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Coronavirus West Berkshire: Thatcham Wiltshire Air Ambulance paramedic praises community response

“I have never known anything like this"

A WEST Berkshire paramedic has praised the community response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Critical care paramedic with Wiltshire Air Ambulance Paul Rock is a member of Newbury and District Hackspace, which has been making personal protective gear for local hospitals and care homes.

Mr Rock said: “I think this is such an amazing thing what we are doing and what we can provide, especially to carers.

“It’s amazing to help these care staff and people who are vulnerable at the moment.”

Mr Rock lives in Thatcham with his wife Victoria and four daughters.

He has been a member of Hackspace, a community group specialising in engineering and computing solutions, for two years.

He said: “It’s a great bunch of guys. I use it to make a few things for my work and a few keyrings for the girls.”

Mr Rock said that shifts with the air ambulance were long and sometimes stressful, but he did as many hours as he could at Hackspace to help out.

“Just a simple thing like this can make a massive difference,” he said.

“If there’s anyone out there who can supply products please give it.”

Mr Rock has been with the NHS for 19 years, having worked for South Central Ambulance Service, where his wife works, and now South Western Ambulance Service.

From South Africa, Mr Rock worked for the fire department in a township and said of coronavirus: “I have never known anything like this.

“This makes working in a township look like a walk in the park.”

He said: “It’s stressful, but we have adapted as a team.

“We have come together, we work very hard together, we look after each other.

“It’s not just the job, it’s the mental health side as well.

“We have had to adapt to fight in this new environment.”

On top of his critical care work Mr Rock has been transferring intensive care unit (ICU) patients from hospitals to major trauma hospitals to free up ICU beds.

“It’s a big demand on us and our families,” he said.

“We have got four girls. My wife is a paramedic too.

“We have a job and we love what we do and I couldn’t be prouder to work for the NHS and it’s good to give back.”

When asked about levels of PPE, Mr Rock said: “From my point of view, we have adequate PPE and it’s a good level.

“I obviously work for NHS air ambulance. I know there’s enough kit for us at the moment.

“This pandemic has taken a big amount of resources and people.”

Mr Rock praised communities across the country and supermarkets for their support of key workers.

He said: “It’s great to see that the community are behind us, not just the NHS.

“It’s lovely that you appreciate – one thing we sometimes forget is fuel and supermarket deliveries of stuff that we need.”

He said early shopping hours for key workers and vulnerable people had made a huge difference, freeing up time between shifts and being able to spend valuable time with his family.

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