A-level and Student Paramedics and across the UK share their views regarding the strain on the NHS during the Pandemic, as well as how Universities have left them feeling antagonised and fatigued towards their education.   

The NHS has been radically mobilised to respond to the dire needs of people in the UK infected with the Coronavirus, whilst also simultaneously delivering non-COVID-19 health care. With the total number of deaths in London (as of 28 October 2020) being 6,661. 91,000 cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in the big city whilst the town of Walthamstow faces almost 3,000 positive cases followed by 19 tragic deaths. The measures inaugurated by the government to control the spread of the virus, have had a cavernous affect into our lives, affecting people’s income, education, and social contacts – factors that are crucial to a healthy lifestyle.  

We hear from a variety of Student Paramedics who have been interviewed to illuminate the importance of just how serious this pandemic has become: 

Safa I: How do you personally feel the Ambulance service has been impacted by COVID-19?   

James Doyle: “The Inability of patients seeing their families, which is a major factor in their journey to recovery if they are ill, as well as conflict between time dependant cases and PPE donning. Also, a lack of PPE.”  2nd year Student Paramedic Zain.D adds: “We have had an increased number of calls where people have called us out to check if they have the virus.” From these replies, it can be deduced that through the personal experiences of students, it’s evident that medical professionals are trying to do their best to help manage the pandemic to the best of their ability. But due to the lack of medical supplies and PPE it’s hard to do so. They can only do so much to help but at the end of the day, without the correct apparatus it’s impuissant to do so.    

Safa I: How do you think COVID-19 has impacted your education?   

Student Paramedic, B.F: “Badly, the Unis haven’t done much to compensate the loss of hours and teaching. How can one person complete a degree at a high level, complete 2-12 hour shifts a week, study and work?” James Doyle adds: “No A-levels. No experience, and online learning. Which is completely unsatisfactory comparatively.” Students have had a diligent attempt to keep up with their education, but it’s conspicuous that online learning isn't for all. Universities and colleges just aren’t supporting students to an adequate degree where they can feel comfortable and confident to acquire the skills needed to graduate. Chloe. H outlines the veracity of her experience and claims that: “it’s hard to stay motivated.” And that “There’s a lack of content, as well as my placement hours being cancelled.”   

The final question asked, many people of the general public would have disagreed to as a fear of catching virus, but these inspiring replies say other.   

Safa I: Has the COVID-19 crisis made you more motivated to work In the NHS sector/as a paramedic?   

Luke. B: “I can’t answer as a paramedic as I'm not one yet, but I volunteer in hospital wards and it’s motivated me to provide the best possible care I can for a patient, whilst maintaining my own safety and ensuring I have the correct PPE on at all times.” Many who have a fixed stamina in this field of work say the same thing. Ayden Ash adds on: “Yes! I volunteered during lockdown, so it motivated me even more to help those in need.” Moreover, B.F outlines the verity of her personal experience at University this year: “Yes, but universities are forgetting that we’re real people, it’s so bad for our mental health.”    

Student Paramedics, Paramedics and healthcare professionals working in the NHS sector have a duty of care toward their patients, no matter what situation they may be in; intoxicated, homeless, and more recently patients with suspected COVID-19. With more than 890,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus so far in the UK and nearly 45,000 deaths, NHS emergency call centres faced the worst. There were over 1,792,000 calls offered to the service in England, (as of September 2020) an average of 59.8 thousand per day. This was a shocking increase of 36.3% from September 2019. To cope with this surge in demand, the NHS Volunteer Responders recruitment initiative has recruited a staggering 750,000 people just two days within hitting its initial quarter of a million target.

Not many people get to do a job where you're helping a vulnerable individual in what arguably could be, the worst moment in their lives. Working as a health care professional in the NHS holds immense privilege.  

Could you do it?  

Sources: (coronavirus.data.gov.uk) (england.nhs.uk) (walthamforest.gov.uk) (london.gov.uk)