“Yes, I think my family are proud”

Paramedic Tom Waters on going to Sierra Leone.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic, who has just flown out to Sierra Leone says that although he’s nervous, says being able to work in such circumstance is some of the most rewarding type of care you can give.

Tom Waters is one of two members of staff who are now making final preparations before starting to treat patients in the West African country. Tom, along with Lichfield based paramedic, Gerard Kelly are among 30 NHS staff who flew out over the weekend.

About 1,000 NHS staff volunteered and have been through the selection and training programme in Yorkshire. They will work in treatment centres being built by the UK military and run by charities.

Speaking before he went, Tom said: “I’ve done some volunteering in Cambodia in the past and I found it to be the most rewarding type of care. This opportunity has arisen where I really think I can make a difference. I’ve got enough support from my family and my girlfriend, even though I’ll miss her birthday, and they’ve encouraged me to do this; I’d really like to make a difference and help people.

“We will get a lot of support from the military and NHS but one of the challenges will be the sheer volume of patients that we’ll actively have to treat. This includes lots of children who are getting badly dehydrated and struggling with this.

“The other big challenges will be the temperature and climate; the workload will also be very intense and stressful and wearing the PPE all the time in a hot climate can be quite demanding.”

Tom is currently a critical care paramedic who works on the Midlands Air Ambulance based at Cosford flying with doctors to trauma patients across the whole of the West Midlands.

The 27 year old has been a paramedic for seven years after graduating from Coventry University. He has also been based in Telford and Birmingham.

Front page pic: Ultra-violet screening for potentially Ebola-carrying liquids (c) UK Department for International Development