Pat McCreanor answered Ireland’s call back in March and now heads up the COVID room in the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC).
Pat retired from his position as Deputy Director of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) last July after 44 years in the service but said he couldn’t sit back and just watch as the health service tackled the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The call went out for people to return to active service and I wasn’t that long gone so it wasn’t too difficult for me to come back and get going again. It was wonderful to be able to provide the services and skills that I had learned over the years as required and it is great to be back,” he said.
NEOC have been co-ordinating the home testing, nursing home testing and the testing sites that NAS have been involved with. The COVID team is a multi-disciplinary team made up of ambulance staff, nurses, doctors, administrative staff and the defence forces.
“The team was set up from the start to deal with calls coming in from people with suspected COVID-19. We would then send out an ambulance to take a swab and bring it to the lab. Full details are taken to go with the sample. If it is positive, it comes through the public health team to do contact tracing. If it is negative, our doctors and nurses are on hand here to make the call,” explained Pat.
Many of the nurses on the team have also answered the call to return to duty, while the doctors were provided by the defence forces.
“Everybody is doing their bit and making sure all the work is being done efficiently,” he said.
While the volume of calls has been slowing down over the last few weeks, the team remain busy.
“There is still plenty for us to do and lots of challenges ahead. But I am still happy to keep going until I get the nod to say that I can resume my retirement,” he added.