ISSUE 01 Winter 2017
“I wouldn’t be here without you” A FAMILY STORY
These celebs have something in common. Find out what inside...
Pride of Britain
Welcome We hope you like our brand new magazine as much as we do. We’ve created it to give people a voice and so we can share your stories through our work. We’ve enjoyed putting this edition together and listening to you share your experiences with us.
We’d like to thank everybody who helped us search for our new name. The inspiration for it has come from our Make the Right Call campaign which you can read more about in this issue. You don’t need us to tell you winter is here again; we can’t escape it. This time of year people like to curl up on the sofa, hibernate and long for sunnier climes. For some people winter is dreaded - find out why further on.
Advanced Paramedic, Paddy Ennis, was first on scene at the tragic Manchester Arena terrorist attack back in May 2017. He bravely did all he could to help those who were injured and we are delighted that Paddy was able to represent the 300 of our people, who worked tirelessly that night, at the Pride of Britain Awards in London. In this issue, we take a look at some uplifting ideas to get you through the dark and gloomy nights and to help you relax and unwind. We also explore how dancing, yes dancing, can clear your mind and keep you healthy. We often see an increase in road traffic collisions at this time of year. The ice, the snow and the rain can create a concoction of conditions that make driving difficult, so we all must take extra care. We spoke with some very amazing people who have shared their very real, very harrowing, yet very different stories of how road traffic incidents have changed their lives forever. It’s a little reminder to keep an eye on your loved ones, particularly over winter. Talk to them and give them a hug as life is precious. NWAS EDITORIAL TEAM
Our shared values Our values drive our whole organisation, ensuring we lead by example and create the right culture and conditions for patients to receive safe care every time. We have weaved them through our magazine for you to see. 2
Along with a team of Manchester medics, Paddy accepted a special recognition award for the hard work and dedication of all the medical staff involved in treating the hundreds of victims. We saw you on TV, Paddy, and we’re extremely proud of you and your colleagues - we’ll remember that moment forever.
A moment of reflection
We were taken aback by the following message that landed on our desk recently from a young man who felt a little bit red in the face from an epic outing he had. “I’d just like to say thank you for assisting me on Saturday night in Chester and apologise for acting like a complete drunken idiot.
“I can’t really remember much about the night but my vague memories of you were of being kind and patient whilst I was injured and acting like a tool. My mates have confirmed that you were brilliant and that I was indeed acting like a tool. “I’m not usually such a pain but unfortunately my decision to drink all day on a completely empty stomach turned out to be a bad one. My face is now on the mend and I’m lucky to have all my teeth and nose intact, however my self-respect is definitely broken with a long recovery time expected. “Anyway, thanks to you and all the paramedics, you do an amazing job and you don’t need the drain on resources by drunk time wasters like me. Keep up the brilliant work and I hope we don’t meet again (in the nicest possible way).” Thank you for your letter of apology.
Real life story
I thought he was dead We all get carried away with the hustle and bustle that daily life can bring. The minutes, hours and weeks tick away without us barely blinking an eye. But when something shocking happens, something beyond your control, that can bring a haze of sheer blind panic to you and those around you... What happens to those minutes then? For 32,000 people each year in the UK, they become very precious, a matter of life or death even.
A wife and husband’s story
Sitting at home in Bolton, Marie and Liam are grateful. 17 months ago Liam suffered a cardiac arrest in bed next to his darling wife and she saved his life.
The then 28 year old daddy was fit and healthy and had enjoyed a leisurely weekend with his wife and their friend. In the early hours, Marie heard her husband making strange noises. She thought he was having a bad dream and tried to wake him. He wouldn’t rouse. Liam moved across the bed with his eyes open, he was a terrible colour and was shaking. Marie knew something was seriously wrong. Marie recalls what was probably the worst time of her life: “I just remember running to our friend in a panic and we both ran upstairs. We were shouting at him and shaking him but he wasn’t there. We rang 999 but I couldn’t think straight. The woman on the end of the phone was telling me to get him on the floor and I was trying to do it with one hand, desperately clinging onto the phone with the other knowing I needed to speak to this important person.
I think of the woman at the other end of the phone and I get shivers, I can’t thank her enough.
“She was so calm and gave me advice and help, all the things you would think to do if you weren’t in a blind panic.” Little did Marie know that her job working with children with disabilities in which she had first aid training, including how to do CPR, would be put into practice on her husband. “I was told to do CPR and focus on 600 repetitions. I just remember thinking I couldn’t do it and whilst we only waited six minutes for the ambulance crew, it felt like a life time.”
