Derek Louttit – Clinical Governance Manager

I was a Staff Nurse in an A&E Department, but was attracted to joining the Ambulance Service due to the diverse type of work involved, and liked the idea of being left to figure out how to best care for a patient as part of a crew and get them to hospital. Prior to applying, I went out on some Observer shifts with local Crews. The staff who took me out still work on frontline A&E duties, which says a lot for them and the Service. My previous experience as a Nurse has often been useful within the Service. I enjoyed working as a Nurse, but have never regretted joining the Service.

Career so far
I joined in 1993. I had been willing to start off in the Patient Transport Service but was offered a position on a Technician Course at the old 'Redlands' National Training Centre. I took a huge gamble as I took a drop in pay to do so, and had to resign from my nursing post with no guarantee that I would pass the Basic Course. Many people thought it would be easy for a Staff Nurse, but as I said on day one of the Course, I was learning a whole new job and was no better qualified than my colleagues from the Patient Transport Service. Since joining I have held the following positions:

  • Ambulance Technician - Glasgow East Ambulance Station
  • Paramedic - Glasgow East Ambulance Station
  • HEMS Paramedic
  • Paramedic - Hamilton Ambulance Station
  • Paramedic Team Leader - Hamilton Ambulance Station (Bronze Commander qualified / Also worked in On Call SORT Team)
  • Area Service Manager - Glasgow (Silver Commander qualified)
  • Clinical Governance Manager - West Central Division (Silver Commander qualified)

Typical day

If I'm not going straight to any external or national meetings, I head to my office at Divisional Headquarters. As I am a manager, I have a response kit in my car, as well as incident management equipment. As well as having a Radio and personal Call sign, I have a vehicle tracker which I activate when I get into my car by calling the Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre who show me as available on the Command & Control System. They can then respond me either as an Incident Officer to manage an emergency, or can see that I may be near an emergency call and could attend.
I do spend a lot of time on my laptop, but the advantage is that I can access multiple systems on it to help me in my role. These include live access to the Command & Control system, access to Incident Reports from staff, and access to electronic Patient Report Forms. I used to have to ask someone to manually search a filing cabinet for these forms. I can now access them in seconds.
I dial in to a daily Divisional Conference Call every morning. This allows me to have an overview of what is happening in the Division, and allows me to communicate with all the other Divisional managers about any priority issues.
On a Divisional basis, meetings I attend include partnership meetings with staff side colleagues, Divisional Management Team, and Senior Divisional Management Team meetings. Twice a year with the Senior Divisional managers, I attend the Divisional Accountability Review with the Service's Executive Team chaired by the Chief Executive. 
Nationally, I represent the Division at the National Clinical Governance Group which is chaired by the Medical Director, and attend various other ongoing National project groups.
Agency meetings are extremely diverse and I work very closely with Police, Fire & Rescue, Social Work, Scottish Government, Crown Office, Voluntary Aid Societies, and all manner of specialist Medical & Nursing colleagues covering topics like Trauma, Stroke, Heart Disease and Diabetes. I can end up attending two or three such meetings in a day.
Once I do get home, I may be on call overnight for the Division to attend any serious incidents such as road traffic collisions or fires, or also for example, if a member of staff is injured or assaulted to support them.

As well as being on call, I also cover large public events in the Division such as football matches and large music events. We work alongside our colleagues in the British Red Cross and St Andrews First Aid who are all volunteers and do a fantastic job.                           
Job satisfaction

I really enjoy working alongside so many committed individuals. There are serving frontline A&E and PTS staff who have been working since I was at primary school. I have huge respect for them.

I also enjoy the sheer variety of the work we do alongside so many different agencies and services. In my current post I have the opportunity to influence the care delivered to the people of Scotland. 

What next

I enjoy what I am doing just now, partly because I still manage to have contact with patients and staff alike. Having said that, my role has developed at a very fast pace since I commenced it two years ago, and I suspect an opportunity will present itself before I have figured out what I'd like to do next. I always tell staff that if they really want to develop themselves and apply their energies to the right things, opportunities will come along. I have done some amazing things during my time in the Service including:

  • landing on the beach at night on Barra in the Islander Air Ambulance plane
  • being 'dunked' upside down in a helicopter underwater escape tank as part of my HEMS training
  • undertaking CBRN Decontamination, and Major Incident training with our National Risk and Resilience Department
  • seeing Patients leave Hospital alive who's chances of survival were very slim (A Consultant once told me and my colleague that based on the photograph that Fire & Rescue provided of a crash, she didn't know how we managed to extricate the patient alive, let alone without paralysing them as they had so many serious injuries)  
  • working with Strathclyde Police on their 'Bikesafe' programme for the last 12 years.............

The list is endless. I look forward to the next challenge.......