Art 💙🏳️‍🌈

Ambulances & Programming

The Ones We Remember

999

Content note: trauma, graphic description

“What’s the worst call you’ve ever had?”

Don’t be that person. I’ll give you one of my pre-prepared Funny Calls™, and then be very wary of ever talking to you about my job again. The honest answer is the one that’ll leave you wondering if I’ve lost my mind and all sense of normality, and how I’m still doing the job. It’s the same for everyone in the emergency services.

Read More

Building Codidact: Not Just Tech

dev

I’ve been working on Codidact for the last 18 months or so. We’ve built up from nothing, planned what we wanted to do, put systems up, started work, changed course, re-started work, switched systems, and welcomed and lost a whole load of team members along the way. We’ve served just under 5 million requests and 50GB of data in the last month — which is not vast scale, but it’s certainly much bigger scale than anything else anyone on our team has worked with. We’ve all learned a lot along the way: our team is still small, and we’ve all got other commitments; while everyone has things they’re good at, we’ve all had to learn bits of other areas to be able to support each other as well.

codidact sysadmin scale team-building
Read More

Mental Health and 999 — not always the best way

999

Content note: mental health, suicide

Mental health is often spoken about as though it’s one cohesive, neatly-packaged topic, in the same way that a physical illness like “breathing difficulties” might be. When mental health and ambulance services end up on the news, the common refrain is that “mental health calls to 999 are on the rise”. Which… is not wrong, but it’s like saying “calls to 999 for medical conditions are on the rise” — it’s not specific enough to talk about such a broad topic. What kind of medical conditions? What kind of mental health conditions?

mental-health misconceptions
Read More

Not an Emergency — or the "999 doesn't think I'm worth it" effect

999

I’ve written before about public misconceptions when calling 999. I had planned to touch on this there, but there’s enough nuance and detail that it deserves its own post.

When you call an ambulance, your call is triaged based on your current condition. If it’s not critical, an ambulance may not be sent — instead, you’ll be directed to contact 111 for further assessment or advice, or to talk to your GP or make your own way to hospital. This can sometimes come across as though the operators at 999, or the ambulance service in general, doesn’t care about your problem; the reality is exactly the opposite.

non-emergency urgent-care 111
Read More

Misconceptions about calling 999

999

People call 999 for all sorts of reasons. Most calls are genuine, even if misguided; fortunately, it’s only a very small number of calls that are made in bad faith.

That said, we can’t handle everything. Folks often see 999 as being the one-stop shop to call to Deal With It when the proverbial has hit the fan, which isn’t always the case. Sometimes we’re not trained to handle something. Sometimes we don’t have the right access. Sometimes we’re not the right service.

So here we have: Common Public Misconceptions About Calling 999.

emergency misconceptions
Read More

Working with hierarchical data structures in Rails

dev

As many grizzled veterans of relational databases will know, managing hierarchical data structures is hard. A database just isn’t the right tool for the job  —  but, in many cases, it’s the tool that’s available. Sometimes the only tool. Environments in which you can’t control your stack or your backing stores are common, especially outside of open source projects, which leaves developers in a mess when the need to store a hierarchy crops up halfway through a project.

rails databases
Read More