It took our clinicians nine shocks using the defibrillator, Marie recalls: “I could hear them using the defibrillator and I thought ‘there is no point’ because I was so convinced he was dead.” They revived him. Liam was taken to hospital where he remained in an induced coma for 36 hours. He returned home after eight days. We have no doubt that Marie saved her husband’s life that morning. Although Liam’s brain was starved of oxygen for a considerable amount of time and has left him with an hypoxic bran injury, the couple say they literally thank their lucky stars that they can be together now.
Liam’s story “It always feels like I am telling somebody else’s story when I talk about what happened. I can’t remember anything from the evening, I woke up in hospital and said ‘that was a lovely sleep’ to Marie. “I just kept asking Marie what I looked like when I was dead as I couldn’t quite believe it. I was very aware it happened as eight days later I was home, yet things weren’t so normal for me as I kept forgetting everything and struggled to process things. I asked the same questions over and over and I felt so bad as I felt so ‘ordinary’ about what happened to the extent that I accessed counselling to help me through it. “There are no words to describe how I feel about my wife and the actions she took that night, simple, basic actions that are relatively easy to learn. If she had not had her training, would I be here now? I am not so sure.” Marie and Liam have used their experience to fundraise for a charity called Cardiac Risk in the Young as they were so helpful to the family. They have raised £2.5k so far.
How is the North West doing? Cardiac arrest patients in numbers (1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017)
• CPR stands for cardio pulmonary resuscitation and is commonly referred to as Basic Life Support (BLS). Even though it is termed basic it is the first fundamental step to saving somebody’s life and without early BLS/CPR people will not survive and/or organs will become irreversibly damaged.
It’s life or death situations that drive Community Resuscitation Manager, David McNally, to do his job.
• A cardiac arrest means the heart has stopped pumping blood around the body. The person will be unconscious with no signs of normal breathing.
“Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone. Liam was a 28 year old man who was going about his own life, fit and healthy and everything to look forward to. What happened to him shows how a cardiac arrest can strike at any time, any age and in any place, it does not discriminate due to poor health and exercise.
• In the first few minutes of some cardiac arrests, patients can make irregular noisy gasping breaths. This must not be confused with normal breathing and CPR should be started.
“What Marie was faced with that night is everyone’s worst nightmare - finding a loved one in a life threatening condition. Her quick actions, and their friend’s, ultimately saved Liam’s life. By putting into practice skills she has learned for her job and following our call taker’s advice it ultimately led to Liam’s survival.
• AED stands for automated external defibrillator, these are devices that are easily accessible in communities and public areas, and can be used to restart somebody’s heart in a cardiac arrest. They are also referred to as defibs or shock boxes. Look out for the sign below...
“These skills are simple and easy to learn and everybody should have these embedded into their lives at some point. Hopefully the majority of the public will never need to use them, but if they are faced with a life or death emergency, they will have the confidence to act.” Are you cardiac Smart? Visit: cardiacsmart.nwas.nhs.uk
• Bystander CPR is vitally important to help save someone’s life.
CARDIAC ARRESTS IN THE NORTH WEST
Of this number:
227 9.21% 2466 65.1% SURVIVED AND LEFT HOSPITAL
HAD BYSTANDER CPR
784 31.8% Out of the total number of cardiac arrests:
DEFIBS WERE AVAILABLE
DIDN’T HAVE BYSTANDER CPR
DEFIBS WERE USED
Out of the number of people who had a defibrillator used on them:
SURVIVED AND LEFT HOSPITAL
WHICH IS EQUAL TO:
* Please note: some records are unknown or are when our people have commenced CPR or have witnessed the arrest. * Data source: 2016/17 NWAS cardiac arrest database
Real life story
My stomach and me
From her home, Deb Gallagher our Patient Experience Officer, tells us about her experience and being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. “My fourth wedding anniversary meal that I had arranged with my husband didn’t quite go as expected. I spent it in hospital alone unable to eat as I was too poorly. Three months earlier I had been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. When I first received my diagnosis, I was relieved that I could now be treated with medicine that would help my condition. Whilst I still get embarrassed talking about the symptoms, they include abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, numerous toilets visits, urgency (not being able to hold it when you need to go) fatigue and generally feeling unwell. “After the diagnosis, I tried to carry on as normal. I worked full time, tried to keep my family life going which isn’t always easy with a toddler and if I’m honest I pretended that nothing was wrong even though I was spending nearly all my time in a bathroom and feeling so sick.
It ended in a crisis situation where I couldn’t stop being sick. “After being discharged from my ten day hospital stay, I developed a blood clot in my leg. Another complication of Ulcerative Colitis that some people have, which then also travelled to my lung and I was readmitted two weeks later. I was really poorly for a little while and it took me a long time to feel myself again. I’ll always be more susceptible to blood clots when I’m poorly. Thankfully during the hospital stays my medication was changed and I began to feel better.
