Rod Moore

Rod Moore has worked in the ambulance service for almost half the lifetime of the NHS and, in that time, his job has changed out of all recognition.

Today he works as a community paramedic in Forth Valley which involves him applying a wide range of skills including using simple medications such as antibiotics, pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs. He works on his own assessing patients, treating them where appropriately, and referring them on to hospital or other care pathways if that is required.

“You have to make key decisions based on your own knowledge and experience. . . .”

It is a relatively newly developed role in the NHS and one that is delivering benefits for patients and the wider service. Patients can get help in their own homes if their condition is not serious, rather than having to be transported to hospital. At the same time, busy hospitals are being freed up to spend more time with the patients who need their care.

Rod can now give intravenous injections, set up drips, perform advanced airway techniques and use drugs to treat heart attacks. It is a far cry from the early days when he started in the service in 1980 when the main workload came from attending emergencies and transporting patients to hospital.

“I never thought in a million years that I would be doing what I am doing now when I joined,” said Rod. ”It is forever evolving and changing – and for the better. There is far greater job satisfaction now from being able to do more for people.”

Changes started in the late 1980s when accident and emergency work was separated from outpatient transport. At the same time, ambulance staff started using defibrillators which could re-start someone’s heart in an emergency. The paramedic role then evolved with ambulance staff trained in key skills to provide care to patients at the earliest possible opportunity.

Rod said there were some concerns expressed about ambulance staff taking on this wider role but thanks to intensive training and firm procedures within which to work, staff have proved themselves more than capable. “A paramedic has to understand when to act and when to refer on,” said Rod. “There were some doubts expressed in the early days but we have shown that this can work and can help patients.”

There are many people who are grateful for the help they have received from the ambulance service. Some of the proudest moments of Rod’s career have come through taking life saving action such as using a defibrillator or applying drugs that can break down blood clots. Without this help, the patients concerned may well have died.

Rod is the only community paramedic in Scotland who works in an urban area. That means he can be treating anything from a minor injury to someone who has chest pains and may have suffered a heart attack. “You have to make key decisions based on your own knowledge and experience. Sometimes, with clot busting treatment, for example, you get the chance to see someone recover right in front of your eyes. That is a great feeling and makes this a really worthwhile job.”

Rod Moore