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London Ambulance Service thanks Waterloo volunteers keeping people safe over Christmas

The London Ambulance Service is shining a spotlight on its staff and volunteers who are working over Christmas this year.

Thibault Martin-Lagardette and Saman Al-Sahab are both emergency responders who spend part of their time volunteering from the ambulance service’s Waterloo centre.

Thibault volunteers for the ambulance service alongside his job as a software engineer.

He said: “I joined because I always liked helping others around me, and I thought being an ER would help me have a direct impact on people’s lives.
“I knew I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t expect how much I’d enjoy being able to help people when they are at their most vulnerable – it is a truly rewarding experience. And sometimes, we even get to be the difference between a life saved and a life lost.”

Thibault will be working in the afternoon of Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year – as well overnight on New Year’s Eve.

He usually goes back to France to spend time with his family but has chosen to stay in London this year.

Thibault added: “This is my second year volunteering over Christmas. It is a special time for many people, and I particularly connect to its spirit of giving and sharing.

“While most people enjoy some great family time, some may not be as lucky. By volunteering over Christmas, I am giving and sharing my personal time to help the unlucky few. I can’t think of anything more in the spirit of Christmas than that!”

Saman Al-Sahab

Saman is a medical student who has volunteered for the ambulance service for two years.

He said: “I love the social side of the Emergency Responder scheme, working with close friends in the car as well as getting to know the local ambulance crews. I also enjoy thinking on my feet and not knowing what the day is going to bring, especially the most important decision of the day: where we’re going for food!

“Most importantly, it’s very rewarding to be able to help patients.”

Saman worked a few shifts over Christmas and New Year in 2020 and this year has worked throughout December and between Christmas and New Year.

He added: “Everyone is generally in good spirits and there’s a lovely festive atmosphere among staff and volunteers, and it’s nice to get around and see all the Christmas decorations over London.

“An increase in visitors coming to London, as well as shorter, colder days, also bring additional challenges and it’s still just as rewarding to be able to help patients and those close to them.

“I’m looking forward to another year volunteering as an ER as the scheme continues to grow from strength to strength.”

Daniel Elkeles, London Ambulance Service chief executive, thanked the volunteers and staff.

He said: “Our staff and volunteers are there for Londoners who need us, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“They are an absolute credit to London Ambulance Service and to our city, and I would like to say a big thank you to each and every one of them for everything they are doing, not just at Christmas but every other day of the year.”

There are a few things everyone can do to help ambulance service workers over Christmas.

For urgent medical help when it’s not an emergency, please go to NHS111 online first. If your medical concern is urgent and you use the 111 service, you’ll get the support you need.

You should also make sure you have all the medication you need over the Christmas period.

And if you are drinking alcohol please don’t drink so much that you need an ambulance.



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