Ollie is a Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care and Clinical Lead for Cardiac Arrest at the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT).
There are two sides to my role. One is responding to critically ill and injured patients, caring for them on scene and getting them to hospital. The second is funded by the South Western Ambulance Charity through a grant received from NHS Charities Together and involves managing our cardiac arrest work package. This role is extremely varied and includes ensuring that the advice and guidance we give to our staff is up-to-date and as relevant as possible, so that the care we are giving to patients every day is the best it can be.
In addition, my NHS Charities Together funded role also involves helping to encourage the public to become more confident to act in emergencies such as cardiac arrest. This is important because when you have a cardiac arrest, every second counts, and it’s crucial for bystanders to know what to do in those crucial few seconds following a collapse. We want bystanders to be confident at delivering essential care such as CPR and using a public access defibrillator before the ambulance arrives.
The South Western Ambulance Charity has used funds from NHS Charities Together to support SWASFT’s campaign called ‘Saving Lives Together’ to help ensure that everyone experiencing a medical emergency in the South West gets the best possible care.
We’ve looked at our data and can see that three in four patients have a cardiac arrest at home. This suggests that you’re more likely to need to help a friend or family member than a stranger. With this information, we have adapted our message to encourage people to think and plan ahead so they know what to do if an emergency was to happen at home.
Saving Lives Together is encouraging everyone to take 3 simple steps to be prepared should the unthinkable happen at home: this includes knowing how to describe your location, learning how to perform CPR and discovering the location of your nearest public access defibrillator. Our Saving Lives Together website signposts people to online resources where they can learn CPR and discover their nearest defibrillator – just search online for ‘SWAST Saving Lives Together’.
I love my job as, like many roles in the ambulance service, no two days are the same. As a paramedic working on an ambulance, I never knew what my day would involve – it could be delivering a baby or attending to someone who was passing away. There are not many other jobs that give you that complete variety daily. Even when it gets really busy and pressurised people will still come back the next day because we are all so passionate about what we do.