Staff Awards 2020: Entries Open for People’s Choice Award and Public Recognition Award

The Welsh Ambulance Service is inviting members of the public to nominate its staff for a coveted award.

The Trust is inviting nominations for its People’s Choice Award, designed for people in the community to extend a special thank you to a team or individual for providing excellent care.

The award will be presented at its annual Staff Awards ceremony in October, which this year will be held in Llandudno.

Members of the public whose entries have made the shortlist will also be invited to attend the glittering event at Venue Cymru.

Chief Executive Jason Killens said: “Our staff work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, often in difficult circumstances, and our Staff Awards are a celebration of their work.

“The People’s Choice Award is a unique opportunity for the public to pay tribute to a team or individual who has provided excellent care.

“It could be a paramedic, technician, urgent care assistant or community first responder who came to your aid when you were injured or unwell, or a volunteer car driver or member of the non-emergency transport service who makes your journeys to hospital that extra special.

“It could be a call handler or clinician in the control room, or one of our nurses at NHS Direct Wales or 111 who went beyond the call of duty to help and reassure you.

“Let us know who they are, how they helped and why they’re deserving of this award, and be part of this special celebration of our staff.”

Every year the Trust holds a ceremony to present long service and good conduct awards and an array of category awards, of which there are more than a dozen.

This year, the Trust is also inviting nominations for its Public Recognition Award, designed to recognise ordinary citizens who have gone to great lengths to help a patient or patients.

Jason added: “Our Staff Awards are a celebration of the fantastic work our people do every day to care for those at their most vulnerable, but it’s important also that we also pay tribute to people in the community who have helped their fellow citizens.

“Often in times of emergency, we rely on ordinary members of the public to administer first aid and care for patients until the arrival of an ambulance.

“There are also people out there who do sterling work to support us, like raise funds for life-saving defibrillators.

“Let us know about them too, so that we can reciprocate and say a special thank you.”

Click here to nominate a team or individual at the Welsh Ambulance Service for the People’s Choice Award.

Click here to nominate a member of the public for the Public Recognition Award.

The closing date for nominations is 01 May 2020.

Once entries have closed, 
staff and the public will be able to influence the winners by casting a vote online.

Keep abreast of all things Staff Awards by following us on Facebook (Welsh Ambulance Service) and liking us on Twitter (@WelshAmbulance) using the hashtag #WASTAwards20

Australian Friends of MDA Receive Presidential Backing

As the 90th Anniversary of MDA’s Establishment Approaches, MDA Continues as They have for Decades to Embody the Phrase ‘He Who Saves One Life is as if He Saved an Entire World’.

On Tuesday February 25th, during his visit to Australia the President of Israel Mr. Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin partook in an event in his honor hosted by Australian Friends of Magen David Adom, Sydney. 

Bob Magid OAM and H.E. President Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel

In his speech to more than 100 donors and supporters at the event, the President praised MDA saying: “MDA is not only important, but does truly holy work which is provided to all citizens, tourists and even residents of other countries, some of which we do not have peace with, all in an effort to save lives.” 

As the President continued he praised the joint work of MDA’s volunteers and employees across all sectors of Israeli society and demographics, stating that “our power is in our unity”.

Eric Roozendaal NSW CEO Magen David Adom

“We would not be able to do what we do without your support and therefore, I am here, to thank you as the President of Israel and a citizen of Israel.’

“Every life saved or blood product donated is because of you. Thanks to you, MDA is able to provide extensive services throughout the country and make use of the most advanced technologies.”

Mr. Rivlin concluded by saying “all Jews are responsible for one another”.

Bunzl Donates Third Vehicle To St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance has welcomed a new mobile treatment centre to its operational fleet in Greater Manchester, thanks to a generous donation from Bunzl Healthcare.

It’s the third custom-built vehiclethat Bunzl has donated to St John Ambulance, and is already being used to provide community health and first aid support in the area.

The mobile treatment centre will be used by St John Ambulance at high profile events such as the Great Manchester Run and Manchester Pride, as well as smaller community events.

It could be deployed to emergency situations in the Greater Manchester area, if required and also supports two community projects.

Alex Bonthrone, Divisional Managing Director of Bunzl Healthcare commented: “We are so pleased to provide a treatment vehicle that will increase the first aid support for people in the Manchester area.’

“The vehicle will enable those with minor injuries to receive immediate first aid which will benefit them, and will also help to take the pressure off our A&E centres.”

Rob Macintosh, Head of Fleet at St John Ambulance, said: “We are delighted to be working with Bunzl Healthcare to make our communities safer — this vehicle is a welcome addition to our fleet which enables us to make a difference to those who need it, as well as reducing the number of people needing to access NHS services.’

“The generosity and support of Bunzl Healthcare is hugely appreciated, and we look forward to our continuing partnership with them.”

