Words by Bethany Allen
The life of a Critical Care Paramedic for the Cornwall Air Ambulance.
Summer in Cornwall sees an influx of visitors travelling to the county to experience long days on pristine beaches, leisurely walks along the coast path and the buzzing atmosphere of harbour towns and fishing villages. It’s the busiest time of year for Cornwall, and with more people the likelihood of an increase in injuries is inevitable.
Having set up an interview with one of the Cornwall Air Ambulance’s Critical Care Paramedic’s, Jeremy Griffiths, I discovered first-hand how busy this time of year can be for the crew. Two interview times had to be rescheduled due to live missions and it was humbling to think that right at that moment there were people in desperate need of help who were lucky enough to have the air ambulance service.
When discussing the fine line between life and death that the paramedics encounter as part of their role, Jeremy emphasises the quick response that the air ambulance is able to provide: “I’m on the phone to you and beside that phone is the emergency line, the ‘red phone’. If that rings now the pilot will get up and start the aircraft and our team of paramedics will follow. We get into the air within two to three minutes. The rapid response we deliver is vital and it can make a massive difference.”
The life of a Critical Care Paramedic for the Cornwall Air Ambulance is full of high pressure scenarios and situations that many of us would never imagine encountering.
“We’re all experienced in what we do, sometimes it’s necessary to remain detached so that we’re able to think realistically and clinically and so we can offer the best response to the patient that’s required at the time. We’re a close knit team and we support and look after each other; the fact we’re a small team means that we’re a strong team.”
While working for the Cornwall Air Ambulance, Jeremy has been able to complete a Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care passport and a Critical Care Master’s degree, funded by the charity. “Thanks to the charity we have the opportunity to complete further education and training above and beyond what an NHS paramedic would get. What people don’t realise is that not only does the money that’s raised support the flights, it also supports our education, the provision of the doctors who provide that education, as well as the equipment needed to stay up to date with the latest treatments available.” What becomes evident through our conversation is that the Cornwall Air Ambulance never stands still; it’s always progressing both in terms of the technology and the training for team members.
“Everything moves forward, and it all revolves around improving the service for our patients. The only way this can continue is through the ongoing support of our community.”
The missions that the Cornwall Air Ambulance undertakes are difficult by nature – hidden coves at the base of cliffs, tors on the middle of Bodmin moor and multiple vehicle crashes on the A30. Their presence in Cornwall is vital and we have nothing but the utmost respect for the team who carry out these missions.