A STUDENT from Cookley who began working for the NHS 111 call service after his aunt died from coronavirus has featured in a new Channel 4 documentary on his first day on the job.

Ollie Farquharson, 18, answered West Midlands Ambulance Service's appeal for more call handlers after his A-levels at King Edward VI College in Stourbridge were cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

His aunt, Kate Fox, 56, died after being diagnosed with the virus in April and Ollie says he wanted to "give something back".

Evesham Journal: Cookley student Ollie Farquharson featured in the new Channel 4 documentary series Paramedics: Britain’s Lifesavers. Photo by Channel 4Cookley student Ollie Farquharson featured in the new Channel 4 documentary series Paramedics: Britain’s Lifesavers. Photo by Channel 4

In the first episode of the new Channel 4 series Paramedics: Britain's Lifesavers on Monday, Ollie talks about his first day in training.

The course would normally have taken five weeks but was whittled down to two as the ambulance service stepped up its recruitment in response to a quadrupling in calls to 999 and 111 since the outbreak.

Speaking to The Shuttle, Ollie said: "My A-levels got cancelled, then my aunt passed away in early April. That was one of the motivations - I wanted to give something back because of what my family has experienced, in addition to the fact it gave me something to do rather than sitting at home.

"I worked in a pharmacy in Kidderminster on the weekends last year so I did have some community healthcare interest, but it was definitely completely different.

"I spent one week in the classroom then the other week was systems based, listening to calls. By the end of the second week, I was signed off to start taking live calls."

Ollie admitted having his first shift on camera was a strange experience.

He said: "We were told on our first morning there were cameras on site. They interviewed us all and asked what brought us here then they filmed my first call.

"It was quite strange to have the cameras there."

Speaking about his experience as a call assessor, Ollie said: "It's nice when you get calls from people who are really thankful and grateful for your help. You do get some tough calls though and some abusive callers as well.

Evesham Journal: Ollie was inspired to sign up to the NHS 111 service after his aunt passed away from coronavirusOllie was inspired to sign up to the NHS 111 service after his aunt passed away from coronavirus

"It's quite intense at times but we've all had a lot of support from the trust and there's always support for the new starters on the floor."

Ollie said his work with the NHS 111 has been "quite rewarding", but said he isn't planning to continue it as a career.

He said: "I'm still working at the moment and I'm happy to come back if there's a second wave, but I am looking forward to getting back on track and hopefully go to university to study law in September."

Filmed across three weeks, the three-part Paramedics: Britain's Lifesavers series will be shown at 9pm on Mondays.