The health charity uses the treatment centre to support two important community projects.

Every Saturday night (10pm until 4am), volunteers from St John Ambulance provide first aid support to the night-time economy in Manchester city centre, helping people get home safely after their night out and allowing emergency services to be there for those most critical patients.

The vehicle, located on Peter Street, provides a place for people to be treated for minor injuries, or simply as a safe haven whilst they sober up, wait to meet their friends, or for a taxi home.

This activity ensures that, as often as possible, patients are seen and treated by St John without the need for further NHS care.

And, every fortnight on a Tuesday evening, St John volunteers work in partnership with the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust to support their outreach work for the town’s homeless and vulnerably housed.

Based at Homeless Aid UK’s street kitchen event near Bolton Town Hall, St John’s first aiders work alongside NHS nurses to provide medical care and support to those who need it.

The treatment centre provides a confidential area where people can freely talk about their health in a more private setting.

To demonstrate the difference the new treatment centre is making in the local community, staff from Bunzl Healthcare’s Manchester office were recently shown around the vehicle.

They were told about the important role it’s playing within the Greater Manchester area, and St John volunteers gave first aid demonstrations as well as showing them the vital equipment it has on board. 

Bunzl has worked with St John Ambulance over the past five years, initially to help young people not in education or employment to access first aid skills, and more recently by donating three bespoke treatment vehicles.

In 2020, the partnership is supporting first aid training in schools, particularly young people in communities where Bunzl operates. For more information on Bunzl Healthcare visit  

For more information on St John Ambulance, including how to make a donation, volunteering opportunities, and details of training for the public, schools and businesses, visit or call 08700 10 49 50.

The Sound of Sirens: A Humanitarian Calling

An Interview with Saleem Al Qaimari, Palestine Red Crescent Society Volunteer

By Joseph Heneghan, in conversation with Saleem Al Qaimari (pictured) Volunteer Paramedic with the Palestine Red Crescent Society.
Published in Ambulance Today, Issue 4, Volume 13, Priceless EMS: The Volunteers At The Heart Of Prehospital Care, Winter 2019

EMS in Palestine is provided by the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) which was founded in 1968.

From its HQ in Ramallah it provides hospitals, primary health centres, disaster management services, psycho social support services, rehabilitation for people with disabilities services and EMS across the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The PRCS was officially recognised as an active member by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in June 2006.

For this edition, Ambulance Today proudly introduces the PRCS to its readers for the first time through the following interview with one of their volunteers, Saleem Al Qaimari, which gives a basic yet revealing idea of EMS in Palestine and the volunteers who provide it.

JOSEPH HENEGHAN: At what point in your life did you personally decide to become a paramedic in the first place? What led you to make this decision and to enter training?

SALEEM AL QAIMARI: When I was in high school I was so sick that my family called the ambulance to take me to the hospital.

When I saw the emergency medical team and their work, I became passionate about working and volunteering with them.

J.H: So, it was in this moment that you were drawn to working in EMS? Was there something in particular that you saw in the actions of those caring for you that ignited your wish to join the PRCS?

Saleem: Yes, when I was in the ambulance I saw how they treated me and how much they cared about my life so I decided to join them and be like them and save lives. I volunteered in 2007.

J.H: So what position did you start as and where are you now?

Saleem: I started as a volunteer at the PRCS in 2007 and from there I became an emergency medical technician in 2016 after a long intensive course of training and studying.

PRCS Volunteer with young patient.
Front page image of Ambulance Today, Issue 4, Volume 13, Priceless EMS: The Volunteers At The Heart Of Prehospital Care, Winter 2019

Besides my voluntary work, I work at the public relations department in the Hebron branch of the PRCS.

In 2009 I also took part in the emergency medical team as a volunteer too.

J.H: And after 12 years of volunteering, how would you describe working for the PRCS? How does it feel, what do you personally get out of it?

Saleem: Humanitarian work is the most amazing work I have ever undertaken; actually it’s hard to explain how it feels when I deliver a humanitarian service to someone, especially a medical service.

I usually say that people who are involved in this work know exactly what I am talking about and how I feel.

This feeling makes me proud of myself and encourages me to do more and provide more services to any one in need, regardless of their nationality, colour, religion and political background.

J.H: That’s certainly a wonderful return for the voluntary work you provide to your community. Considering this, what would you say is the biggest barrier to you delivering emergency care on a day to day basis?

Saleem: There are many challenges; some are related to the lack of awareness among people in an emergency situation, for example they usually crowd around the patient or the injured when we are providing our first aid.

PRCS volunteers attend to a patient at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem amongst large crowds making
a pilgrimage for Ramadan

Other challenges are related to the occupation; in Hebron, especially in the old town, we always face the checkpoints and gates of the Israeli soldiers which take much time to be opened.

