Prior to joining NEAS in June 2015, Matt – who is affectionally known as Bear – was a Section Commander in the Corp of Royal Engineers in the British Army.
The 37-year-old lives in Bishop Auckland with his wife and two children, Loxley and Nina, and is based in Chester-le-Street.
Q. What attracted you to the job?
A. The opportunity to help people in my community and make a difference where I can.
Q. What brings you to work every day/what do you like about your job?
A. I just like to help people, it's not always about the big jobs – just listening and reassuring makes as much of a difference and makes me feel proud enough to come back and try again the day after.
Q. What is an average shift like?
A. A rollercoaster of stress and emotions and anything but average.
Q. What skills do you think people need to be able to do your job?
A. Listening, adaptability, calmness and confidence balanced with compassion and modesty, empathy and a sense of humour.
Q. It can be a traumatic job at times, how do you look after yourself and what support do you get?
A. I remind myself I've done my best and remember to be kind to myself when I struggle or don't quite get the result I'd hoped for the patient or myself, It's important to unwind after a shift too so a bar of Dairy Milk and loud car karaoke always helps ease the stresses.
Q. What has it been like working through the pandemic?
A. Working through the pandemic has been a mixed bag of sadness at the loss and loneliness of some people but also the joy of seeing some communities rally around those in need. Logistically it was nightmare with not enough hospital beds, staff or community services.
Q. Where do you see your career heading?
A. I'd like to continue to help our patients, but also help our staff, who can only care for others if we care for them, so I could see myself moving into a role that lets me do both if one becomes available.
Q. How do you feel about being part of the BBC Ambulance show?
A. I really wanted an opportunity to showcase the fantastic work I feel some of my colleagues and I do, I'm nervous to see how much has made the screen.
Q. What impact do you hope the series will have in the North East?
A. I hope the programme presents the frontline staff of NEAS as the fantastic people some of them are and highlights how much we do for our patients, rather than just focus on the "It's grim up north" element. I'd like it to make people think twice about ringing an ambulance for non-emergencies too.