“One of the big parts to having a chronic condition is the way it affects your mental health. You feel guilty because you let your family and friends down because you’re too poorly to do things with them, or that maybe you’re not at your best in work because you feel unwell. Anxiety can play a big part, even when you are well you can worry about your next period of illness. Following the blood clots, I worried that every niggle was something a little more serious. Most people may put a dodgy tummy down to something they ate or a bug, I worry it’s the start of a big flare up which could then see me readmitted to hospital or becoming really poorly again.
Fighting the stigma More than 300,000 people are affected by inflammatory bowel disease in the UK. Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are the two main forms of this disease which remain largely hidden, and cause stigma, fear and isolation. The chances are you probably know somebody who suffers from either – they just might not tell you and suffer in silence. Many people with the condition go undiagnosed but it doesn’t have to be this way. Ali Jawad - Paralympic powerlifter, Sam Faiers - reality TV star, Anastacia - singer and Jeff Hordley - Actor, are all ambassadors and celebrity supporters for Chrohns and Colitis UK. All of them have inflammtory bowel disease are passionate about fighting the disease.
“At the moment there isn’t a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis. I will have the condition for life but it can be managed and treated, though in some cases people end up having surgery. “Chrohn’s and Colitis UK fund research into inflammatory bowel disease and help look for new treatments and possibly work towards a cure. My husband is supporting me by raising awareness and running a half marathon next year and this year we had a lovely meal in a restaurant to celebrate our anniversary.”
Could we be your future?
Safe hands are the best hands We love to hear about the outstanding care our people give to our patients in the North West. Can you imagine how proud we felt when one of our colleagues from the dialysis ward at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital contacted us to tell us about the amazing and safe care our ambulance care assistants, Shaun Oxby and Ian Mullin, gave to a young man in Liverpool. They described their care for this man as second to none and that they went out of their way to help a very distressed and poorly patient who was dazed, confused and unresponsive. We spoke to Shaun and Ian, from our Patient Transport Service, to pass on the amazing feedback and this is what Shaun had to say: “Ian and I started our working day together, as we usually do, picking up our vehicle and logging on. We already had patients on our ambulance when we went to one of our regular patients. When Ian knocked at the door, the young man said that he wasn’t ready to come with us and that he couldn’t find his feet.
He seemed distressed and was becoming unresponsive. “Ian noticed then that something wasn’t quite right and shared his concerns with me. We rang the ward clerk at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, as they were expecting the patient, to let them know we were concerned and then we called 999.
We didn’t want to leave the young man alone and in a bad way. We didn’t want to leave the young man alone and in a bad way so Ian agreed to take the remaining patients to their appointments, whist I stayed with our patient.” Ian continued the journey with the other patients on his own that day whilst Shaun stayed with the young man until the emergency ambulance arrived. He accompanied him to the Emergency Department to make sure he was safe as he did not want to leave the patient at all. We’re glad to report he’s now back home safely. And, yes, we too think we have the best people doing the best jobs, keeping our patients safe, which is why we wanted to share this with you!
It is a common misconception that as an ambulance service, we only recruit paramedics. This was confirmed earlier this year by a group of 16-18 year old students in Liverpool, all wanting careers in the NHS, who all echoed this notion. We recruit a lot of amazing paramedics who take up roughly 34 percent of our workforce but what about the other 66 percent?
We have around 389 position titles within our organisation and these consist of mechanics, doctors, nurses, care assistants, call handlers, pharmacists, press officers, HR and financial advisors, IT specialists, solicitors, secretaries, receptionists and many more. We provide urgent and emergency health care, clinical advice and patient transport services to thousands of patients across the
North West - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The nature of the ambulance service is ever changing. The roles we play in the community providing mobile urgent care and emergency health care are increasing and we are safely managing more patients at scene, treating them at home or referring them to a more appropriate community based service.
We are constantly recruiting to several roles at any one time across the North West; we look for the best people to join our family. This is why we believe every role is crucial; everyone plays a part in reaching our goal to be the best ambulance service in the UK. For more information visit: nwascareers.com.
North West is best In a Channel 4 documentary, South Ribble in Lancashire was voted as the best place to live in the UK if you’re in your 20s. The average house price in South Ribble is £157,000, that’s £138K cheaper than the national average. Warrington was voted the second best place to live for people in this age bracket as it’s convenient for both Manchester and Liverpool, and it’s affordable. Keswick in Cumbria was voted the friendliest town in a survey completed by comparethemarket. com. It was voted a town that is relaxed and easy-going where one could feel confident of a warm welcome. Sandbach, Holmes Chapel and Macclesfield in Cheshire were ranked in the top 20 hotspots in England and Wales in 2017 according to financial advisors.
