HEMS or the “Helicopter Emergency Medical Service” is a trust run on donations from the public. It has been proven to be an effective emergency service that compliments the Ambulance Service and personally I reckon it is essential to have in modern times.
They run both a helicopter (a bright red one with Richard Branson’s branded “Virgin” written on it) and also a couple of vamped up cars in which land-teams race around. The teams mainly consist of an Emergency Doctor and an advanced Paramedic – and sometimes observers.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, I arranged to go to one of their Governance days at the end of my placements and went along with a couple of friends.
The HEMS Governance Day is held only once a month and is an audit of sorts. They publicly take apart various “jobs” done previously and “review” them. I say review, but for entertainment value it is sometimes not to be missed. And when I say taken apart, what I mean to say is they are occasionally ripped apart – nothing short of the Spanish Inquisition. Stepping away from the humour of seeing highly respected consultant doctors torn apart for various mishaps, it is a brilliant method of consistently improving a vital service. And I only wish we could do the same in the Ambulance Service! Our only “reviewing/improving” tends to be peer related and at the expense of a few laughs.
I enjoy the HEMS Governance days as not only are there the audits but also interesting lectures in between. So, all in all, a good day is had . . . if you’re happy to use up one of your vital days off that is. Oh, and most times there’s free lunch!
Afterwards, there’s usually a mass gathering in the local pub where you can get to know the various doctors and HEMS paramedics better. Networking I think its called. Sadly my attempts at “networking” invariably end in disaster, usually with me causing insult to someone somehow. On one occasion many years back, I remember being at an important dinner party and standing in a small circle of people whilst the host boasted about buying new wheels for his Maserati. I had drifted off into a thousand yard stare and wasn’t paying full attention. But somehow I felt the urge to pipe up . . .
” . . . must’ve cost a fortune to have them done eh” I sighed, not even breaking from my distant gaze. But a few seconds later and I suddenly became aware of the pause in conversation and felt the hairs on the back of my neck start to prickle. It was then I broke out of my day dream and realised that my “stare” had been aimed directly at the cleavage of the host’s wife. Everyone was looking at me horrified.
” ah . . . ” I smiled weakly and seem to recall being asked to leave shortly afterwards.
Albeit the HEMS days wasn’t any exception, it was perhaps a little less disastrous. And this time I had a partner in crime – a friend from my class. We’d both had backgrounds that involved working in the mountains and seeing the Lead HEMS Doctor wearing a Jack Wolfskin jacket that attempted to be outdoorsy we took it upon ourselves to gently berate him on his choice of outdoor clothing. To us we thought we were being brilliantly amusing. Unfortunately it wasn’t until the next day when another friend of mine pointed out, by text, what we’d done and how the Doctor had taken great exception to our comments.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the next time I can attend a Governance Day – but I might perhaps sit at the back of the lecture room. Out of the way.