A family affair

18 January 2011, 15:58 | Updated: 18 January 2011, 16:18

Bletchley residents Glyn Davies (84), his son Gary (55) and grand daughter Megan (22) have between them notched up 72 years service working for the local ambulance service.

What’s more Gary’s father-in-law and Megan’s other grand father, Andy Aitken, who sadly died in 1999, also worked for the local ambulance service for 17 years.

Andy sold his milk delivery business in 1970 and joined the then Buckinghamshire Ambulance Service as a Driver / Attendant. He became a Leading Ambulance man and won the Association of Chief Ambulance Officers’ Award before retiring in March 1987 after 17 years service. Gary married the youngest of Andy’s three daughters in 1979.

Glyn moved from Acton to Bletchley with a job on the railways, didn’t enjoy the work and joined the then Buckinghamshire Ambulance Service in 1955 where he worked from 8.00am to 6.00pm for wages of £12 a week. It was rare to get a job at
night and back then Doctors, not patients, called an ambulance. The stations’ 3 Bedford ambulances were called Bertie, Frank and Benjamin. The station also boasted 2 black cars called Clara and Charlie together with another Bedford utility vehicle named Zebra. The duty officer was provided with a telephone so they may be called if required. A 4 shift system was introduced in 1958.

Glyn remembers his interview for Duty Officer:

‘A colleague was smoking, threw his dog end out of the window and it landed on the Chief Ambulance Officer’s lovely new car – boy did he move! Only one incident in my career really worried me. I’d gone home for lunch, parked the ambulance outside my bungalow and gone inside to put the kettle on. Glancing back at the window, I noticed the vehicle was gone. I dashed outside to find it had come to rest against the kerb across the road. I always checked the handbrake was properly applied after that.

‘Back then we had very little equipment and no oxygen. It was a case of ‘load and go’ and there was no paperwork to fill. Overtime was a crime and if you spent too much time at any hospital you were always asked what effort you had made to get back to base.’

Glyn retired in 1990 after 35 years in the service.

Gary Davies, an Ambulance Technician at Milton Keynes Resource Centre, has worked for the local ambulance service for 36 years and remembers the time when treating patients was simply a case of First Aid and away to hospital. Today’s
ambulance service personnel are still as highly regarded (97% approval rating) as they ever were, but are now highly trained clinicians providing a rapid response to medical emergencies and mobile healthcare around the clock throughout the year
of a standard their predecessors could only have dreamed of.

When Gary Davies began his career with the ambulance service back in the 1970’s it was not unheard of for an ambulance to be used by staff to transport bedding plants, cookers, a Christmas tree for the station or even a moped in addition to
conveying patients!

Gary recalls two of his earliest experiences of working for the local ambulance service:

‘One day I had an accident and was knocked off my moped on the way to work. An ambulance was called. The crew loaded myself and my injured moped into the ambulance and dropped my moped off at my home en route to taking me to A&E in Northampton. Thankfully neither myself nor the moped was badly damaged!’

‘On another occasion during the potato shortage I was driving an 8-seater Patient Transport bus picking up patients in the Bletchley area and taking them to their hospital out patient appointments in Oxford. I told them I could get them half a hundred weight of spuds for a fiver. We stopped at a farm on the way back and left the farmer with a broad grin on his face with 9 ½ hundred weight sacks of potatoes and myself together with 8 very happy patients in the vehicle. We’ve always cared for our patients, but are now, thanks to the on-going training we receive, so much better equipped to care for them using the latest clinical procedures to ensure they get the best possible outcome.’

Gary’s daughter Megan completed 5 weeks training, including a 2-week driving course as an Ambulance Care Assistant with South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust in October 2010 and is now working out of the Trust’s Stoke Mandeville
Resource Centre and with patients requiring Dialysis in High Wycombe.

Megan Davies said:

‘Training involved First Aid, the recovery position, resuscitation using a defibrillator, learning about the Trust’s commitment to Equality and Diversity and getting to grips with a huge amount of paperwork. I work from 7.00am to 8.00pm 3 days a week, love the job and am building lasting friendships with regular patients.’