From 19 to 72 Meet Hazel Thelwell and April Phillpott. Hazel is 72 and April is 19 and they both work in the Patient Transport Service (PTS) Contact Centre, which manages all the planned patient transport journeys we make in the North West.
Could we be your future?
We spoke to them to find out what makes one of our youngest and one of our most mature team members think they have the best job. April “Hello my name is April. I am the youngest member in our team at 19 years of age. I started as a PTS contact centre agent as a temp in August 2016.
“Both PTS roles have had their challenges but have provided me with skills and knowledge I wouldn’t have gained anywhere else. I really enjoy my job, I work with a fantastic team of people who have a great patient focus and motivation to provide an excellent service. “The opportunities are immense here and I enjoy going into work every day. I never set out to do this type of work when I was studying, but I feel I’ve made a great career choice and I look forward to a long and happy career here.”
Last year, 186 people died in the North West on our roads, that’s a five percent increase on the previous year’s figures. A group of people determined to reduce these figures have been working hard in Greater Manchester. Safe Drive Stay Alive returned for two weeks in November this year, with over 10,000 college students watching the hard hitting road safety performances.
“In a short space of time, I became permanent and I now work in the PTS control and planning team as an ambulance controller. My job involves controlling PTS vehicles around the North West and I love it. I’ve progressed so much in quite a short period of time.
Not bad for a girl who wasn’t too hot at geography.
A performance not to forget
Hazel Hello my name is Hazel. I am the oldest member of the team at 72 years young. I know what most of you might say, but in my mind I am only 52 years of age and actually age does not come into my job. I have worked for the ambulance service for a total of 17 years - I retired at 66 and returned on a part time basis in 2011. “I now work 20 hours a week as a contact centre call-taker which I really enjoy. I still get great job satisfaction as much as I did when I started in 2000. I enjoy taking calls, we get between 200 to 300 a day in the centre and I generally enjoy coming to work.
Age is no barrier. “I am definitely keeping these young’uns in check and holding my own in an extremely busy call centre, there’s no holding me back.”
The campaign is a partnership between Greater Manchester’s emergency services, Salford Royal NHS Trust, and bereaved family members which aims to reduce the number of young driver related deaths and injuries on our roads. The emotional 90 minute performances feature ambulance staff, police, fire, hospital workers, surviving victims of serious road traffic incidents and bereaved family members speaking of their own
first-hand accounts of serious road incidents and coping with the consequences and wider effects. The show uses a mixture of live speakers and film to encourage young people to face up to the realities of careless driving, the many distractions and to realise the huge responsibilities that a driving licence brings with it. The courage of the speakers, especially of those who have lost loved ones, really demonstrates why driving safely is so important. At the end of their appearances, each speaker gives a simple message – safe drive, stay alive. We managed to catch up with two very special speakers, Dean and Brooke, to ask them about their stories.
Dean and his family’s story
“When the police officer told me, I just stood there in absolute silence. “I kept thinking that I would wake up from this nightmare. It didn’t make sense to me and it didn’t belong in my life. My wife, Dee, was asleep upstairs and I knew I had to tell her. I sat at the side of our bed and didn’t want to wake her. Dee stirred and I took her by the hand and told her. There was no screaming or shouting, just a deafening silence. We sat there holding each other. “I realised that I needed to tell our daughter, Hannah, who at the time lived nine miles or so down the road. What happened next was like something from a horror movie. Hannah collapsed both physically and mentally. I went into complete trauma.
We want to wake up from our nightmare
One Friday night, Dean, pictured talking to Advanced Paramedic Duncan Mayoh, got an unexpected visit from a police officer that changed his family forever. Dean’s son, Matt, had been involved in a road traffic collision, he’d lost control of his car and it hit a tree. Matt died on impact and as Dean stood in the room us telling his harrowing story, it was impossible not to cry with him.
he popped into his car to start his journey. We don’t know where he was going, we never will, but we do have very good eye witness reports which said everything was normal, he wasn’t speeding, wasn’t on his phone and he was wearing his seatbelt. He wasn’t drunk, maybe had a pint or two.
Matt came to a left I now call this bend and lost control of feeling my ‘Rhino’ as he the car. came at me and hit me in the middle of my chest.
The car went sideways over a grass bank and t-boned into a very large oak tree. Traffic police estimated he was doing 42 mph so not a high speed.
