Welsh Ambulance Service Colleagues Recognised in New Year’s Honours List


Two Welsh Ambulance Service colleagues have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Emergency Medical Technician Nick Richards-Ozzati and Joanne Rees-Thomas, of the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service, have been awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal, it was announced this evening (Friday 27 December 2019).

The medal is awarded to distinguish exemplary service from ambulance workers in the NHS and reward exceptional devotion to duty.

Nick, who is based in Llanelli, was inspired to join the ambulance service after a near-fatal road accident in 2003 near his home in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire.

Nuck Richards-Ozzati, WAST EMT and CFR in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire

The 12-year-old Nick suffered a broken neck, collarbone and jaw after he was knocked from his bicycle on the A4138, as well as a brain haemorrhage, despite wearing a helmet.

He was airlifted to Swansea’s Morriston Hospital before being transferred to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where he spent eight days in a coma.

Nick began his career in the ambulance service as a 999 call handler, and now works alongside paramedics on the frontline as an Emergency Medical Technician. He also actively volunteers as a Community First Responder (CFR) in his native Llangennech.

Here Nick supports the development of the CFR scheme in his own time recruiting and training new team members.

In 2016, Nick and his colleagues were presented the Trust’s Gail Williams Award for Clinical and Operational Excellence after their efforts to successfully resuscitate a baby in cardiac arrest.

Joanne has worked for the service since 1986 and manages more than 240 staff in her role as a General Manager for the Trust’s Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS), based in Swansea.

Joanne Reese-Thomas, General Manager, NEPTS, Swansea

The NEPTS makes more than one million journeys every year, taking people to and from routine outpatient appointments at clinics, hospitals and day centres.

In 2016, Joanne led a modernisation of the service, implementing a Trust-wide team leadership structure, appraisal processes, role-based training and developing an apprenticeship scheme.

She introduced a mentorship programme, which is aiding the creation of the next generation of supervisors, and provides support for new entrants. She has also led improvements in call taking and journey co-ordination.

Joanne has won a string of awards for her work, including a Chair’s Award at 2016’s staff awards ceremony and the Patient Transport Services Award at last year’s Association of Ambulance Chief Executives Outstanding Service Awards.

Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Nick and Joanne are well-loved and highly-respected by colleagues and patients alike, and I’m delighted that they have been recognised for their commitment and service.

“They are a shining example of colleagues who go above and beyond to be the absolute best they can be, and I’m hugely proud to say that they work for the Welsh Ambulance Service.

“On behalf of the organisation, I’d like to congratulate Nick and Joanne on their Queen’s Ambulance Medal and extend a heartfelt thank you for all they do.”

Nick and Joanne were two of four recipients of the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal; Thomas Bailey, a paramedic at East Midlands Ambulance Service, and Trevor Baldwin, a manager at Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s Emergency Operations Centre were the other colleagues recognised.

Angela Hughes, Chief Executive of the Wales Air Ambulance charity, has also been awarded an OBE for services to the Emergency Air Service in Wales.

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Welsh Ambulance Service Bids Farewell to Executive Director of Quality and Nursing


The Welsh Ambulance Service is to bid farewell to one of its Executive Directors after almost 40 years of service in the NHS in Wales.

Claire Bevan, the Trust’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, has had a long and distinguished career which began as a specialist in cardiac nursing at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales, where she was a ward sister who helped to train the first cohort of paramedics in Wales.

With a nursing degree under her belt, Claire went on to hold senior leadership and management positions in health boards in Wales across a range of specialities in secondary, primary and community care, including directorate management and divisional nursing roles.

Claire’s passion for improving the experience and outcomes for patients, carers and staff was strengthened through her Master’s degree in Leadership for Health Services Improvement.

Prior to joining the Welsh Ambulance Service, she was an Assistant Director for Quality Improvement and Clinical Governance at Cwm Taf University Health Board.

Since joining the Trust in 2016, Claire has strengthened the focus on quality across the Trust with partners and within the Quality, Safety and Patient Experience Directorate.

She has developed new functions and roles for Quality Improvement, Quality Assurance, Mental Health, Dementia, Older People, Falls and Public Health.

Claire is the Executive lead for the Trust’s Quality, Patient Experience and Safety Committee and Quality Steering Group and also heads up the Patient Experience and Community Involvement Team, whose role is to engage with the public about the services we provide.

Claire will retire from the service tomorrow, on 31 December. She said: “It has been a privilege to have worked with so many inspirational colleagues across NHS Wales and key partners over the last 37 years.

“My philosophy of care has always been to put staff first to ensure that our patients get the best care possible.

Claire Bevan, Exiting Executive Director of Quality and Nursing

“I am so proud of the quality developments we have lead on in the Welsh Ambulance Service to make improvements to the experience of patients, carers and staff across Wales.

“Thank you to all our staff who put patients at the centre of everything we do every day, delivering dignified and compassionate care whilst supporting people across Wales.”

Meanwhile, Claire Roche has been appointed the new Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, and will take up the post from 01 January 2020.

Claire has been the Trust’s Assistant Director of Quality Governance since 2016 and also has an impressive career spanning 30 years, beginning as a staff nurse at Cardiff’s Llandough Hospital.

She qualified as a midwife in 1994 and worked for 16 years in frontline midwifery services in South Wales before being later appointed as the Senior Midwifery Manager at the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, working at both Nevill Hall and the Royal Gwent Hospitals.

