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AMA

I am a paramedic on strike today. AMA

238 replies

ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 16:29

Hi from the freezing cold picket line. Any questions related to the strike, the current state of the NHS or general paramedicing feel free to ask.

Disclaimer: obviously answers are based on my own opinions and experiences. They may not be the same for other paramedics/EMTs or in other trusts.

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HallieHufflepuff · 23/01/2023 19:20

@ParamedicOnStrike so you would also want to be cared for if you needed it

I'm only saying, I wish I earned £29000

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Shoogly · 23/01/2023 19:23

All strength to you and all the strikers. It's about time our society valued all social care workers and teachers. Thank you for doing such an important job, most people couldn't.

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ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 19:26

pompei8309 · 23/01/2023 19:07

How is that 5% going to help with the “ overworked” feeling? are you ok to be overworked but with a bit more money in your pocket? staff retention is not more important than training new people. I’m sorry but no sympathy from me .
Staff that leaves NHS only goes to agencies and they’re still sent to NHS to work but with a higher hourly rate so NHS is not really losing any numbers , is just a badly run business .

If we can retain more staff, we can have more ambulances on the road and the pressure can be taken off of us. Currently there are shifts that aren't filled- ambances sat in a garage not going anywhere. Because of the pressure, all "non essential" duties are cancelled. Training courses, welfare meetings with managers, lots of things that we can't do because we have to be on the road. We also have to listen to calls going unanswered because there aren't enough ambulances to go round.

Staff retention is absolutely more important than recruitment- when you recruit people, you also have to train them and that takes time- meanwhile we are still understaffed.

It's absolutely not true that paramedics leave to join agencies who then supply the NHS. I don't know where you got that from. There are lots of jobs that paramedics can leave front line work to do- and (in my trust at least) we don't use agency staff.

I'm sorry to hear you have no sympathy for me and my colleagues. You can rest assured though that, if you ever need us, we will have plenty of sympathy and help for you.

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ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 19:26

NeverDropYourMooncup · 23/01/2023 18:57

In my experience

The Police officer will walk around and shout a lot to maintain order. So you might see their feet and hear them.

The Firefighter will stand around as soon as they're sure nothing's going to go bang. So you'll possibly see their boots in the distance.

  • but the Paramedic lays down on the cold ground as you're underneath the vehicle, holding your hand, keeping you calm, looking in your eyes and telling you they're going to look after you.


All have huge value, but it's the Paramedics who are the friendly faces when you're at your most vulnerable.


Thank you - I support you all completely. You don't deserve to earn a basic less than mine when all I do is witter on about processes and statutory guidance.

Sounds like you've had a pretty horrific accident! I hope you're doing OK!

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gravyriceandchips · 23/01/2023 19:27

Just sending solidarity op

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Elsanore · 23/01/2023 19:27

No questions just solidarity

Thank you for striking for all our health and well-being 💙

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ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 19:31

HallieHufflepuff · 23/01/2023 19:20

@ParamedicOnStrike so you would also want to be cared for if you needed it

I'm only saying, I wish I earned £29000

Yes and I would be. I've answered much more comprehensively upthread about how we are handling call outs during the strike, but we are still providing life and limb cover and anyone who genuinely needs an emergency Ambulance is getting one.

I'm sorry that you wish you earned more, however us not getting a pay rise isn't going to improve that for you. We work very hard and it can be a very difficult job and we deserve to be paid in line with our skills, as well as in line with inflation.

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ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 19:33

Just to say, I'm really sorry if I've missed any questions, I didn't expect so many. I will do my absolute best though.

I was initially replying to all the messages of support, but there are so many I'm completely overwhelmed! Thank you all so so much for your kind words. I've been reading them out to my colleagues on the picket line and you're keeping us going ❤️

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whatyoulookingfor · 23/01/2023 19:38

@dredreamingbohemian as OP says, someone will ring up for a cough. The call handler will saying are you having difficulty breathing? Caller then says "well it's difficult to breathe when I'm coughing", this instigates a respiratory distress pathway. Or the call handler asks do you have any chest pain? And the caller answers "it hurts my chest when I cough" it instigates a chest pain pathway, both of which are C2 calls and get a response above an 80 year old who's been on the floor all night.

As soon as people say some of the magic phrases even if they say its been going on for 6 weeks, then a pathway begins and you can't go off it without a clinician calling them back to go through in more detail. We are often dispatched and with the patient before this call back can take place (as there aren't enough clinicians) and therefore there is no chance to ask them if something has changed in 6 weeks or this is how they have been for weeks and nothing has changed. Therefore poor old Doris gets to spend hours more on the floor whilst we deal with getting a GP appointment for the cough.

Also if someone goes down these pathways due to the answers they give, they will be told to wait for an ambulance as that is the protocol as it would be dangerous for someone having difficulty breathing or chest pain to drive, in case it is acute and new.

Does that explain it?

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dreamingbohemian · 23/01/2023 19:47

Oh wow @whatyoulookingfor thank you!! Yes that explains it very well. I really appreciate you taking the time.

That makes it sound like the algorithm/pathway approach is not that great though. Surely common sense says that an elderly person who's been on the floor all night should be seen before the healthy young person with a cough?

Is there no way for the human call handler to override the algorithm?

Sorry if this seems tangential, it's just that it doesn't sound like more education of the public will help, that person in your example is just answering honestly and it's not their fault that the system is making them sound worse than it is.

I imagine the paramedics would feel a lot better in their jobs if they knew they were always going to the people who need them the most.

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spiderlight · 23/01/2023 19:53

I just wanted to add another voice of support. You guys saved my dad's life on several occasions and you all deserve to be paid, and treated, so much more than you are at the moment.

