Friday, 29 March 2013

Book review: Sirens

Sirens was a Channel 4 comedy-drama a couple of years ago, that was pretty good but got cancelled after one series. I enjoyed it enough to give the  original book a go when it was on a cheap kindle deal. As it turns out the inspiration for the TV show was a pretty loose one, Tom Reynolds' book is actually a compilation of his blog about working as a paramedic, mainly in an ambulance but sometimes in a fast-response car on his own. And in fact this TV tie-in edition is a double volume of Reynolds' two Blood Sweat and Tea books, collected under the title Sirens.

So not entirely what I was expecting but an interesting read all the same, and as I mainly do my reading in small chunks on public transport anyway, the blog post format was a quite good match to that and I could read a couple of  unconnected incidents from his shifts at a time. (Now why isn't there a lucrative market for publishing out-of-date online theatre reviews?) It's a pretty informative book, and though Reynolds seems to love his job deep down, it mainly causes frustration. It's saddening how the majority of calls are time-wasting in one way or another, and that even the existence of fast-response cars that can get to an incident faster than an ambulance isn't actually primarily for the sake of saving lives (a vehicle being small enough to get through traffic quickly also means it's too small to carry any significant amount of equipment) but to meet the government response-time targets that decide whether a service gets more funding or not, irrespective of how well the actual work is being done.

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