Greg Winter - Local Front Line Paramedic
I’m Greg Winter, a Paramedic with the Scottish Ambulance Service based in Elgin. I qualified as a Paramedic in January 2020 and have been in the service as an Ambulance Technician since 2015. I worked in a multitude of roles prior to joining the Ambulance Service but all have either had a customer-facing or caring element to them. Joining the Ambulance Service was a long-held ambition of mine, as my dad was in the service when I was young, and seeing the vehicles and equipment as I was growing up really inspired me.
A typical day involves booking on to a vehicle and checking the equipment carried on it is safe and functional, we work 12-hour shifts normally with another Paramedic or Technician. At times we may respond on our own in a car as required. Once the vehicle is checked we await the radio going off with a call that we have been allocated by our control room in Inverness. We respond to both emergency calls from the public and urgent calls from other healthcare professionals. One of the best aspects of the job is never knowing what you may attend in a shift; it could be a multi-vehicle collision or assisting with the delivery of a baby. You need to be fairly resilient as incidents can happen in all locations and in all weathers, night shifts can take some getting used to too. Some shifts we are lucky to get back to the station for our meal breaks or to finish on time but unfortunately, that is part of being in the emergency services.
All my training was provided in-house by the Ambulance Service and it meant that I was earning a wage whilst training which was a big help. I left school at 15 with standard grades only and didn’t think university was for me. Once I applied and passed my assessment day, the service trained me up to the required skill level to be an Ambulance Technician. After gaining experience on the road I then attended Glasgow Caledonian University. This year I graduated with a DipHE in Paramedic Science which has allowed me to register as a Paramedic. In the future all Paramedics will need to have a degree to register which involves a three-year full-time course, therefore you need to be committed and sure this is the role for you. I would encourage anyone thinking of applying to contact your local ambulance station and to come in for a chat with some of the crew about our role.
We deal with the public when they are at their most vulnerable, sometimes in pain or distress. Many of the patients we see are facing some kind of mental health issue or crisis and you need strong people skills to engage with this group of patients, being confident speaking to people of all ages and backgrounds is a major advantage. I really enjoy being involved in community engagement events, teaching CPR in a local school or doing a visit with a vehicle, if even one child is inspired to join in the future like I was I feel it is worth it.
Being on the frontline of the response to COVID-19 has been a humbling experience. We have seen changes to how we respond to patients in terms of personal protective equipment which can be difficult to work in but the support of the public has been phenomenal. Moray is a beautiful place to live and work, and I have been lucky enough to see much of it in my role. Despite the challenges at the moment, I am proud to be a Paramedic out providing the best service I can to my community.