30 years and counting: Calvin’s story

Calvin Scott   30 years

At the end of March, Duty Manager Calvin Scott celebrated a staggering 30 years in the ambulance service.

From patient transport services to A&E ambulances to EOC – there’s not much Calvin hasn’t seen or done during his time here. After being congratulated with a celebratory cake from his Norwich EOC colleagues on the big day, Need to Know collared Calvin to ask all about the highs and lows of the last 30 years, and what’s kept him with us…

Here’s what he had to say.

“I walked through the door in 1986 as a spritely 23-year-old to work in what we now call patient transport services, so taking patients to hospital day care centres and hospital appointments.

Right from the off I always wanted to go ‘frontline’ as we called it then. In 1988 I was successful at interview so off to Bolton I went with a few other colleagues, some who are still in the service, to undertake my frontline technician training. Back then you could just train as a paramedic from the start.

“Paramedics were only just coming on the scene, and I think Norfolk Ambulance service (as it was when I joined) only had about four or five. So, I completed my six week ambulance aid instruction and my two week emergency driving course, passed, and then worked frontline with a mentor for a year before becoming as a fully qualified ambulance technician.

“My first 999 call as a rookie was to a laundrette for a diabetic collapse, and I can admit I was very, very nervous. I started my frontline career working out of Dereham, but I always wanted to work from Hellesdon as the city stations were, in those days, always the busiest. Six months later I got my wish and off to Hellesdon I went.

“Soon after my arrival I was asked to act up to the role of ‘leading ambulanceman’ - similar to the DLO role we have today, but not so intense as you still had to work on a frontline vehicle. I soon set my eyes on becoming a paramedic and the time for exams, interviews, assessments came, but I passed and then began my paramedic training. The training was residential; you had to pass exams every week to continue on the course, and then you had to spend time in hospital theatres being assessed by an anaesthetist on cannulation, intubation and other scenarios.

“I continued working as a paramedic on the road until 1999 when the new Director of Operations, Paul Sutton, turned up on a night shift to ride-out on a vehicle which I happened to be on. We spent most of the night talking about what we thought was right and what was wrong with the service at that time and how we would change it. About four weeks later I walked past his office and he called me in - he said he wanted to revamp the control room (EOC) as new targets were coming into force, and asked if I’d be part of that control team. I resisted at first as I liked working out on the road, but Paul asked me every time we bumped into each other (I'm sure he did it on purpose), and in the end I agreed to a six month secondment. Six months went to nine months, nine went to 12, and 12 went from October 1999 to present day. In 2003 I applied to become a manager, which is called a duty EOC officer today. I’m still registered as a paramedic, but in reality that part of my career is over…I just can't quite bring myself to reach the hook to hang my boots up. 

“We all have certain moments that we remember. I’ve seen the service through three changes – from Norfolk Ambulance Service to the East Anglian Ambulance Service and then to our current East of England Ambulance Service. I remember attending the incident where a double decker bus fell into a big hole on Earlham Road in the late 80s, and going to a murder at Ringland Hills that’s never been solved. I remember that when I first went into control, we only had three dispatchers and no call handlers after midnight, so we ended up taking each other’s calls. I have even taken a call, attended a call, taken the patient to hospital, and then returned to control without another call being taken. I remember the 2005 London bombings, as we had only moved into our new EOC two days earlier. I remember the people who I have mentored and where they are now (on their own ability, nothing to do with me!), and those who sadly are no longer with us that paved the way and taught me what I know today.

“I have always been proud to wear the ambulance service uniform, what I believe it stands for and what it represents. I enjoy what we try to achieve for our patients every day - when we have a successful outcome and the team has worked well together. I enjoy it when we make a difference.

“I stay because I don't think I could find anything more rewarding.”

On behalf of everyone here at the Trust - congratulations Calvin on your incredible achievement. Here’s to the next 30 years!

Published 21st April, 2016

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