Sunday, 26 April 2015

Meeting Edmund Daly: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish


On Friday, I had the opportunity to meet Edmund Daly, the former LAS paramedic at the centre of the controversy which has triggered a national outcry about the treatment of ambulance clinicians. He told me the details of his story.

In 2005, Eddie Daly won 'Accident & Emergency Person of the Year'
But more than that, we chatted about many things; his welfare, his interests and life after the ambulance service. Even now, after all he's been put through, he was clearly a polite, gentle and caring professional. It was quite evident from my time with Eddie that he was every bit the man that had been described so effusively by his many former colleagues who have reached out to me.

It is for those people - and for Eddie - that I write this blogpost.

A chief concern, and part of the reason I wanted to meet Eddie, was to ensure that he was okay. With his name appearing in national press and the storm that has followed, reports of Eddie's frailty gave cause to be worried about his well-being. Was our use of his name causing him distress? Could we be damaging whatever solace he had found for himself since his rejection by the service which had been his life for three decades?

Thankfully, he was quick to express his gratitude for all the efforts being made in his name. He explained that he had been moved to learn that he hasn't just been forgotten and that there are those who empathise and support him. He is happy for us to carry on and recognises that how he has been treated will happen to others unless that culture is challenged. He has even given me permission to tell his story in full, and I will just as soon as I've worked through my copious notes and approached other relevant parties for balance.

It was my initial impression that Eddie was more frustrated and confused by his treatment than angry and bitter, although the full spectrum of those emotions were undoubtedly in there too. Despite it all, he still retained a warm, amiable manner even while relating some truly horrendous details which have had a terrible, lasting impact on his life. He is still troubled by those. This gave me some insight into how I imagine his demeanour would have been on even the most demanding of attendances. I've been fortunate to have worked with a few paramedics with similar traits, the kind everyone respects and tries to emulate. But they are rare. The rest of us just do the best we can.

As Eddie and I sat on a bench outside King's Cross Station, drinking coffee and eating a MacDonalds, he told me about his career. He started working for the ambulance service in 1984 and was among the first generation of paramedics in the early 1990s. His passion for the job and his desire to help people was apparent and genuine. It was little wonder he became a team leader responsible for the tutelage and welfare of junior clinicians. Even now, as he tries to come to terms with life after his career, he is putting himself back into the service of others as a care assistant (after a brief period doing security work which he didn't take to).

He misses many aspects of his paramedic life and still spoke fondly of many work colleagues and of his sideline as 'the guy who looked after the fish'. As an avid keeper of marine life at home, Eddie enjoyed maintaining the fish tanks at a number of LAS stations (if anyone could report that they are still healthy, I'm sure Eddie would be glad to read it).

He misses it, but assures me he has moved on and wouldn't go back if he could. He would, however, like to clear his name.

To summarise our encounter, Eddie Daly came across as a thoroughly decent man. He is quite clearly a credit to the paramedic name and was so to the London Ambulance Service. Any service would be lucky to have him. It is my opinion that his career coming to an end in the manner that it did is a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. Everything I have learned from Eddie and a number of other sources makes it very difficult to grasp how it could have come to this.

But it did.

Many questions remain and I intend to find answers, for the good of the paramedic profession and most importantly, for Eddie.

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15 comments:

  1. Eddie was a truly amazing paramedic! As a student he was always there for me, helping me through all the tough moments early on in my career. I will always hold him in very high esteem! P.s the fish are still alive and doing well. Xx

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  2. I properly met Eddie after the Camberwell fire, during the debrief. I had met home before but only to nod a greeting not to chat to. But that day after that fire after that debrief I was truely humbled. It is disappointing that my service has taken this action.

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  3. Eddie is a great Paramedic, a true gent, we had good times when we met, never ignored you, bullied by management.

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  4. The reason this story initially struck a chord with me, (and likely other paramedics), was that I felt this certainly could have been me. Also, is it right that someone should lose their job for working 11 hours without a break after raising their concerns over this very point?

    I do not know Eddie, but your articles and comments from others who do know him have confirmed my suspicions that 'if it can happen to Eddie, it can happen to anyone'.

    The other case of the paramedic disciplined for not booking mobile fast enough because the vehicle was not equipped at the start of the shift has also struck a chord, things need to change to stop those in charge from decimating the paramedic profession.

    Well done Mat in meeting Eddie and following this up.

    Je Suis Eddie!

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  5. I am very pleased that you have written this post and plan to write a more thorough account in the future. I used to work in an NHS ambulance service and met a handful of paramedics and technicians who sound just like Eddie. I know of one who, after 40 years NHS service was treated in a simarly disgusting manner, although kept their registration but ill health following the incident forced them to retire on medical grounds.

