Mask on, seal over the nose to stop glasses misting up so much. Apron on (always easier with gloves on), feels flimsy especially in the wind, doesn’t feel like it will protect much. Visor on or is the patient low risk? How many more times am I going to put this all on?

The beginning of shift routine is to check if we have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This involves checking stores, asking managers, raiding dormant ambulances. As relief staff (not on a fixed shift pattern) you go to different stations. Each station has differing policies; some have personal issue PPE, some are ambulance specific. As relief you end up pilfering PPE to protect yourself as you might end up without.

The only certainty is change. Which PPE do I use with which patient with which procedure? What’s the policy at each ambulance station? What’s the procedure and policy with each of the hospitals we go to (anywhere up to 4 different hospitals in a shift)? With each of these a daily change is unsurprising, though things have stabilised.

Where staff haven’t had the right PPE they are put into unreasonable situations, protect yourself or attempt to try save someone else’s life. There have been cases of people refusing to attend jobs. There have been those putting themselves at risk. Either way it’s a failure of the systems. Whether it’s the Government not taking advice to prepare for potential pandemics because its too expensive, they’ll just put a sticker over out of date equipment. To enforced competition between NHS trust’s where we should be working together not separately.    

Lockdown begins, doesn’t feel much different as we keep going to work. Keep seeing our regulars, though now they’ve developed a “cough”. Friday / Saturday night in the city centre feeling eerily quiet. Crews seemingly the same as always a mixture of pessimism and humour, even once colleagues started showing symptoms and being hospitalised. “We’ll do what we always do, we’ll make do and adapt”.

The public remark you must be so busy. To be honest the failing system was already failing. All-be-it we can only attend one job at a time the cracks were already showing. 9 hours on the go without a break. Crews have used employer fatigue policies to then “down tools” and leave their 10 or 11 hour shifts early, not without risk of retribution but a standard days work has already been done. How long until the good will during the pandemic starts to push everyone beyond the limit.

Is the virus really that deadly? For some, yes. Walking away from a 49-year-old male, normally fit and well whom we took to the resuscitation bay (whilst the patient was twiddling his thumbs). The consultant glancing at his blood gas results “might as well book him an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) bed” with almost no hope in their voice. You start thinking he’s probably not going to make it. Time for our next patient.

Alcohol gel the gloves, take gloves off, alcohol gel hands, apron off, alcohol gel hands, mask off, wash hands. Wandering if I’ve cross-infected myself, what do I need to clean, what have touched? How long will this go on for? How many donning and doffing will I do? No point counting.

Reduced Life = Reduced Work (The Work/Life Balance)

Applause is lauded at NHS workers; ideas for re-compensation; a daily service supplement; an increased hourly rate; even a medal for working during the pandemic. Many of us in the NHS work shifts - day and night - throughout the year. It is not just a virus that killing us, our shift work is too. The World Health Organisation declared in 2007 that shift work is probably carcinogenic (Straif et al 2007 #1). Studies such as Gu et al (2015 #2) have shown us that shift work, especially nights increases our risks of cardio vascular disease, mental health issues, lower immunity, cancer and ultimately our mortality.

Rather than working our life away for minimal financial compensation would we not rather have our life given back? Striking a better work / life balance: a reduced working week without being financially penalised.

Donning and Doffing - on the front lines

Mask on, seal over the nose to stop glasses misting up so much. Apron on (always easier with gloves on), feels flimsy especially in the wind, doesn’t feel like it will protect much. Visor on or is the patient low risk? How many more times am I going to put this all on?The beginning of shift routine is to check if we have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This involves checking stores, asking managers, raiding dormant ambulances. As relief staff (not on a fixed shift pattern) you go to different stations. Each station has differing policies; some have personal issue PPE, some are ambulance specific. As relief you end up pilfering PPE to protect yourself as you might end up without.

Sun 19 Apr 7pm, Edinburgh Benefit Gig & Cinema shows in Solidarity with Anarchists Against Repression in Spain. Banshee Labyrinth EH1 1LG

Sun 19 Apr 7pm, Edinburgh Benefit Gig & Cinema shows in Solidarity with Anarchists Against Repression in Spain. Banshee Labyrinth EH1 1LG www.facebook.com/events/579856092149684/

also join us Fri 17 April 12noon - Edinburgh Solidarity Protest against Ley Mordaza and to demand all 'Operación Pandora' charges in Spain are dropped www.facebook.com/events/796730227077630/

• to raise awareness about the repressive reforms such as Operación Pandora, Operación Piñata, Penal Code Reform (more anti-union laws) and Ley Mordaza (the Gag Law) which will attempt to criminalise working class self-organisation and self-defence in favour of capitalism and state coercion.

