An EMAS paramedic based in Leicestershire has appeared in a BBC One documentary about healthcare workers coming to Britain from overseas to serve in the NHS.
Pavel Klim, a Paramedic and Clinical Operations Manager based at Coalville Ambulance Station, featured in Our NHS: A Hidden History shown on BBC One last night.
The documentary featured doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers from the Caribbean, Philippines, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Eastern Europe and Ireland, who have joined the NHS at different points throughout its 70-year history.
Pavel, now 30, joined EMAS in 2017 from Brno in the Czech Republic as part of our Eastern European recruitment campaign and so shared his experiences about coming across to the UK.
He said: “I always wanted to move to the UK either to study or to work – I came on a school trip when I was 14 to Brighton and London and I fell in love with England.”
Pavel trained in the Czech Republic initially as an intensive care nurse and then went on to qualify as a paramedic, working on ambulances in his home country.
However, in 2016 he saw an advert on Facebook looking for paramedics to join EMAS as part of an Eastern European recruitment campaign and jumped at the chance. Following a successful interview in Poland, three months later he moved to England and was welcomed into the EMAS family.
Alongside 43 other colleagues from across Eastern Europe, Pavel took part in a transition course with the EMAS education team to enable them to practice as a paramedic in the UK.
“Thankfully it’s very rare for me to experience discrimination because I’m from a different country as Leicester is a very multicultural place.
“Actually, as there are quite a lot of Czech and Slovakian people who have settled here, it’s been an advantage when I have gone out to help them as a paramedic. I see a relief on their faces when they realise they don’t have to try to explain what’s happening in English, they can do it in their own language.”
Pavel told the story of how last year he attended an end-of-life patient to support the ambulance crew and on arrival realised they were a Slovakian family.
He said: “It was the first time anyone had been able to explain to them, in their language and in detail, what was happening to their loved one, and I continued to do so as they passed away.
“I was three hours late off work that night, but for me it didn’t matter because it was so overwhelming to know that I made a difference to that family.”
Pavel said that it was a fantastic experience to be interviewed by the BBC for the documentary and was honoured to be able to represent both EMAS and his country in a national programme.
Our NHS: A Hidden History is now available on BBC iPlayer.