ORCON (Operational Research CONsultancy) – These are the timelines set out by the government for us to reach patients from the moment the call starts.  8 minutes is our deadline for Cat A Red calls (“immediately life threatening” . . . but oddly are not when we arrive).  So, taking into account that the person calling rarely speaks English and that this has to be translated, Ambulance crews are tied up dealing with someone who’s called us for a broken finger nail, the route to the patient is full of pot holes, speed bumps, trendies on single speed bikes, black cab drivers “surfing the blue wave”, general idiots in cars and the en-masse population occupying the road – it is no wonder that these targets are hard to meet!.


A&E – Accident and Emergency department of the Hospital.  Where patients will end up if conveyed by an ambulance.  This is the part of the Hospital you will possibly wait a long time before being seen – and no, going by ambulance DOESN’T mean you’ll be seen any quicker if you’re injury/illness is NOT life threatening.  In fact, for those who call an ambulance in the vane belief that they will be seen quicker (and are trying to jump the queue) you will more than likely have to wait longer than everyone – probably in thankful payment for costing the British tax payer well over £500 for your efforts.


Physician Response Unit – We have this in East London where an advanced A&E Doctor goes out with an advanced paramenace in one of the HEMS cars.  They are there as a sort of “nomad GP” if you like.  But with lots of other skills and toys to bring to the ‘party’.  Amongst them is the “auto-pulse” which is an automatic CPR machine.  So, having these guys turn up at a cardiac arrest can significantly improve outcomes.


Helicopter Emergency Medical Services – These guys will get to calls quickly and deal with extreme trauma cases.  Great idea as the team consists of an emergency Doctor and a couple of advanced paramedics so their clinical skills are far superior to those of an ordinary ambulance crew.  They also operate from a fast car – and they all wear bright orange jump suits . . . which don’t always fit properly!

London Chest

The London Chest Hospital is a Cath Lab.  A specific hospital specialising in cardiology.  Some hospitals have Cath Labs attached to them.  Either way, if our patients are confirmed having a heart attack or we are able to get them back from a cardiac arrest and they are still presenting with a heart attack then this is where we take them.  Even if we have to pass several hospitals en route to get there this is where we go – as this is where their best chances of survival lie.


Normal For Hackney.