In 2014, she joined Public Health Wales and established the Maternity Network Wales, leading the Safer Pregnancy campaign to reduce stillbirth rates in Wales and also introducing a number of key patient safety programmes.

Claire has extensive experience in senior leadership roles for quality assurance, quality improvement, clinical standards, patient safety, safeguarding and risk management.

In her role as Assistant Director for the Trust, Claire has developed a ‘Falls Framework’ which sets out the service’s response to people who have fallen; from prevention to avoiding further harm.

She has also led the Trust’s Improvement and Innovation Network (WIIN) to support staff to develop their improvement ideas, and has led the organisation’s transition to the use of electronic risk registers to ensure effective risk management, identifying improvement priorities.

She said: “I’m thrilled and privileged to be stepping into the Executive Director role, although Claire’s are big shoes to fill.

Claire Roche, Incoming Executive Director of Quality and Nursing

“I’m entering this role at one of the busiest periods for the ambulance service, so my priority is to support colleagues at a time of increased system pressures to keep patients well.

“2020 is the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and Midwife, so my other priority is to raise of the profile of nursing among the public and partners because not everybody understands the role of nurses in the ambulance service.

“Nurses provide important skills in the ambulance service, working diligently from our NHS Direct Wales and 111 control rooms to offer ‘Hear and Treat’ advice and information over the telephone to patients, and signposting them to a more appropriate alternative to 999.”

Commenting upon Claire Bevan’s departure, Jason Killens, Chief Executive at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Claire leaves behind an incredible legacy which we are hugely proud of and grateful for.

“Quality is at the heart of everything we do as an ambulance service and Claire, through her work, has been a trailblazer in shaping this approach.

“It’s clear to everyone that meets Claire that she has the patient at the forefront of her mind at all times — helped, I suspect, by her grounding as a nurse.

“On behalf of the organisation, I’d like to thank Claire for her service to NHS Wales and wish her a healthy and happy retirement.”

On the appointment of Claire Roche, Jason added: “We are delighted to have appointed Claire Roche to the Executive Director role, building on Claire Bevan’s excellent work.

“Claire is a highly-regarded member of our organisation who also boasts an impressive nursing career, and we look forward to her raising her profile and steering the ship.”

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First Clinical Study Evaluating Combined tDCS And Behaviour Therapy Could Point To A New Treatment For Depression

London, UK. The first ever clinical study evaluating combined transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and behaviour therapy could point to a new treatment for depression. The clinical pilot study is being undertaken by Flow Neuroscience, Europe’s first, and only, medically approved, at-home treatment for depression, which comprises a tDCS headset device and behaviour therapy app. The results will help the process of getting the Flow device reimbursed by healthcare providers, including the UK’s NHS.

The independent study will evaluate how patients with depression respond to Flow’s tDCS headset combined with its behaviour therapy app, and be led by leading brain stimulation researcher, Dr Andre Brunoni, associate professor of Psychiatry at the University Hospital of Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

To date, tDCS has been shown to reliably improve symptoms of depression. Randomised controlled trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that tDCS, of the type used by Flow, had a similar impact to antidepressants, with fewer, less-severe side effects.1,2,3

People with depression often have a lower neural activity in their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the brain region that controls cognitive skills and emotional expression. The Flow headset, which retails at £399 and can be purchased here, uses tDCS to activate neurons in this area and rebalance activity.

Dr Andre Brunoni, who co-authored the New England Journal of Medicine and British Journal of Psychiatry study, says: “Flow has created a powerful medical device treatment for depression without the adverse effects associated with pharmacological therapies. This new clinical study will, for the first time, evaluate how patients with depression respond to Flow’s tDCS headset combined with its behaviour therapy app.”

Flow Co-Founders Daniel Mansson (Left) and Erik Rehn (Right)

In Europe, Flow is classified as a Class IIa medical device intended for use as a treatment for depression and was certified by BSI’s Netherlands notified body.

“We’re empowering people to self-manage their depression with safe, effective and medication-free digital alternatives,” says Daniel Mansson, CEO and co-founder at Flow. “This is the first clinical study to examine the full effect of a combined tDCS and behaviour therapy treatment – and the results will help the process of getting Flow reimbursed by healthcare providers, including the UK’s NHS.”

Flow’s therapy app program can be downloaded free on iOS and Android. Created by clinical psychologists, the interactive content is based on the latest, most conclusive, research on lifestyle changes to help users reduce depression, including nutrition, sleep, exercise and meditation.

In October, Flow announced a partnership with leading Harley Street psychology and psychiatry clinics to offer patients the tDCS headset and behaviour therapy app to treat depression.

Help shape Welsh Ambulance Service’s vision for equality

THE Welsh Ambulance Service is asking the public to help shape its vision for equality.

The Trust is inviting feedback on its Treating People Fairly strategy, which sets out its approach to delivering the Equality Act and other key legislation like the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 the Well-being of Future Generations and Social Services Acts. 

Claire Vaughan, Executive Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said: “As an NHS Trust, we have a duty to make our services and workplaces as fair for everyone as we can.

“We’ve come a long way but recognise there is still more to do to help some people get the same outcomes as others, and support our staff to recognise, understand and value difference.

“We are refreshing our strategic equality objectives for the next four years and want to test our thinking with as many people as possible, including our staff and the public.

“Sharing your feedback is a real opportunity to shape our approach to equality and make a difference for the people of Wales.”

Visit https://bit.ly/2LlHyQZ to take a short survey about the Trust’s Treating People Fairly strategy.

The closing date is Tuesday 17 December 2019.