“We drove to the hospital to identify Matt. As the proudest father in the world, I remember putting Matt in a white blanket in his cot as a baby and watching the blanket move. I looked at him there and then in the hospital, with a white sheet covering half of his face. The sheet didn’t move, it stayed still, absolutely still and it frightened me. “We spent some time after that with the NHS donation team who took what they could from his body. As a family we are proud to say we have received some wonderful messages that Matt has given other people a bit of help in life. “Matt was two days away from turning 22 on the night he had his accident. He was a chef in a pub and he loved his job. He went to the bar after an all day shift to see his friends before
“It is something, as a father I would have preferred not to have been part of the jigsaw puzzle, something we can all chose to leave out when we are driving. “It never goes away ever, any day, every day, any time of the day or night that Rhino can come and pay me a visit. I can be listening to music or up a ladder and all of a sudden I have to get to a safe place where I can sort myself out and get back to life again. “I share this message because no parent or family should have to go through what we have been through. One of the last things I did when preparing Matt for his funeral was screw the lid down on his coffin, something that haunts me at night. Nobody should have to do that.”
Brooke’s Story Left with a traumatic brain injury from a hit and run, Brooke Trotter is lucky to be alive. Ten years on and he is still dealing with the repercussions of someone else’s bad choice. The night of the accident, Brooke had been out in Manchester, he was student there and loving life. It was 2am and he was walking home down Oxford Road. What he didn’t know was that approaching him from behind was a speeding car driving at around 50mph. The car saw Brooke, braked and lost control, hitting him hard. He says: “I remember the seconds before the car hitting me but after that nothing.
All I know is that my head went through the window screen and I ended up with a cracked skull, broken nose, jaw, pallet, cheeckbone and eye socket. “I had glass all over me and three broken vertebrae in my neck and a brain trauma, quite the hangover. I was hanging onto life by a thread. Someone called 999 and I was taken to Salford Royal Hospital. “They say the first hour of suffering a serious injury is called the ‘golden hour’ as the help you get in that time is critical to your recovery. Judging by me today, I can walk, talk, run, all the things that were left in the air that day as to whether I’d be able to do them again.
“I can’t thank the emergency services and hospital staff enough for that. I was in a coma for 16 days and didn’t get discharged until five months after the incident.
My brain injury has stayed by my side to this day, my invisible disability. “After the accident, I had to go to bed five or six times a day as I was exhausted. Anything I did exhausted me. All of a sudden, you don’t feel like a young lad anymore, you know you are but your body says different.
“You find that you are just a little bit different from everybody else. My mates were still my mates but I had less and less in common with them as I couldn’t do the things they were doing so I started to distance myself from social situations. I might come across as boring. I’m not boring I just can’t join in in that type of situation like I used to. “I’ve been lucky, not necessarily the luck you would want, as a lot of people who suffer brain injuries have their lives completely ruined. Having said that it’s stopped me finishing university and getting the career I wanted. Ten years on and I still can’t go a full day without a rest in the middle of it.
The second the car hit me changed my life forever. “Had the person behind the wheel been paying attention to the road and not speeding, life could have turned out so differently for me.”
I was a victim of a hit and run.
Who needs strictly?
My mental health fuelled my dancing “When I was younger I went to dance classes most days of the week spending lots of time with my mum doing so. I loved it. When I was just 13 years old my mum was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died just a few months later. Due to circumstances at the time, I went into foster care and sadly was unable to continue with the hobby I loved so much. “Having suffered various different ‘traumas’ over the years resulting in posttraumatic stress disorder, this was just what I needed but didn’t think I’d be chosen. In April this year, at the start of a shift, I found out I was through to the competition. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions that I cried. I was going to do this for MY MUM! “I remember searching for a dance partner, I called, emailed, texted, ‘Facebooked’ and visited a number of places and people. I was passed the number for JLC Dance School in Blackpool and never looked back and that’s when I met my dance partner Damien Slater. Damien had only been dancing for six weeks but having
Six of our people joined other blue light colleagues to take on the emergency service’s version of Strictly Come Dancing in the aid of mental health. With very little or no dancing experience, the super six were paired with professional dancers and rehearsed their way to the ballroom competition Dance Your Blues Away - at Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom in September. Our Clinical Records Manager, Yvonne Cutler and Paramedic, Nadia Akula from Preston, made it to the final and wowed the audience with their special moves. The ladies came second and third, losing out to a detective from Lancashire Police, but they had an absolute ball. We took some time out to speak to the ladies about their experience and how it had a positive effect on their mental health and wellbeing.
a background in martial arts, I knew he would be disciplined. Our teacher Janet Lee-Chapman choreographed our routine and Damien and I practiced a few times a week in between working.