We usually coordinate with the ICRC to get the approval to go inside, which can take either a few minutes or sometimes several hours, even when we have to respond to a critical case.

My life has changed, all my attention and focus is on the humanitarian life more than my private life; when I hear the sound of an ambulance, and I’m not on duty in the centre, I call the dispatch and ask them if they need any help. I feel that the sound of the ambulance is calling me.

J.H: Whilst both obstacles you mention must be incredibly frustrating, problems at checkpoints must take quite some skill to professionally navigate. On a personal level, how do you keep a level head when faced these obstacles?

Saleem: My voluntary work in the EMS means saving the life of a person, so it does not matter who this person is. Also it’s a way for me to serve my own community and city.

J.H: I see. The duty is to provide care, and this determination see you through chaotic crowds and also potential problems at checkpoints. When it comes to an average shift, what does that look like for you in the region you serve?

PRCS volunteers attending to a patient

Saleem: On a normal day, on the A shift, we have 2 ambulances and a team of 4 EMS staff and 2 EMS volunteers in the main EMS station. We deal with 8–14 different cases.

On the B Shift the workload lowers to 4–6 cases and C shift 3–4 cases. When we are not working, we chat about life or the cases we’ve dealt with, we cook together, or we watch TV.

J.H: And what is it like to work in your area of Palestine? How are you received by members of your community, especially when in uniform?

Saleem: PRCS is highly respected by the Palestinians because of the humanitarian role it is doing for vulnerable people, especially in times of emergency and mainly also because of the EMS we provide.

That is why we are well respected and accepted easily in our community and even by people of different nationalities.

When I am in my uniform, everyone greets me with a big smile on their faces as if to say, ‘oh you are doing great job and thank you for your efforts’.

J.H: And when you come home after a day of serving people in emergencies, offering them treatment and comfort, what is it that you find you are proudest of?

Saleem: My love and passion for my voluntary work has made me a person who doesn’t like to go home and have some rest.

The thing that I am really proud of is that I give humanitarian help for a people who really need it; when we perform CPR for someone and we restore their pulse and they breathe I say, “Yes, God gave me the strength and knowledge to help in giving this person another chance to live”.

Keeping spirits up in the Gaza Strip

My life has changed, all my attention and focus is on the humanitarian life more than my private life; when I hear the sound of an ambulance, and I’m not on duty in the centre, I call the dispatch and ask them if they need any help. I feel that the sound of the ambulance is calling me.

J.H: When something affects your life in ways as deep-seated as this, you must feel that a voluntary position within EMS has also added to you as a person, in terms of your own development and ability? If so, then how?

Saleem: It has given me more self-confidence, made me believe in my abilities and helped to refine my personality. It also made me believe that I can and I have the ability to make positive changes in my community.

J.H: So, as satisfied as you feel in your work, if you could just wave a magic wand and be granted a few wishes, what would they be?

Saleem: To have no checkpoints or electrical gates in Hebron and especially in the old city of Hebron.

To have more financial support to enable PRCS to operate more EMS centres in new areas and towns so as to help as many people as possible and quickly.

And finally, to spread first aid education further so as to save more lives and give first aid to people with even more speed and efficiency.

J.H: They all seem like valid and sensible wishes. We’ve touched on this a little bit already, but I was wondering about the feeling amongst you and your colleagues when working together. What is the general mood and feeling that runs amongst you all throughout the PRCS?

Saleem: Teamwork is the most wonderful thing in work. When we provide a service, the only thing we care about is the patient’s life and how we will save them.

This strong collaborating spirit among the team members helps us to achieve our goal, reducing the suffering of the people and saving lives.

J.H: Does the PRCS receive any aid from the PLO, or perhaps a less centralised political body within Palestine? Do you receive support from outside of Palestine at all?

Saleem: PRCS gets support from the Palestinian National Authority which represents the government in the oPT (Occupied Palestinian Territory).

That is not strange because other RCRC societies in the world receive financial support from their governments because of their auxiliary role to public authorities and bodies.

Since PRCS is the main provider of the EMS in the country (oPT), the needs of the people are huge due to our situation and therefore main partners from the RCRC movement supports us— mainly the ICRC.

JH: And do you feel that, as an emergency service offering vital humanitarian aid, you are given enough support politically from either inside or outside of Palestine?

Saleem: Unfortunately, politics affects our humanitarian work.

So, all that we want, from all political sides inside or outside the oPT, is to respect our emblem and our humanitarian mission and to facilitate our access to the people who need our help and not to jeopardise our life when we are in the field trying to save lives of people regardless of their nationality and religion.

A PRCS EMT volunteer evacuates an injured patient in Al Bireh

J.H: Yes, this is indeed a deep area of discussion. As many of our readers will already know, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent are just two of four emblems belonging to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and the protection of those carrying those emblems is a recognised and important part of the Geneva Conventions, alongside other international laws in place to protect those in areas of conflict as well as those delivering humanitarian aid.

