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.
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.
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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