Posted by: medicblog999 | August 24, 2009

Ok, No problem!

01.16.09 - no problem

I was at work yesterday when a simple interaction over the radio with my control room made me stop and think about things a little bit. I was unsure whether to write about it, as I know some of my work colleagues read the blog, but then I decided that what I am about to say is nothing that I haven’t said to many people who have mentioned this thing in the past…..

I had just finished an emergency in Newcastle. I got on the radio to control and handed over some information about the patient that I had left at home (with a referral to her GP )and informed them that I was now clear and available for further duties.

Control: “Thanks for that Mark, would you mind going to Gateshead Station for some standby please?”

M999: “Yeah, no problem”

Control: “Thanks, sorry to keep sending you there, its just we are a crew down so we need the cover”

M999: “Its no problem Red Base, Im here for 12 hours a shift, you can send me where ever you need me”

Control: “What a lovely thing to say, thanks!”

Was it a lovely thing to say? or was it just stating a fact that  should be absolutely nothing out of the ordinary?

Certain crews seem to always have a battle with control. There are allegations flying from both sides, crews saying that control have got it in for them, control saying that crews are trying to take too long in checking vehicles etc etc etc.

It seems so cliche, and so corny but why cant we all just get along???

There are many times when crews question things with control. Why did you send us on standby to this location when the job came in over in that location? Why do we have to cover that station, when there is no-one on my station? Why do I need to go on standby in the car less than 2 miles away from an empty station with a comfortable recliner chair (Ok, I`ll admit, that was me…..but I asked nicely!). The response often comes back about the bigger picture and to be fair, the few times that I have queried something with the control room, when they have explained the reasons for their actions, they were right to use me in the way they did and I ate a lovely bit of humble pie.

There are some on the road, who get really really really worked up about this. To the point that it makes them angry. They may come to me and complain, and I try to act as the diplomatic middle man. Sometimes they have a legitimate gripe, sometimes it is just a winge. But I keep thinking, why don’t you just do as you are asked to do. Change your mind set and go about your day with a smile on your face (even if its forced!)

I have a rule that I always respond to a request by saying “Yup, no problem!” There is no point in trying to fight things that you know little about (we really don’t see the big picture when you work in isolation either on a car or with a partner in an ambulance) and can do nothing about. I joke sometimes when control calls up and says

“Would you mind going to……”

M999: “What would you say if I said I did??”

Control: “Errr….Id tell you to go anyway”

M999: “Ok, no problem!”

Its amazing the effect it has on your attitude through the day, try it some time and you may see the difference.

The kind of stuff we see each week at work, the terrible situations that some families find themselves in should help us put things into perspective:

The terminally ill father of a young family, the son killed in a motor vehicle accident, the 97 year old lady who lives by herself and has no family to care for her but still tries to be independent, the manic depressive who has yet again tried to overdose, the 17 yr old who has hung himself to escape the mental illness which has tormented him since he was 11, the regular caller who has been in an ambulance over 600 times because he has nothing else in his life to give it meaning, the mother who is looking after her 4 year old with leukaemia.

Does that not just put things into perspective??

Do we really need to get worked up and annoyed because we have to go somewhere and sit, doing nothing until a call comes in??

This may all just be through the eyes of “the glass is usually half full” Medic 999, but whenever I hear people going on, I just don’t see the point in it. In the UK (unlike a lot of our USA counterparts) we get paid a decent amount of money for what we do (more would always be welcome though). For those who make it into the ambulance service, they are in a privileged position, to be able to go into peoples homes when they are in their moment of need, and try to make the pain more bearable. If you don’t realise that, and the little things eat away at you, you are going to end up a bitter and old paramedic, and never forget that there are literally thousands of people younger than you just waiting to jump into your shoes!

Why not try and change now.

Go on, just spend one day at work saying “Ok, no problem”, and see how much nicer the day goes.


  1. Hit the nail on the head there, Mark. Well written, and reflects my thought most of the time too. All I need to do now is work on my radio voice, I feels sometimes it doesn’t come over as chirpy/friendly as it should 🙂

  2. So, by my count you have made seven (7) posts since your burnout post. That was five days ago, which is an average of 1.4637 a day. By my calculations you are headed strait toward the loony bin.

    See ya when you get here!

  3. Very insightful. You raise a very valid point. Enjoy reading your blog.

  4. Great post. This goes through my mind every time I’m at work and I wish I could say these things as persuasively as you!

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