Community Specialist Paramedic, Gary Organ

Gary Organ (1)Sunday
In March, I managed to secure funding from the local Clinical Commissioning Grouyps (CCGs), to purchase defibrillators and Community First Responder (CFR) kits. Today, I attended a village fete at which we handed over two of the defibrillators. There was a small ceremony outside the pub which will house one of the cabinets. The event was attended by colleagues from the Communications Team, EOC, and our local Community First Responder (CFR) team, one of whom is the MP for our patch of East Lancashire. The local councillors were very grateful for our help in securing the funds for the defibrillators in this remote rural area, where we struggle to achieve performance times.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent demonstrating CPR and defibrillator use and potentially recruiting eight additional CFRs, which would significantly increase our capacity in the area.

Being a guest at a fete must have made me feel like the Queen but only because I forgot to bring out any money, so I now owe Donna from EOC a fiver, for brews and cake!

Today, as in the last couple of months I spend the day on a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) responding to calls. As this week is Falls Week, the local Falls Team has organised an event at Nelson Bus Station. I’d just arrived and said “hello” to the local Community Fire Safety Officer, when the pager went off. The job turned out to be a local frequent caller, who did not want to attend hospital and became quite abusive. I duly made the appropriate safety netting referrals to the GP and Carlisle.  I also contacted our frequent caller lead and an Advanced Paramedic (who had also dealt with this patient recently) to discuss management options for this patient in the future. I never made it back to the falls event, but bounced from job to job for the rest of the day.

I’m available to respond today and what a contrast to my experience yesterday. I was privileged to be able to help a gentleman who had parachuted into Arnhem at the age of 18 as part of Operation Market Garden in 1943. This man had unquestioningly risked his young life to secure our futures and had ended up in a Siberian labour camp for his trouble, before eventually settling in the UK.  The contrast with the patient from yesterday made me think of a recent event about compassionate care I had attended. Dr Kate Granger, founder of the #hellomynameis campaign spoke about her experiences in health care as cancer patient, emphasising the importance of introducing yourself and making a personal connection with your patients. I sometimes struggle to always remember that alcoholism is a disease and that provocative behaviour is a symptom of that disease. I suppose for us, that is the challenge - how to deliver care with equal compassion to patients we naturally feel warmth and respect for and to those whose challenging presentations make that more difficult.

Today I attended a local Falls Prevention Event, whilst still being available to respond, if required. The event was attended by people with whom I made connections recently within the local Falls Prevention Team who run a service called Steady On, which provides advice and equipment for people at risk of falling.

I’m on hand to check people’s ferrules for wear (ferrules are the rubber tips on walking sticks), to hand out Choose Well leaflets and generally engage with the general public about ambulance matters. The event was attended by a not for profit organisation that assists people with memory problems to access free services such as befriending and visiting services, mobility aids and help with applying for funds for home adaptations. They have agreed to accept referrals from me and I have advised crews that they can let me know of any people they think might benefit from their services.

The Community Fire Safety Officer attended and was keen to know if any crews spot fire risks or a lack of smoke alarms, as we get to see our patient’s living conditions. Clearly, this is subject to the patient giving their consent to share information about them and does not obviate the need to do a formal safeguarding referral if the crew has serious concerns.

Rest days this week.

I attended another fete today - this is turning out to be a good job in the summer months! More tea and cake are readily available and I remembered to bring money this time. Most importantly, the fete supported potential CFR recruitment in another isolated area of my patch. I managed to get half a dozen expressions of interest, including one from a PCSO who wants to move over to the ambulance service.  Added to this more CPR demos, active engagement with the public and application of plasters for bouncy castle inflicted grazed knees - another really worthwhile event.