Publish date: 5 July 2024

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We’re celebrating World Paramedics Day by introducing you to Lee Coulson, a Paramedic in our 111 team based in Chesterfield.

Most people’s idea of a Paramedic is a person in an ambulance wearing a green uniform at the scene of an incident, but Lee swapped the ambulance for a headset to perform the same role over the phone.

Lee explained more about his role, saying: “I spent two years training in Lincolnshire initially and qualified as a Paramedic, eventually moving to Derbyshire in 2011 where I worked for East Midlands Ambulance Service as part of a double crewed ambulance and fast response vehicle Paramedic for a further 12 years. I joined DHU 111 in 2022 after several of my old colleagues made the same move, taking on the role of Clinical Lead.

“I still consider myself to be in a Paramedic role, but you are one step removed from the scene, which certainly reduces a lot of the chaos and stress. Due to this your eyes, ears and hands are no longer available to make quick decisions based on observations, experience, knowledge and training. Taking a 111 call from the scene leaves you solely reliant on your voice and what the person on the phone is telling you, so not only do you have to be calm, but you have to keep the person on the other side of the phone calm and focused. After all, they are acting as the artist to enable you as the clinician to draw an accurate “picture” in order to deliver best patient care.

“The more serious calls that we receive into the service, those life-threatening calls, are certainly more challenging. Dealing with severe breathing difficulties, chest pains or cardiac arrests, test your resolve and abilities to talk bystanders or family members through exactly what we need them to do for the patient.  They become your eyes, ears and hands and you have to remember that whilst I should know what needs to be done, the person on the other end of the phone may never have done this before.

“You certainly see a lot of patients being on the road but being a Paramedic within 111, I think we can impact change on a greater scale and certainly care for, treat and potentially save more people because as soon as one call ends, another starts which is incredibly rewarding at the end of a busy shift.

“For me, Paramedics are lifesavers whether we are in person or on the end of a phone. We are usually the first form of medic ‘on the scene’ and it is our duty to do what needs to be done immediately so that patients are in the best shape possible when they reach definitive care. We all have a wealth of knowledge to apply to given situations and part of the thrill of being a Paramedic is that you never know what the next job or case will be. Making sure that we are well equipped with skills and knowledge really does empower us to deliver the care we feel the general public deserve in their time of need.

“I hope that the public appreciate the work that we do, especially here in the 111 service, and that the people we meet and speak to learn something from what we talk them through. We’re very privileged to be in a position to have multiple opportunities to impart knowledge and impact change through what we do. I’m proud to be able to make a difference in people’s lives.”

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