Month: September 2013

Minimum skill levels on emergency ambulances

If you phone for emergency medical assistance, you would think and hope that there is some sort of minimum set who will actually respond to your call for help.

Call in Germany, and you will be guaranteed that the arriving ambulance is staffed with at least one Rettungsassistent (see paragraph 25 of the Durchführungsverordnung HRDG vom 3. Januar 2011, this is for the state of Hesse).

Call in England, and…well…you might get a Paramedic, or a Technician, or both, or an Emergency Care Support Worker, all three, a mix…it’s up to the individual service. All I could find was the Health and Social Act (Regulation 22), which merely states:

In order to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of service users, the registered person must take appropriate steps to ensure that, at all times, there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced persons employed for the purposes of carrying on the regulated activity.

 

To me, that reads a little like “if you can get by, then you’ll be alright”.

It’s high time for some research to be done in to this (I’ve just started), to ensure that skill levels when staffing frontline ambulances are evidence based, that they are cost effective, that they can deliver the care when and where they are needed. In other words: When a patients needs help, they get the help they need.

Overtime

Work Life Balance. Source

#Paramedics: How much overtime/additional shifts do you do monthly, and why? For the money, for the fun, nothing better to do? #flobachpoll

 

The other day I was having a chat with a colleague about overtime shifts. We agreed that overtime is an easy way to earn some money on the side when saving up for something, and it’s something we generally enjoy doing. They added that because their partner works Monday to Friday 9-5, boredom can kick in easily, so rather than stay at home one may as well do an additional shift.
The discussion moved on to burnout, and how overtime may contribute to this. I thought I’d put this out to the greater twitter community via the above tweet, and got some interesting answers back. The general gist was that people do overtime for all three reasons, with an (somewhat unsurprising) emphasis on being underpaid and overworked in this profession.
Here are some of the highlights:

 

Work/life balance has been reported to be an important, if not the top priority amongst Gen Y employees – but we’d all like a little more money than we currently have. Is our race to own more burning us out – are we living over our means? Are paramedics underpaid, or is everybody else overpaid? Would the profession benefit from increased pay and/or other measures to reinstate a better work/life balance?

As always, I’d welcome your thoughts in the comments or on twitter.