    I was but a junior of 11 years in the NHS when the constant mismanagement, bullying and blame culture became too much for me and I was forced to resign to keep my sanity and health. In order to continue working in the profession, I had to leave the country as even seeing the ambulances on which I used to work made me angry. What made it worse was, by leaving the country in order to keep my sanity, I lost the opportunity to take the service to tribunal as I couldn't guarantee attendance at the necessary hearings. It pains me that I could do nothing to stop what was going on for those that are left, but, I could not remain tied to a service that had made several years of my life so difficult when I had a fantastic opportunity outside the UK. I now work with someone who knew Eddie and the description of a true gent is what is recalled.

    I hope that Eddie can look back on his time in LAS and be proud of what he achieved and the impact he clearly had on those who mattered - patients and his colleagues, who speak so highly of him he is now respected throughout the UK and beyond. I can only hope he becomes remembered as some sort of martyr, that his story is the turning point for ambulance staff across the country. The poor treatment must stop before any more people suffer. I am sure Eddie will find his life easier/less stressful/healthier now he has moved on. Onwards and upwards!

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  6. I had the jot of working with Eddie many years ago we joined about the same time me in 1980 he is the most kindest and polite man I have had the pleasure of calling a friend he may remember meas big mick from the oval he always had a smile and a kind word for everyone and im sickthat thecservice have treated him this way especially as it seems that they went out of there way to make sure that the press got this story and were only told about the bad things of which for one I do not believe but I am not surprised as after 31 years on the job I had a fall which made me disabled and I was sacked for being unable to forfill my duties no longer with no honours from the service the one thing I was looking forward to when I retired was the brass bell but when HR was asked by a colleague about this andctheleaving do grant they were told no way he was sacked as if I had broken some LAS law or had killed a patient and it took me two years to get my ill health pension without there help which I was promised by a certain B S ( only puttingbinitials of person but peoplecwill know who i mean) and suffered badly with deppression so if eddie reads this i wish you all the best for the future

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  7. Management through out the NHS are bullying staff, making lives so miserable that good staff are leaving, I to was bullied and singled out....

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  8. Simon J Hoyle6 May 2015 at 03:08

    News just in. As a result of this forum, over two dozen medics have contacted me for advice at various stages of disciplinary and tribunal proceedings. I am helping all. Tonight I received an email from a grateful old timer suffering with health deterioration. Back in 1999, I was the first in the country to prove that depression was a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in a case against East Midlands Ambulance Service. The current case victim has had his capability/dismissal hearing halted because I wrote to one of the personnel monkeys who was but a junior idiot back then warning her of a private prosecution under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 for misconduct in public office. She is now one of the directorate decision makers and on a good wage for her long term incompetence. It appears that my interjection has resulted in the dropping of disciplinary proceedings, and a new appointment with a different occupational health organisation where it is led by a doctor, not a nurse on commission for bullying the sick back to work. Lets see what happens. It might set a precedent.

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    1. Don't know if that is the same private occupational health company EEAST uses, but they provide 'telephone' physiotherapy consultations! Can't find anything on the HCPC site about telephone physiotherapy consultations? Also reports staff have been threatened to be booked fit by occy health if their sickness does not fit their funding criteria. There have also been reports of occupational health sending confidential medical details such as letters from consultants to managers and managers making inappropriate comments to staff when no one else is present during bullying sickness reviews.

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    2. In reply, someone has pointed out this freedom of information request

      https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/people_asset_management_pam#outgoing-376367

      EEAST uses PAM (People Asset Management). Reading the FOI its worse than we thought!

      Don't know if Simon has seen the whatdotheyknow.com website, but there are some interesting FOI requests, certainly seems to show similar management tactics have been going on for a while.

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    3. My experience of PAM is shocking to most but unfortunately not unusual. I had a telephone physio consultation and based on this was given exercises which made me significantly worse. They talk to you as though you are either lying or just stupid and tell you that you can't possibly have the problems that you do eventually get diagnosed with or say that those issues are not the cause of your pain. After dealing with them for a year and a half I had become so depressed as a direct effect of their treatment that I was on the brink of being medicated. If I had not paid hundreds of pounds for treatment by a very good chiropractor who solved the problem I would have lost my job. Considering this was all caused by an injury at work it is disgusting. We shouldn't be treated like this. Some of my colleagues work on in pain as they do not want to risk being referred to them, having seen their treatment of others and many colleagues have had 'treatment' that has made them worse including deep tissue massage on a fracture!

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    4. Simon how can I contact you?

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  9. Eddie was my team leader, friend and mentor for 9 years in Central London. I'd like to thank you for all your hard work and glad Eddie is doing well, as for some of those scary fish I'm not so sure. I doff my cap to you both.

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  10. Glad to hear Eddie is ok. Just yesterday I was talking to a paramedic in Northern Ireland who was on the verge of tears with fatigue and stress due to the workload. This has to stop, employers please note, you have a huge responsibility on your shoulders to look after your employees.

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  11. Regarding FOI - this one is dragging on
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/findings_of_the_bullying_review#incoming-637738

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