Sunday, 22 November 2009

Locked out

Day shift: One call (but technically two); All by car.

Stats: 1 Head injury; 1 Abdo pain.

I drove in this morning to lashing rain and lightning, which always looks more sinister in the very early hours I think. The weather changed late afternoon yesterday and it had been raining ever since. Less than half the people I would normally expect to see crowding the streets in Central London for the way-too-early pre-Christmas spendathon were out as a result. This meant I had a quiet start to the day.

The first call came in the afternoon and we were off to an ice rink to attend to a 3 year-old girl who’d fallen – not on the ice but on the walkway leading to the rink. She had a nasty bump and cut to her forehead but she was otherwise alive and well. Mum wasn’t too fazed but the first aiders on scene felt she needed an ambulance and called us. Then they completely ignored the fact that we’d need access to the area and we found ourselves outside locked gates with nobody to meet us and no idea where we were to go. This is fairly typical of large scale events when the staff is not properly co-ordinated.

We wasted ten minutes communicating back and forth with Control until somebody finally came to help and then I had to drive around for another quarter of a mile to get in. An inner security barrier was down when we got as far as throwing distance of the fair’s main entrance, so we waited for that to be raised but then I was told to park up and walk.

The SP went on ahead of me and I parked the car. Then I walked along a pedestrian avenue with funfair stands and attractions either side, including a giant singing moose-head that was chucking out-of-tune Christmas songs into the air at high volume while a woman stood directly underneath it attempting to use her mobile phone. The moose was the cleverer of the two I think.

Inside the rink, the SP was happily dealing with a very stable, quiet little girl with a bumped head. The girl’s mother was there and I decided they could go in the car rather than an ambulance. But a member of staff asked me to look at an employee who had abdo pain; the 23 year-old had left-sided pain which had started earlier in the morning although, typically, she hadn’t bothered to take anything for it, so now she was doubled up. I asked for another car to be sent for this patient because I had no room for the SP, the child, her mother, this abdo pain lady and her husband, so a colleague arrived a short time later to convey patient number two.

I managed to get the car all the way into the park and just outside the rink but only after I made it clear that I wasn’t happy with their access arrangements for the emergency services. These were minor first aid problems but if they had a real emergency they’d need to sort out their comms and gates.

Be safe.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park I assume?
I was one of the First Aid staff for last years event and we had the exact same issues with security and the oragnisers. The comms and access were terrible, not to metion the whole event was incradibly unsafe.
I refused to have anything to do with it this year.