Mark Hayden

Paramedic based at Crown Medical Centre, Taunton.

Mark Hayden

Have you always lived in Somerset?

I spent 10 years in Camden before I moved down here, it was a big change!

I was originally qualified as a car designer and I gave it up to join the ambulance service.

What made you move from Camden to Somerset?

Things were changing, originally when I gave up design I started taking emergency calls so I moved down here for that and then I went up to London to be on the road because you see so much more but I always knew I wanted to be by the sea.

Where in Somerset do you live?

We live in Dunster – we’re really lucky because we overlook the sea and the fields, we see the steam train go across the bottom. We’ve got two boys who we had to try and convince that not all trains were steam trains and that not everyone gets to live by the sea.

Do your kids go to school in Minehead?

They go to school in Timberscombe and there’s only 30 of them in the whole school, our youngest only has two other people in his class. The teachers are lovely and the headmaster is really good, they give them time and they progress well.

Tell us about being a paramedic in Somerset.

It’s not easier being a paramedic here, you’ve got a bigger area to cover and not as many resources but as a paramedic in a surgery in Taunton you get to have those resources. I’ve been at Crown Medical Centre for 18 months – it’s a big learning curve, going from working on the ambulances to this it’s definitely different. As a paramedic it’s protocol driven but here you just see the problem.
I remember the first time I saw an infected toenail, I remember thinking I would much sooner someone have a cardiac arrest because I would know what to do in that situation! But you learn and you’re really well looked after by the doctors. The potential for progression here is so much greater, I’m now staying for emergency care practitioner modules, getting back into study is hard but the idea is that they would like me to eventually be able to prescribe. As paramedics we have to be able to do a masters to be able to prescribe. The benefit working here is that they let me off every Friday to do the course as part of my hours.

Do you work shifts when working out of a practice?

I get here for 9.30am and leave at 4pm everyday, so I miss the traffic and pick up my boys – I’m home every evening. I’ve worked shifts for years and years and now not having to work evenings and weekends, nights is great, I also have every Christmas off. I still go out in the car so sometimes I do shifts as a paramedic, which is good to keep the skills – if everything went wrong here I could at least go back to the ambulances. It’s so different working out of a practice; when you’re a paramedic you worry if anything goes wrong it will all come down on you but working out of a practice they understand the unpredictability of the job.

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