on the NHS frontline as an Operational ambulance Paramedic.
Those months were a rather odd time; A&E departments in my local area were much quieter than usual, with their waiting rooms often virtually empty. Ironically it would seem that last spring at least most people were just too scared about becoming ill with COVID-19 to go to hospital! As I mentioned in the Blog I wrote at the time, I couldn’t help thinking that this was just the proverbial “calm before the storm”! I somehow expected that storm to occur over the weeks that followed, but as summer neared and restrictions lifted it, so too did the flow of COVID patients. It seemed that for most of us at least, there had been somewhat of a lucky escape.
In the last few weeks all that has changed, most of the patients I meet now are suffering with COVID-19. Some have just mild symptoms, others are really very sick indeed. Those I meet who are struggling to cope with the virus are in need of hospitalisation and are understandably very scared of what it has in store for them.
The Dunkirk spirit I talked of in my previous blog isn’t so apparent these days either. Public mood seems to be changing, with that sense of community that we had in the first lockdown replaced by frustration, distrust and denial.
Hospitals are struggling to cope, ambulances are queued up outside A&E departments for hours upon end with sick patients waiting for a bed. The NHS workforce is struggling, with many of us absent due to suffering with COVID-19 ourselves. I have been lucky enough to have avoided it so far, many have been less fortunate though. Some of my colleagues have been admitted to critical care units, others have been left with debilitating long term effects and sadly we’ve even lost a few to the virus as well.
This week I received my first COVID-19 vaccine with the next one due sometime over the next 4-12 weeks. With the amount of COVID patients that I’m seeing on a daily basis and with questions emerging about how effective our current level of PPE is against the new COVID-19 variant, I can only hope that I stay lucky.
Now more than ever we all need to do the right thing, Stay in, Stay Safe, Get Vaccinated and we’ll get through this.
Written by Dave McClagish (ECG Freelance Clinical Trainer), Monday 1st February 2021