*It’s too far to fly if you ask me.
Regular readers of Random Reality or Nee Naw will probably be familiar with the different types of ‘jobs‘ we cover in the ambulance service. For other readers let me just summarise. In my county at least, we have emergency calls in three different categories ‘A’ being life threatening (get there in 8 mins or else!), ‘B’ emergency non-life threatening and ‘C’ (neither of the above; falls, cut fingers, blisters, etc..). We also have a whole host of other calls we do; doctors urgents, inter-hospital transfers, post treats, out-of-hours, ECP referrals and (the now extremely rare) private transfers. All of these non-emergency calls are considered ‘planned work‘. The idea being that EOC (emergency operations centre – a.k.a Control) can plan these ‘jobs‘ around the emergency work. Consequently, if a crew is requested to carry out an ‘urgent‘ they have the option to ‘refuse‘ if, in their opinion, the ‘job‘ would take them well past their finishing time. They can of course accept and get some overtime. The cynical ones in the service would contend that EOC get around this ‘right of refusal‘ by upgrading the job to an emergency on the grounds that its “running out of time“. Anecdotally it’s amazing how often an ‘urgent‘ case which was declined 45 minutes before finishing, suddenly goes “out of time” and becomes a ‘red‘ with 10 minutes left of the shift. – and no ‘right of refusal‘. Of course those in EOC will, I’m sure, contend that this never happens.
One night around 3 a.m.(ish) we were travelling back to base from a distant hospital when, as we approached our local area, EOC called up on the radio.
“Sorry, but I’ve got a long distance transfer for you.”
Our hearts sank. We were thinking ‘here we go, another transfer up to London‘ (usually to Barts, The London Chest or the Brompton).
“Go head with details” says I in a resigned tone.
“Transfer from A&E [local hospital] to the [psychiatric centre, local hospital]”
This is a distance of about 500 yards as the crow files or about 10 minutes walk through the grounds. Ah! So EOC are in good spirits tonight.
“Sorry Control, we’re due off at 7 don’t think we’ll have time to do that one.”
A pregnant silence followed.
“Carry on with the job please” hissed a stern voice.
Obviously a serious “Sense of Humour Failure” there then!!
*Drawing by Doug Haug