Ollie steps up to the front line

Ollie Hampson, Duty Manager and Health and Safety Coordinator at Parish Wharf Leisure Centre is volunteering for London’s Ambulance Service Critical Care Transport, transporting COVID-19 positive cases to their designated hospital. This is his story:

“I’m based at Stanmore Hospital in London with my crew mate Mark. Our ambulance team consists of either: two Critical Care Nurses and one Doctor, or one Critical Care Nurse, one Doctor and an Anaesthetic Nurse.

“We get a call from Control and are sent all patients details and where we pick them up from and what hospital we take them to. We travel to most hospitals in London: Stanmore, UCLH Hospital, North Middlesex London, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (which is very sad) and also the new London Nightingale Hospital.

“Our team go and collect the patient in full PPE gear. They will be in an induced coma and on ventilators etc to keep them alive. We then bring them into the back of the ambulance, close the doors and we then transport our patient to the designated hospital on blue lights through London.

“Mark is the blue light driver so I can either be navigating around London finding the quickest route round, or if needed I am in the back of the ambulance, assisting the doctors and nurses with our patient.

“Each collection and drop-off takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours – the travelling can be quite far and all our team need to be deep cleaned, all PPE taken off in a special area within the hospital, and after every job our ambulance has a specialist team to deep clean it.

“Then onto our next job! Our shifts are anywhere around 12 hours long, but can last longer.

“What I’m seeing: London’s normal traffic is non-existent - the roads are like a ghost town! Everyone out walking are wearing masks, gloves, face masks and other PPE. It’s all very strange!

“The greatest part of our job is that when we are driving through London many people who are out will stop and clap us going past and stay thank you for everything we are doing. It does bring a little tear to myself and my crew mate!

“The Met Police were going around giving out Easter eggs and delivering PPE. It’s amazing how everyone has come together to help! But sadly it also brings out the nastiest side of people too -  NHS staff are getting robbed at knife point for their passes to steal PPE from hospitals and sell it on for a lot of money!

“What I would say is: Please, please stay home. Protect the NHS and it will save lives! The hospital are nearly all at capacity, they are understaffed and we are nowhere near over it.”