A paramedic working in Dorset has spoken out about the positive and negative examples of the community cohesion during the coronavirus outbreak.

The medic, who can’t be named, says that there has been a “lack of thought” from some people towards those in the emergency services and other keyworkers, regarding shopping habits and going against advice to self-isolate.

After working a 13-hour shift last week, the paramedic went to buy food only to find that the shelves were bare.

Although some stores have allocated time especially for NHS staff, these aren’t always followed through and staff aren’t always able to attend them as they work shifts.

He said: “At the end of the day, we aren’t completely out of food. What does need to be said is that we haven’t been able to get food very easily.

“Because we are working pretty much around the clock, there isn’t time for us to go to the shops like we normally would.

“People do need to think about all of the people still working, those in the postal service, binmen and those in the emergency services, the people who are keeping this country going.

“We have also seen a lack of thought and arrogance from certain members of society, namely the panic buyers. Whether that is to do with the media or people’s illusion of the current situation I’m not sure.”

Some stores have tried to accommodate NHS staff with their opening hours, however, the paramedic said this isn’t being followed through.

Asda is prioritising NHS workers in larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 9am, whilst Sainsbury’s are opening their stores half an hour early (7:30am to 8:00am).

The first hour of trade at M&S stores has been set aside for over 70s and vulnerable customers on Mondays and Thursdays and NHS workers on Tuesdays and Fridays.

However, the worker has also seen people donating food and shopping items to hospitals and NHS staff from the general public.

“We have had food brought into us and dropped off at the hospital from people in the community,” the paramedic added.

“People are coming in off the street to drop off tea bags, coffee, milk, custard creams which has been lovely.

“It is really really nice to have the community come together and we are thankful for their support.”

The paramedic said the biggest issues that he is having to face is people going against government advice and walking around in public and people misdiagnosing themselves.

He said: “We are still attending patients who think they have the symptoms and are actually alright. People are not waiting in queues for 111 calls or going online to find help.

“I want to see my family too. I haven’t seen them in a long time.

“We are still operating a doorstep triage and all the normal stuff. However, we just don’t have the PPE equipment and the number of paramedics to provide the service to test everyone.”

The medic highlighted that, although the contributions they have received are much welcomed, the best way the public can help support the emergency services is by following the advice that has been issued.

He added: “People just need to stop and think, follow the advice that has been given to stay inside and minimise contact with other people

“They just need to listen to the advice they are being given, call 999 in an emergency but for anything else, call 111 or find the advice online.

“Listen to what is going on, try not to panic but just be aware of the situation we are in and take precautions.”