Scheduled Care Coordinator turns man's life around

A man who has spent the past seven Christmases alone after his wife died has been reunited with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) staff member who helped turn his life around.

Philip Hamilton, of Stirling, called SAS’s Scheduled Care service earlier this year to arrange transport for a hospital appointment. He spoke to Scheduled Care Coordinator Will Heggie.

While on the phone, Mr Hamilton, who is blind, told Will of his battle with loneliness since his wife Irene died, saying “he wouldn’t wish it on anyone”.

After arranging his transport, Will then spent time looking for a community group Mr Hamilton could attend in his area. After finding a weekly lunch club at Holy Trinity Church in Stirling, Will passed on their number and Mr Hamilton called them.

Mr Hamilton said: “I was so lonely and I asked Will if he knew anyone or anywhere I could get in touch with. He gave me a lady’s phone number and within five hours the lady phoned me and it’s made a difference.

“I lost my wife seven years ago, and apart from my dog and the other wee dog I had who was put down, this was the only comfort I had. I was just so lonely and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The way Will was speaking to me over the phone, I knew deep down he cares.”

Now every week, Mr Hamilton joins the Weekly Lunch Club every Thursday and added that Will has made a “Big, big difference” to his life, saying he suffers from “deep” depressions, at times struggling to get out of bed.

The Club has also promised that Mr Hamilton will not be on his own at Christmas this year. On one of the calls, Mr Hamilton is in tears, saying “I can’t thank you enough.”

He explained: “I’ve had cancer and two heart operations. You name it, I’ve had it, but I’ve come through everything. It hasn’t been easy.”

Will, who has been in the Scheduled Care service for around two years, said: “In terms of these phone calls, it’s really important - and every single one of us is doing it, not just me – to listen to what people are saying. It’s trying to find a way to help what’s beyond the phone call. This is what Scheduled Care is about, this is what we do.”

Will said he felt something didn’t feel right when he was speaking to Mr Hamilton and was “more than happy” to have a small part to play.

Mr Hamilton added: “After my wife’s funeral, I was just empty. I was so used to looking after her, to just the loneliness and depression, I asked myself is it worth living. But meeting him in person to thank him, has been really nice.”

Will said: “It’s been lovely. We don’t often see how the circle ends. We don’t get to see what happens afterwards. It’s been really, really nice to see the impact and know that we are making a difference. We don’t get to see this, as we are often in the background.”


Posted on 04/08/2023