North East UK news BBC Ambulance documentary shows 'how stressful our jobs can be' PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - NEAS dispatch officer Tom McDonald features prominently in the returning BBC documentary Ambulance
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Tom McDonald's day job is making life or death decisions - he's dispatch officer at the North East Ambulance Service 's operations centre in Newcastle. He features in the returning BBC documentary Ambulance, in a heartbreaking opening episode which sees a family of Iraqi refugees rushed to hospital - days after dad has arrived in the UK, having previously been held captive by terrorists. Tom is in charge of sending paramedics and ambulance crews to emergencies as soon as he can. Speaking months on from filming, he told ChronicleLive how distressing that case had been - on an incredibly busy day which saw NEAS answering emergency calls every 17 seconds. The show also features the ambulance service's response to cases of domestic violence and a terrifying hit-and-run outside of a Tyneside school. Read more: Newcastle teenager hailed a hero after helping elderly man who had fallen in street Tom, 57, explained how the incredibly stressful day depicted was par for the course. "The main thing I remember is the case of the refugee family, which was just so, so disturbing," he said. "I was thinking how difficult and upsetting that was. It's every day like that. You get so many calls through to us and it's just trying to process what you are hearing. "I'm a dispatch officer. My day to day job is to find the nearest emergency resource to a incident and get them to a patient as fast as I can. You wouldn't believe how stressful that can be. You have all these patients waiting - and I basically just have to find someone to get to them. It's an incredibly stressful job." The Iraqi family's situation was a complex one. The father, newly-arrived in the UK by boat, was suffering from PTSD, while his heavily pregnant wife was also in distress. However, after Tom sent paramedics Sophie Spraggon and Jack McKie to attend, they were taken to A&E - where each parent was checked over and given the support needed.
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. Last month execs at NEAS itself warned that demand on its resources and ambulances being delayed outside of hospitals waiting to handover patients to A&E staff was seeing patients "coming to harm". The BBC documentary doesn't shy away from showing the pressures the service is under, and Tom added: "I've been working here for 21 years - things have changed massively in that time. It's so different how we operate, but also the waiting times and the demand. 21 years ago it was nowhere near as busy. Now so much of the job is waiting for crews to leave the hospitals." Tom, from Low Fell, spent two years as a miner in a previous career, and said filming had been difficult, but added it was a good opportunity to show how people working in the ambulance service in our region worked incredibly hard to support patients. He added that this was especially important given the health inequalities we experience. He added: "Filming was about three or four months ago - I said to them 'come on, no way do I want to do this!' I don't know how I ended up doing it really. To be frank it was pretty full on. They were filming all day, all night. It was quite stressful. "They even filmed me walking to work!" Ahead of the show's airing, NEAS chief exec Helen Ray added: "The programme really shows how amazing our teams are in their care and treatment of patients. It highlights the dedication and commitment from every member of team NEAS as they strive to give the best quality care to every patient they meet. I’m incredibly proud of them all and would like to thank them for representing our service so well. “Each episode shines a light on the wide range of patient needs faced by our service – whether that be emergency response for life threatening illness, support for mental health or social care needs, or alcohol and drug use. It shows clearly the pressure faced by our service and the wider health network around us, and the dedication of our brilliant staff to do their best." Watch Ambulance on Thursday on BBC1 at 9pm or on BBC iPlayer. READ NEXT: 'Investment in coaches, facilities and players' will be key to help North East women's football grow after England's success Newcastle GP hits out at health service pay and warns brain drain could see 'two-tier NHS' Ambulance service bosses warn patients 'coming to harm' over increasing hospital delays Astonishing Lego model will help Freeman Hospital children's cancer patients ahead of radiotherapy treatment 'A banana a day could half cancer risk' - Newcastle-led study shows remarkable impact of starchy foods
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