Retired paramedic on how he answered pandemic call
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
For many people, semi-retirement means taking a step back from duties and having more time to relax.
But for Michael Lord it has meant being as busy as ever and volunteering during the coronavirus pandemic, including playing a vital role in the vaccine roll out.
Mr Lord, 62, from Northrepps, in north Norfolk, joined the NHS as a nurse covering Cromer and Kelling in 1981.
Four years later he decided to move into emergency medicine and joined the ambulance service, qualifying as a state registered paramedic in 1993.
In the following years he moved up through the ranks to become a team leader and senior paramedic.
When the service decided to launch a rapid response vehicle team, he led the project becoming responsible for vehicles in Cromer and Norwich and has stayed working in rapid response ever since.
Mr Lord said working in healthcare ran in the family: "I always wanted to do it.
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"My mum was a nurse, my sister, a health visitor, it's something that is in our family and now my daughter is a mental health nurse."
He said he enjoyed working in the rapid response vehicles: "There were only ambulances at that time, there were no single vehicles.
"We all worked out of ambulances but they decided that they needed to get to jobs quicker when the government bought in the eight minutes call times."
Mr Lord took semi-retirement when he turned 60, but it didn't see him slow down.
He went part-time, working with the rapid response team one day a week while also volunteering at race days in Yarmouth and Fakenham.
Then, when the coronavirus outbreak hit, Mr Lord stepped up again offering his services as a bank driver for the ambulance service moving vehicles around the region to ensure they were serviced and maintained for service.
During the height of the second lockdown, the ambulance service decided it needed to be ready for a potential surge in virus cases, so Mr Lord took to the road again and drove around the country collecting vehicles and bringing them back to Norfolk so they could be recommissioned and made ready in case of a second wave.
He has also used his medical skills to help deliver the coronavirus vaccine by vaccinating more than 200 people at the Cromer Medical Practice.
Mr Lord said it was in his nature to work and he found it hard not to be busy:
"I've always been a worker, always," he said.
"I like the diversity of different jobs and different roles, a bit of this and a bit of that. I would rather be working than be twiddling my thumbs.
"I've always worked and I find it very hard not to, that's my Achilles' heel, it's one of those jobs where it's very hard to just stop.
"I have gradually reduced my hours and taken other sorts of roles within the community and that's helped rather than just stopping. I don't think I cold ever just stop and be retired - I need that motivation."
Mr Lord said he had seen many changes in emergency care and the role of paramedics during his career.
He said everything from the number of drugs paramedics carried in ambulances to the type and variation of care provided by paramedics had changed.
He said: "When I first started you were sent to a job, you took [the patient] to hospital and that was it and it has grown from there."
Mr Lord said what had kept him in the job was "the difference you can make to someone" and having spent most of his career in north Norfolk, he liked knowing he was making a difference to the community he lived in.
He said: "Everyone knows me. I joined the Cromer station in 1985, then transferred to Hellesdon as the new boy, the young man of about 26-years - now I'm the old boy!"