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ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 19:55

dreamingbohemian · 23/01/2023 19:47

Oh wow @whatyoulookingfor thank you!! Yes that explains it very well. I really appreciate you taking the time.

That makes it sound like the algorithm/pathway approach is not that great though. Surely common sense says that an elderly person who's been on the floor all night should be seen before the healthy young person with a cough?

Is there no way for the human call handler to override the algorithm?

Sorry if this seems tangential, it's just that it doesn't sound like more education of the public will help, that person in your example is just answering honestly and it's not their fault that the system is making them sound worse than it is.

I imagine the paramedics would feel a lot better in their jobs if they knew they were always going to the people who need them the most.

It's been designed and redesigned and redesigned again to be as risk averse as possible. @whatyoulookingfor will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly sure the only way a call handler can over-ride the system is to pass the call on to a clinician, which is how the 111 system works. And- this will shock you- there aren't enough clinicians in the control room to look at all the calls.

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whatyoulookingfor · 23/01/2023 19:56

dreamingbohemian · 23/01/2023 19:47

Oh wow @whatyoulookingfor thank you!! Yes that explains it very well. I really appreciate you taking the time.

That makes it sound like the algorithm/pathway approach is not that great though. Surely common sense says that an elderly person who's been on the floor all night should be seen before the healthy young person with a cough?

Is there no way for the human call handler to override the algorithm?

Sorry if this seems tangential, it's just that it doesn't sound like more education of the public will help, that person in your example is just answering honestly and it's not their fault that the system is making them sound worse than it is.

I imagine the paramedics would feel a lot better in their jobs if they knew they were always going to the people who need them the most.

I think it's a bit of both to be honest, if people used common sense they'd realise that a 6 week old cough with no recent change isn't an emergency and they shouldn't call for an emergency service, plus the pathway is risk averse so we try (badly) to cover all bases.

Also we value quantity of life over quality and hence we end up trying to recusitate 89 year old in cardiac arrest because no one signed a DNACPR when really we probably shouldn't.

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whatyoulookingfor · 23/01/2023 19:58

Be we, I mean society as a whole

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Yiayoula · 23/01/2023 20:01

No questions, just heartfelt thanks from DH and myself. ❤️ xxx

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HallieHufflepuff · 23/01/2023 20:03

@ParamedicOnStrike I also work really hard and am highly skilled. I studied for 6 years.
Everyone is suffering from the same crisis. I'll be going on MAT leave soon so will have barely any money. £29,000 + £10k in benefits is a good wage and much more money than some hard working people can hope to earn

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Itgoesalittlesomethinglikethis · 23/01/2023 20:06

Another well wish here, DD sometimes experiences anaphylaxis (we do what we can to avoid these situations) and the care she has received from paramedics has always been amazing. A deep felt thank you from us as well. We appreciate you x

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ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 20:07

HallieHufflepuff · 23/01/2023 20:03

@ParamedicOnStrike I also work really hard and am highly skilled. I studied for 6 years.
Everyone is suffering from the same crisis. I'll be going on MAT leave soon so will have barely any money. £29,000 + £10k in benefits is a good wage and much more money than some hard working people can hope to earn

I apologise if you think I was saying that you're not skilled or hardworking. I'm certainly not. Everyone should be paid what they are worth.

I am also not disputing that its a good wage. Its just not what we should be getting and it's not increasing in line with inflation. And it isn't enough for me to live on.

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ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 20:08

Itgoesalittlesomethinglikethis · 23/01/2023 20:06

Another well wish here, DD sometimes experiences anaphylaxis (we do what we can to avoid these situations) and the care she has received from paramedics has always been amazing. A deep felt thank you from us as well. We appreciate you x

Eeek how scary for you!!! I hope it improves as she ages

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SilverGlitterBaubles · 23/01/2023 20:11

Do you agree with Sajid Javids idea of charging for GP and A&E visits?

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ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 20:17

SilverGlitterBaubles · 23/01/2023 20:11

Do you agree with Sajid Javids idea of charging for GP and A&E visits?

I'm on the fence.

While I sometimes think that people should be charged for non-emergency use of emergency services, I wouldn't want people to avoid accessing emergency care that they need out of fear of incurring costs. I wouldn't want to end up on a slippery slope to a system like the US where people die because they can't afford insulin.

It would have to be means tested for a start. And all life or limb saving treatment should always be free- so where would you draw the line at starting to charge.

Also, in my experience many- if not most- people who call unnecessary ambulances aren't deliberately abusing the service. It's way more complex than that.

Oh. Turns out I'm not on the fence at all. No, I don't agree!

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vvork · 23/01/2023 20:17

@HallieHufflepuff A rising tide lifts all boats. I urge you to research unions, organise in your workplace and fight for what you deserve.







Solidarity and thanks to you lot, OP, from one of the other lot in green (occupational therapist )

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ChungusBoi · 23/01/2023 20:20

100% support for everyone’s hard work - you all deserve better pay and working conditions.

How can we show solidarity with you practically? Should I bring some tins of biscuits to the picket line to keep morale up? Let us know what is and isn’t helpful. Thanks 😊

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ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 20:23

ChungusBoi · 23/01/2023 20:20

100% support for everyone’s hard work - you all deserve better pay and working conditions.

How can we show solidarity with you practically? Should I bring some tins of biscuits to the picket line to keep morale up? Let us know what is and isn’t helpful. Thanks 😊

Food. Always food. The ambulance service runs on biscuits 🤣

Seriously though, just heading to your local ambulance station picket line and saying hi is more than enough. The overwhelming public support means everything to us.

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ChungusBoi · 23/01/2023 20:30

Thank you 😁, I will do that and encourage other people I know to do the same.

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