After an astounding 43 years with the ambulance service, Derbyshire Paramedic Thomas Bailey is clocking in for the final time.
Thomas will be leaving Buxton Station for his final shift on Saturday 25 March, as he draws his remarkable career to a close.
Thomas joined Derbyshire Ambulance Service (before it became EMAS) in September 1979, originally based at New Mills, and was one of the first in the service to undertake paramedic training.
He spent many years fighting to have additional skills added to the national paramedic role, and sought training in interosseous injection (injecting directly into bone marrow) and paediatric intubation (putting a tube into the airway of a child) long before they became part of the paramedic skillset.
In addition, Thomas became an accredited instructor to ensure that new staff received the best start to their career as possible.
Thomas said: “There is not much better than going out to help people. To be able to walk into someone’s crisis and help them so that there is a positive outcome, is a real privilege.
“My career has been successful because of the people I have met along the way who have encouraged me and supported me, and I have been very lucky to have had one good crewmate after another.”
Working in the Peak District alongside the Derbyshire Cave Rescue Organisation led Thomas to set up the EMAS Cave Rescue Support Unit in 2000, and he was one of just eight people to be trained to assist medically in many protracted and dangerous rescues. This unit was later superseded by the EMAS Hazardous Area Response Team.
On several occasions he has spent more than 24 hours underground to ensure the safety and emergency treatment of patients.
Thomas was previously the recipient of the Willetts Award after he aided in the rescue of a patient that had fallen into a large silo in a quarry, by risking his own safety and climbing into the silo to treat the patient until the full rescue team could arrive.
In 2019, Thomas was named in the New Year’s Honours List to receive the prestigious Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for Distinguished Service recognising his exceptional devotion to duty, outstanding ability, merit and conduct in his role.
Louise Barlow, Divisional Senior Manager for Derbyshire said:
"I have had the privilege of knowing Tom for a very long time his passion and commitment to patient experience has inspired many many colleagues and students, including myself. He has embraced and adapted to change throughout his career, supporting his colleagues to do the same along the way. Tom still loves being a paramedic and approaches every call with the same enthusiasm he had when I joined in 1994.
"On behalf of the Senior leadership team in Derbyshire I would like to wish Tom a very well deserved, healthy and happy retirement."
Thomas plans to spend his retirement travelling and enjoying his hobbies of fishing and shooting.