Ex chef and pub landlord of 34 years, Paul Grimshaw suffered a stroke 23 years ago. With other ongoing health challenges, Paul knew it was time to do something drastic to change his lifestyle. First, he lost five stone in weight, but not content with this, his next step was to find a job that was better for his long-term health. Portering at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury gave him this new lease of life.
Five years in and another three stone lighter and does he still enjoy working at Fairfield? Paul said “I love my job, no day is the same. People think we just push patients around the hospital when we are actually the life blood of this hospital. The hidden workforce that keeps our hospitals going”.
Paul took time out of his extremely busy schedule to show communications what it is really like to be a porter. There are multiple jobs on the porters “to do” app at any one time. Each job can take an average of 13 minutes and walk between 12 -15 miles a day – Paul’s record is 21.8 miles in one day! That’s the equivalent of walking Brazil’s coastline in one year.
Everything from moving items such as oxygen cylinders to the safe store outside, clinical and standard waste to the right place, seeking out the many different patient “trolleys”, designated to different specialisms, each trolley with their different types of steering (complicated for us newbies in training) to yes, moving and guiding patients to where they should be, at the right time, all with constant reassurance. This is no mean feat when there are so many other factors that can stop or delay this. Everyone knew Paul and Paul knew everyone, and what a lovely rapport he had with them.
A typical day’s shift for Paul starts at 7am and finishes at 6.30pm. And I can safely say, every bit of my time with Paul was spent grafting. There was no downtime, because even when he was going from one location to another, if he saw a “cage” he would be moving these to the next place they should be to help other staff be able to do their jobs more efficiently.
One of his last comments Paul said to me before I went back to my desk job was, “I know my shift starts at 7am, but I’m normally here from 6am”. Paul is a shining example of someone who goes above and beyond to do his work, brilliantly. I left feeling inspired - we can’t be without people like Paul.