It is difficult to comprehend the toils and demands placed on members of emergency medical crews, especially in the current climate of an overloaded healthcare system that has no quick fix, challenging incidents, and coinciding with a cost of living crisis that for many will result in personal, and professional difficulties.
Even in the best of times, paramedics, technicians and clinical support people will still endure the most severe of circumstances with life or death outcomes.
While de-sensitisation can, to a point, allow people to function and carry on, there is always a build-up of feelings and emotions that can become unhealthy if not addressed and released.
CIPHER medical are actively promoting wellbeing for its people through a number of avenues including team training days, regular social events, career development routes, annual allowance for CPD, and a range of other examples to show its people they are valued members of the team.
Other more creative examples also include Mark Stowell who bakes breads and sweet goods for staff to enjoy. Mark uses this as a vehicle to improve his own wellbeing as well as helping to raise staff morale. A hashtag #bakermark was created to allow people to share their photos and reviews.
CIPHER CEO Andy Thomas recently signed a sponsorship partnership with Teesside Lions basketball team which has allowed opportunities for staff and family to attend games and enjoy family time together. A significant number attended the recent win over Sheffield and were part of a record attendance of 800.
CIPHER has always named its ambulances after loved ones. This provides a ‘family’ sense of belonging which includes children, loved ones who have passed and even a few pet names.
The latest feature is based on amateur photography inspired by CIPHER Paramedic Jess Sparrow.
Jess, who is 27 and originally from Hertfordshire, qualified in 2021 making her a pandemic Paramedic. She joined CIPHER medical in 2020 during the second lockdown as a technician alongside studying her final year at Sunderland University.
Her passion for photography began as a child and she has an album of polaroid photos she took as a five year old, credited in crayon with the name ‘me.’
Jess has been regularly taking photos when the opportunity allows. It could be any snapshot or mundane moment.
She is now encouraging others to capture a moment when taking a breather and share it using #cipherphoto to create a library of moments that all staff can enjoy.
“We travel across some spectacular scenery, major events, and witness magic moments that can bring about a positive emotional response. It may be a beautiful starry night at 3am, a smiling colleague looking out for fans at an Ed Sheeran concert or even enjoying the bread that Mark Stowell has baked while he is taking a nap in the background!”
“While our role in the community is a challenging one with heavy responsibility, it is nice to recognise and appreciate the precious moments and share them.” Said Jess.
Andy, who is also a consultant paramedic has instilled a ‘one team’ mentality, borne from his 18 year service as an RAF Paramedic and is a big advocate of enhancing staff morale.
“CIPHER delivers a highly efficient service. We are fortunate to have built a positive reputation in a short space of time, and this is due to the care and compassion of our people.
“Our people work extremely hard. Finding time or opportunity whilst on a break or outside of work to re-balance is important, and we will continue to promote wellbeing for all our people in a multitude of ways. The team have set things up like walking groups and other activities to support themselves in work/life balance and building up mental resilience.”
Mental health will affect more than 1 in 4 people. If you are suffering in silence, please speak to a colleague, a friend or if you prefer an anonymous call to the Good Samaritans on 116 123 from any phone.