Simon Wong is a paramedic and clinical team mentor in the West Midlands, and he explains what a day in his life can look like.
Paramedic Simon Wong works for the West Midlands Ambulance Service, mentoring trainee paramedics and responding to emergency calls. Here, he tells Sky News what a typical day looks like.
I work the 1pm to 1am shift so I usually get up around 11am, shower and have breakfast and try to relax a little bit before work.
I have never been a morning person and even on my days off I tend to stick to twilight hours.
I get in half an hour before I start and check who I am working with. I’m a team mentor, which means I work with our trainee paramedics. I don’t have the same crew mate every shift, so I’ll check who I am working with before we begin.
If I know them already, then great, otherwise I’ll spend some time speaking with them, finding out about their background and their training.
I’ll also give them some encouragement, let them know I am there to back them up and step in if they need it.
The day begins:
I will usually check over the ambulance I am assigned to. It will have been cleaned and restocked, but I will make sure that I have everything I need, and check anything else, like morphine, before we go.
Then at 1pm, I tell control that we are in the ambulance and ready to go.
We start at a busy time of day, so we often get a call-out straight away. It might be a new emergency that has just come in, or it could be someone who has been waiting because of the volume of calls the handlers are getting.
There’s no typical day – but on average, I’ll attend seven call-outs before the end of my day at 1am.
If we can treat the patient at the scene, it may take around an hour, but transferring someone to hospital will take longer. It usually takes closer to two hours if we have to take them to A&E, and then we have to wait with them if there isn’t a space straight away. I’ve waited for as long as three hours for there to be treatment space once we have arrived at the hospital.
The best and the worst job:
Going out to deal with aspects of pregnancy can be the best and the worst. If everything is alright, it’s really emotional, and you can feel a part of someone’s family.
But there could be a complication, the child could not be breathing. It could be the best thing or the worst thing.
The types of job I really like are those where I have to use all my skills and my knowledge to make a difference. You might not get the rapport with the patient, but it is nice to know that you have done the best you could.
To know I have got them the care that they needed. I will pop back some hours later to check on them, and can see the care they have been given. They will say thank you and you see that 10 minutes of being with them could have made a big difference.
After I clock off:
I finish at 1am and I often try to do my shopping then. The supermarkets are so quiet, you can park right next to the store, get all the best expiry dates and no queue at the till. If feels like you have it to yourself.
I’ve also joined a 24-hour gym, so I may go there, or swap the rear wheel of my mountain bike for a training wheel and park myself in front of YouTube for a 45 minute ride “through the Alps”.
Sometimes I have a midnight snack, though this isn’t so good for your stomach.
By the time you get home, have a shower and have some downtime it’s 3.30am, so getting to bed means you’ll have around seven hours of sleep before starting again.
I work five days on with 12-hour shifts and then five days off. I really value the time off. Although we get lots of time off, we have also done around a week and a half’s worth of work in five days.
It can feel like eat, sleep, work, repeat.
If I wasn’t doing this:
I always wanted to be in the Royal Marines, and was a cadet for years, but asthma prevented me. I was also a special constable for several years but never made it full time in the force.
I think the military is still in my blood, so I’d probably be doing something with that, or in the police, or maybe a pilot.