To mark International Paramedics Day (Saturday 8th July), we’re celebrating the role of our highly-skilled HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) Paramedics, who work alongside specially-trained doctors to deliver life-saving care across the region.
International Paramedics Day, which has been created by the College of Paramedics in the UK, aims to improve understanding of the range of work done by paramedics, including those working in HEMS.
Our expert HEMS paramedics and doctors respond to an average of nine life-threatening emergencies each day, 24/7, 365 days a year. They provide life-saving care at the scene of an incident when every second counts. Last year they were dispatched to over 3,200 incidents, including road traffic collisions (30%), accidental injuries (22%) and medical emergencies (27%).
So, what’s it like to spend your day saving lives working for an Air Ambulance charity like ours?
Ben Paul, a Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) with South East Coast Ambulance Service, joined us on secondment last August:
“I’ve worked for the Ambulance Service for the last 12 years across several trusts and have undertaken a number of different roles before becoming a CCP. The challenge of HEMS work has always appealed and when the opportunity arose to be seconded to KSS, it seemed like a natural progression from my CCP role.
“Even in the 12 years that I’ve been with the Ambulance Service, the level of treatment and care and resultant expectations of the profession have increased dramatically. It’s really exciting to see the boundaries of the profession constantly pushed with the clinical environment and being outside of a hospital becoming less and less of a barrier to the level of care people receive.
“Being part of a team that can provide such advanced clinical care is definitely a highlight of the role and being surrounded by some of the best clinicians in their respective specialties means I’m constantly learning.
“It’s a privilege to be able to meet former patients and their families. I’ve seen first-hand how much comfort relatives take knowing their loved ones have been cared for by the HEMS team but also the pride people in our communities take in supporting KSS.”
HEMS Paramedic Emma Parkhe has been a paramedic for almost a decade:
“I love going to work not knowing what the shift will look like or where we will go. I became a paramedic because I wanted help patients, and their families, on what essentially is the worst day of their lives.
“As a paramedic, I was always happy to see the HEMS team turn up at an incident. The patients requiring HEMS were very unwell, requiring critical interventions from a well-drilled and skilled team. Having worked with them for years, I was always interested in joining the HEMS team at KSS to develop as a paramedic and person.
“The best thing about working as HEMS paramedic is working together as one team across the charity in providing critical care for our patients.”
Jo Griggs has been part of Team KSS for the last eight years as a HEMS paramedic. She also works as part of our Research Team which examines ideas and ways of working that might benefit our patients.
Jo initially became a paramedic because she wanted to work outdoors in a role that involved helping people was drawn to work for us by our reputation for excellence.
“I was attracted to the role of a HEMS Paramedic as I liked the idea of working in a small multi-professional team. I was keen to get involved in research and help generate ideas and ways of working that might benefit patients nationally and internationally.
“During a shift on the helicopter, we can see a wide range of patients including people involved in road traffic collisions, medical emergencies such as cardiac arrests and accidental injuries.
“Being a paramedic is an incredibly rewarding career. To be effective, you need to be curious about how you can help others, work well in time pressured situations and able to show empathy for patients in challenging circumstances.”