When I started dancing, all my problems seemed to dissapear.
“Even on the days I didn’t feel up to it, I had to force myself to go. We stood on each other’s feet, we kicked each other’s shins but most of all we laughed. I’d not felt that good both physically and mentally for a long time. “Damien and I came third but that didn’t matter. I was proud to have such a committed partner and even prouder that we were a novice couple against professionals and got to dance competitively at Blackpool Tower. Not everyone can say they’ve done that.”
Real life story
Dancing boosted my body confidence routine.
“I remember being a little girl and I loved dancing. I started ballet, tap and stage at the age of five and continued until I was 14. In my teens, my grandparents used to take me dancing and I would dance with my grandad. “As I got older, dancing didn’t really feature in my life and my career and two children became my priority. Five years ago, I went to a Zumba fitness class and that’s how I met my amazing, positive, inspirational fitness instructor and friend, Barry Kinder. “I was persuaded by my colleagues to apply for the ‘Dance Your Blues Away’ competition and it’s possibly one of the bravest things I’ve ever done. I asked Barry if he would be my professional dance partner and we chose to learn how to do the Charleston. I met with Barry on a weekly basis and he choreographed our dance to Chicago’s Hot Honey Rag. We had lots of fun learning the moves and we even managed two lifts within the
“The whole experience from start to finish was amazing, I gained confidence that I didn’t know I had, I made new friends and I realised that I was braver than I thought I was. It’s had a massive effect to my health and gave me the real endorphin boost I needed.
I wanted to lose weight and I’ve now lost three stone since March which has given me a massive confidence boost.
“I think everybody should dance for their health.”
Real life story
Find your own way to move Janet Lee Chapman is director of JLC Dance and Head Judge for DYBA dance competition. As she talks to us from her dance studio, she reflects on why dancing is so good for you. “I’m profoundly deaf and, as a disabled dancer, the act of movement is more important to me than sound and rhythms, but they do play a part. Sometimes I dance with, and sometimes without, my aids. It just depends how the mood takes me. “Over the years I have worked with many disabled dancers from people who are deaf and blind to those with dementia and I find dance is a great leveller, something we can all enjoy in our own way. “It was wonderful to see the way the music and steps bring back memories for people with dementia and how people of all abilities were able to join in, in their own way.
“In our school, we visit nursing homes and run dances mixing old familiar rhythms and song to provoke memories with new exciting rhythms to engage the mind.
Dancing is a great workout and has many health benefits, it works all major muscle groups. “It requires co-ordination, flexibility and strength. We often forget that it is an act of methodically repeating what you just saw or what you’ve committed to memory which is good for the brain. It is an enjoyment, a release of personal expression, and for many an act of pure joy.”
There are so many reasons to dance. • When children are played music they automatically start wiggling their bodies and smile in a natural response to the music. • Dance can help increase your moods which has been proved by various studies. • Dance is pleasurable which causes a release of dopamine - the feel good hormone.
• When you dance, your cognitive processes become sharper as you use problem solving skills. • After dancing, your body feels looser and your muscles are more relaxed, so your sleep will be better. • It is through dancing can help to reduce the symptoms of depression in adults and teenagers and can also help with people who suffer from Parkinson’s Disease.
Consult your GP before you take up dancing if you have a medical condition.
Horrific abuse to people who help We’re here to help but, for some reason, a very small number of people sometimes forget this fact and feel it necessary to be vile and abusive towards the very people trying to care for them. After being treated horrendously by three different patients on a single shift, one paramedic said: “I am tired of being abused by people who I am doing my best to help.”
Martin Sheehan Emergency Medical Dispatcher
Everyone loves the ambulance service. We are always absolutely overwhelmed with messages of love and thanks from the public for the help that we provide to people in their most distressing and desperate times.
During one incident in November, one of our everyday heroes sustained a fractured hand and was bitten whilst attending a patient, and just a few months ago another was temporarily blinded by a laser pen being shone into the cab of an ambulance travelling on blue lights to an emergency. This has been a hot topic in the media recently too with a Bill currently going through Parliament calling for tougher punishments for offenders and making it a specific crime to assault a member of emergency services. Our people are always encouraged to report any incidents of abuse or assault which has resulted in a number of prosecutions.