8 March 2015 International Working Women's Day - Not the Church, Not the State, Women will Decide their Fate!

To commemorate International Working Women's Day for today 8th March 2015, Edinburgh Solidarity Federation members supported the event of local feminist group These Hysterical Women [1] which was a public gathering and exhibition held at Bristo Square to remind everyone that gender equality has not been reached.

The exhibition of "why I am a feminist..." comments were written by those attended and hosting the event. Following the exhibit was a performance by Rhythms of Resistance Samba band and then a brief speech (extract):

Fri 6 Mar 12noon - Edinburgh Solidarity Protest - against 'Ley Mordaza' (Gag Law) and to demand all 'Operación Pandora' charges in Spain are dropped

Solidarity Protest
MEET: Spanish Consulate, 63 North Castle St, Edinburgh EH2 3LJ
FRIDAY 6 March 2015 – FROM 12:00noon

13 people facing trial just for being anarchists.

On 16/12/14 the Catalan police broke into 14 houses and social centres, destroying and stealing everything of value. 11 comrades were charged by a high court and 7 spent more than a month in prison.

On 29/01/15, the 7 imprisoned comrades were released but the state accuses all 11 (plus the 2 anarchists locked up for more than a year) of being members of a terrorist group, thus reaffirming its intention to treat everyone who questions it as a terrorist.

Addresses of the imprisoned comrades:

Sun 8 Feb 7pm - Film showing - 'Cuitat Morta' [Dead City] (documentary) at The Banshee Labyrinth, EH1 1LG

Film showing -

'Cuitat Morta' [Dead City]
(documentary, with english subtitles)

Sunday 7pm, 8 February 2015
The Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LG

No Charge https://www.facebook.com/events/807425185972477
see the whole film on youtube: http://youtu.be/U1xaX7tF-lU

[ see also: Fri 6 Feb 12noon - Edinburgh Solidarity Protest - Drop the Charges against the Anarchists detained for their beliefs by ‘Operación Pandora’ in Spain https://www.facebook.com/events/884685758228689 ]

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Fri 6 Feb 12noon - Edinburgh Solidarity Protest - Drop the Charges against the Anarchists detained for their beliefs by ‘Operación Pandora’ in Spain

Solidarity Protest
MEET: Spanish Consulate, 63 North Castle St, Edinburgh EH2 3LJ
FRIDAY 6 Feb – FROM 12:00noon

HARASSED! CHARGED! IMPRISONED! FOR BEING ANARCHISTS! by ‘operación Pandora’  in Spain

‘Un movimiento que olvida a sus presos está condenado a la derrota’
‘A movement that forgets its prisoners is doomed to defeat’

Fri 23 Jan 12noon - Edinburgh Solidarity Protest - Free the 7 Anarchists detained for their political beliefs by ‘Operación Pandora’ in Spain

Solidarity Protest - Free the 7 Anarchists detained for their political beliefs by ‘Operación Pandora’ in Spain

MEET: Spanish Consulate, 63 North Castle St, Edinburgh EH2 3LJ
FRIDAY 23 JAN – FROM 12:00noon-2pm

We will begin handing out flyers and raising awareness about the prisoners before and after - please get involved and join us!

On 16/12/2014 the Mossos, Catalan police stormed 14 homes and community centers, destroying and stealing everything they could find of value. Without making any specific accusations and acting in complete secrecy, 11 anarchists were transferred to the National Court in Madrid. 4 were released two days later - and 7 have ended up in prison, one is a member of the CNT-AIT Union. They are all facing secretive Court proceedings.

Fri 16 Jan 10am - Edinburgh Solidarity Protest - Free the 7 Anarchists detained by ‘Operación Pandora’ in Spain

On 16/12/2014 the Mossos, a specialist police squad in Spain stormed 14 homes and community centers, destroying and stealing everything they could find of value. Without making any specific accusations and acting in complete secrecy, 11 anarchists were transferred to the National Court. 4 were released two days later - and 7 have ended up in prison, one is a member of the CNT-AIT Union. They all facing secretive Court proceedings.

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