“On average, I would say I get some level of verbal abuse around five or six times during every single shift. I understand that people can get frustrated but when the abuse becomes personal it’s more difficult to deal with. “I’ve had actual threats of violence towards me, I’ve been called every swear word that you can possibly imagine and yet all we’re trying to do is to help these people. Even when they’re shouting and screaming we still try and do our absolute best to help.” To raise awareness of the issue, last year we launched a social media campaign, Behind The Uniform, where we filmed children appealing to the public to be kind to their mummies and daddies who work in the ambulance service, to get across the message that ambulance crews are human too. This December, we’ll be using social media to spread positivity and try to make people think twice about the way they treat emergency services workers. Get involved using #BehindTheUniform.
Stay well this winter Winter is often associated with woolly jumper nights by the fire, hot chocolate, winter boots, big warm coats and that warm cosy feeling. But for a lot of people, winter isn’t just an inconvenience, it is deadly. We take a closer look why. Around 25,000 more people die over the course of each winter compared to other times of the year. There are a range of conditions worsened by the cold weather – 80 per cent of these deaths are accounted for by people with circulatory diseases such as heart disease, lung illnesses and stroke, dementia and respiratory diseases such as asthma. Exposure to cold indoor or outdoor temperatures increases blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of heart failure, kidney disease, stroke or dementia. Cold temperatures can also make blood more likely to clot, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. The cold can also affect the respiratory system, which reduces the lung’s ability to fight off infection explaining why lower temperatures are linked with bronchitis and pneumonia. Colder weather is not only associated with an increase in deaths but also has a significant impact on the number of people becoming ill, increasing the winter pressures felt by the health care services. Research shows that for every one degree centigrade drop below five degrees in outdoor average temperatures, there is more than a 10 per cent increase in older people consulting their GP for breathing problems, a 0.8 per cent increase in emergency hospital admissions and a 3.4 percent increase in deaths. A national campaign to help people prepare for winter weather was launched by the NHS in November. The message is to Stay Well This Winter and encourages people most at risk from cold weather, including those with long-term health conditions and the over 65s, to prepare for the lower temperatures. The campaign messages, which you will see on TV, radio and social media, urge people to be ready for the colder season and to seek immediate advice and help from a pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell, before conditions get more serious.
Did you know? There are a variety of ways you can apply for help to keep your house warm, such as winter fuel payments, warm home discounts and cold weather payments? If you meet the criteria, register for priority service with your energy and water suppliers. The Energy Saving Trust can give you more information: energysavingtrust.org.uk
Dr David says...
Please think before you call 999
David Ratcliffe, NWAS Medical Director “The NHS is here to help but there are important things we can all do to take care of ourselves during the winter months. It is vital that the most vulnerable people take preventative steps to keep healthy and stay well. “A lot of people who call the ambulance service have issues which could have been avoided had people sought advice at the first sign of illness. “Throughout the cold weather, looking out for yourself and others is essential to keeping healthy. With winter here, now is a good time to make sure you, and those you know who may be particularly at risk from the cold, are as prepared as possible. “If you qualify for the free flu jab, get it now. Also remember that eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying physically active can keep you healthy.”
• For people to heat their homes to at least 18°C (65°F) and look out for those at increased risk of illness over the winter months. • Cold and damp homes can contribute to poor mental health and social isolation, which are also key factors in increased winter deaths and disease. • One study showed that residents of the 25 per cent coldest homes have around a 20 per cent greater risk of dying during the winter months than those in the warmest homes.
Make the right call
If you do need medical help this winter, making the right decision about which health service to go to is the best way to get quick treatment. We know it can be confusing, so we’ve launched our Make the Right Call campaign to help you understand what each service is there for. As part of this campaign we will use social media to share ‘fake news’ to help put an end to common misconceptions, one being that arriving at an emergency department in an ambulance gets you seen quicker – it doesn’t, much to one bemused patient’s disappointment. One of our ambulance crews took a lady to hospital just the other week, minutes later she picked up the phone and called 999 to complain that she was sat in the waiting room with other people! Words fail, my friend. More shocking examples of ‘ways to fail’ at making the right call will be posted on our social channels throughout winter, keep an eye out!
Are you prepared?
Winter vegetable benfits
• The nutrients in vegetables are vital for health and maintenance of your body.
A foodie connection
• Eating a diet rich in vegetables may reduce risk for stroke, cancer, heart diseases and type-2 diabetes. • They taste good and can help with weight loss as part of a balanced diet.
Kairen Smith, our Recruitment Positive Action Officer loves to cook, so much so that she grows her own vegetables and shares seed potatoes, vegetable seedlings, and tips on successful growing vegetables with her friends in work. We spoke to Kairen about a winter dish she loves and some great winter cooking tips. “Whilst I do most of my growing in the spring and summer, I love autumn and winter for all of the root vegetables in season. One of my favourite dishes is roasted vegetables, which I eat several times a week. Cooking them in the oven caramelises their natural sugars and makes them really crispy on the outside but soft in the middle. It is fabulous to eat as a side to any dish and great on their own too.”
Roasted winter vegetables Preparation time Less than 15 mins
Method • Slice the vegetables lengthways and cut the potato into chunks.
Cooking time 1 hour
• Sprinkle (as liberally as you like) with hot chilli powder, black pepper and mixed herbs.
Serves Serves 8 as part of a sharing platter, or 4-6 as side dish
• Roll in hot oil in a roasting dish.
Ingredients 2 carrots sliced 2 sweet potato cut into chunks 2 parsnips sliced 2 tbsp olive oil Sprinkle of hot chilli powder Sprinkle of mixed herbs Salt and pepper
Festive spending bonanza According to the Centre for Retail Research, the total spending per household for Christmas festivities in 2016 was a whopping £809.97, £223.55 of this is spent on food and drink. Considering this is just for Christmas festivities, this is massive and is set to increase this year.
Uplifting ideas • Many people get a little depressed during the winter months, everything feels worse, including medical conditions. Daily exercise can boost your mental and physical state. It can help release endorphins that pick up your mood. So, it’s extra important to walk in winter to chase away the blues, and even short walks can make a difference. If walking is difficult, you can do chair-based exercises. Even simply moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes will get your circulation going. • Stress can be more prevalent at this time of year, although it can happen at any time. It can weaken the immune system and make us more vulnerable to illness. It’s important to take the time to enjoy life and have fun! Every day, do things that make you feel less stressed, such as having a hot bath, watching one of your favourite films or meeting up with friends, you’ll be surprised with how it makes you feel. • De-cluttering your life can really boost your energy. Research has found that clutter in our environment is mentally overwhelming and distracting. If your surroundings are tidy and organised you will see a rise in your energy levels. It’s a great way to start the year feeling fresh, and it gives you a big sense of accomplishment.
• Cook for 1 hour at about gas mark 5/ fan assisted oven 190°C, 375°F. • Remove from the oven and serve.
Winter cooking tips For a little parsnip zing, try roasting in the oven with some hoisin sauce mmmmm! Love it or hate it try putting a dollop of marmite in with your roasties…. Delicious!
For more top tips on tasty recipes and eating well for less Visit: nhs.uk/change4life and the ‘Live Well’ section of the NHS Choices Website.
For more uplifting inspirational ideas: Visit: the ‘beating the winter blues’ section of the NHS Choices Website.
Our contributors Introducing the Communications Team who have created Your Call...
Move over Harry, Carl Potter’s in town Senior Paramedic Carl Potter is just about to start a shift and little do his patients know they might be in for a treat. Not only is Carl a super skilled clinician but he has magical powers to make the sickest of patients feel better in no time with his magic! Before joining the ambulance service, Lancashire based Carl used to make a living from performing magic tricks. We spoke to him about his super ability: “I mostly do effects with cards – but sometimes other stuff too. I travelled the world doing it - well, the UK, Ireland and Paris. I love magic and I practice at home - my wife is sick of it. “I watch lectures and read books to keep my skills up. It’s an excuse to avoid writing my assignments for University! “When I first started working at NWAS I used to do tricks all the time – but these days I’m so busy chasing my tail so I never seem to get chance. However, I usually have a deck of cards on me just in case the chance arises!”
Get in touch Got a story for Your Call? Write to us at Headquarters: Ladybridge Hall, Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 5DD Tel: 01204 498306 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.nwas.nhs.uk
Karen Fitzhenry What are you looking forward to in 2018? I’m so excited to meet my best mate’s new baby in May and her ‘earlier than planned’ wedding in February. What song will get you dancing this festive season? There are so many, at the minute it’s Jingle Bell Rock by The Vamps but that will change by next week.
Christina Burke What are you looking forward to in 2018? I’m off to the west coast of America in May and I’m getting married next December so I can’t wait for 2018! What song will get you dancing this festive season? I’m definitely hoping to hear Saturday Night by Wigfield!
Fiona Bateson What are you looking forward to in 2018? Having fun! I’ve already got a few gigs and holidays lined up and the Arctic Monkeys are releasing new music – yay! What song will get you dancing this festive season? It’s got to be the Five Megamix so I can rap along!
Caroline Turner What are you looking forward to in 2018? I’m really looking forward to going skiing in February and whizzing down a snowy mountain. What song will get you dancing this festive season? My song is Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) by the Darkness.
Alice Rawsthorne What are you looking forward to in 2018? I’m getting married in August so certainly can’t wait for that! What song will get you dancing this festive season? My favourite festive song is Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewie as it definitely gets me feeling all festive.