In your estimation, what types of calls do you see the most from day-to-day?

Saleem: Injuries resulting from confrontation between Palestinian youth and the Israeli occupation forces, injuries from car accidents, and home cases (falling down, heart attacks etc.)

J.H: Do you think that preventative measures can be taken to lower the rates of these types of calls?

Saleem: Peace and an independent country, and more community first aid courses.

J.H: Throughout the creation of this latest edition of Ambulance Today, one question has been on my mind quite a lot: do you perceive any differences between those who undertake voluntary EMS as a vocation and those who serve in employed positions?

Saleem: Of course, from the professional side there is no difference because we all want to save lives and reduce the suffering of the patients or the injured.

However, at the emotional level, I personally feel different because it is not a job I’m paid for. What drives me as a volunteer is the will and the need to help whoever is suffering.

I can’t find words to exactly express my feelings; even in my own mother language it is hard to express my happiness when I save someone’s life who is a complete stranger to me.

This person is just a human who is suffering and is about to lose their life and I am there to help.

PRCS volunteers raising spirits in the Gaza Strip

J.H: Yes, to be honest it is a very difficult question to answer, and I have struggled with clarifying some of the differences between paid roles and voluntary roles myself precisely because, as you say, in either role the deep-seated will to help those in need prevails across the board.

How do you find the time to devote yourself to helping others as a volunteer and to regular training etc. in between your other personal duties in life?

Saleem: People who work in EMS know exactly the importance of time and how they should take advantage of every second in the right way.

I organise my time in the best possible way so as to benefit of every moment; I take care of my obligations towards my family, I find time to finish two bachelor’s degrees, and I also make some time for my friends.

Well, I manage to organise my time but I have to confess that my voluntary work takes most of my time.

J.H: Well, I think I can already guess your answer to this but would you recommend volunteering in EMS to anyone else?

Saleem: I really recommend it. In this service, I have learnt how to appreciate life and time and that life is full of chances and we have to take the risk of benefiting from these chances.

It is like you must either take the risk or lose the chance; this is one of the lessons I took from my voluntary work in EMS.

Volunteering in general is a great thing; it gives you a chance to provide assistance to others and build your community and it builds your abilities in many aspects like leadership, teamwork, communication with different people and groups etc.

J.H: Is there any advice you would offer to hopeful volunteers then? A certain mantra or principle to keep in mind perhaps?

Saleem: Voluntary work is the basic meaning of life. It gives you the chance to give to affected and vulnerable people, like people with disabilities, sick people, or poor families.

Seeing the smile on their faces after being assisted by you is a smile you will never see unless you are a volunteer.

Life is hard and it has taken many things from many people (maybe a home, a family member, a person’s health) and we as volunteers are there to try to fill that gap and make their life easier and make them stronger to be able to face those difficulties that life offers.

Giving is priceless. Also, we have to understand that the real voluntary work is not about the period of time you volunteer, it’s more about the help and support you give to others.

J.H: Saleem, thank you for such honest, deep and thoughtful answers. I’m sure our readers will agree when I say that you have offered us a valuable insight into EMS in Palestine and the approach those working within it take towards their vocation. Keep up the exemplary work!

WMAS Issues Statement Of Thanks To Staff Over Operational Efforts During Flooding Challenges

The Trust is maintaining its focus on supporting the multi-agency response to the areas affected by flooding in the West Midlands.

At the peak of the flooding on Tuesday, the Environment Agency had a total of nine Severe Flood Warnings in place (meaning a danger to life), all of which were in the West Midlands area. 

West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “The flooding that we’ve experienced over the last few days in many parts reached record levels.  We’ve been dealing with three major incidents in Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. 

“My staff have responded magnificently; they are prepared, trained and exercised for such major incidents.  They have really stepped forward to be able to ensure our response is robust, comprehensive and above all safe and sustainable.’

“Our Hazardous Area Response Team has deployed and additional flood team to the worst affected areas where they have undertaken a number of evacuations and rescues of people needing to be moved from their homes to a place of safety.’

“We increased the number of 4×4 ambulances in our fleet during the winter period.  They have been invaluable during this period and have been deployed and all are fully operational enabling our staff to reach patients they might otherwise struggle to reach as quickly as possible.’

“I am immensely proud of everyone who has gone above and beyond to ensure we’ve delivered a collaborative and coordinated response to the areas affected.’

“We’ve also continued to receive support from our volunteers who have been booking on additional hours in their local communities, for which I’m appreciative of too.’

“The weather forecast for the coming days is for more rain which will fall onto already sodden ground.’

“Very many staff have already volunteered to come to work to support their colleagues by cancelling rest days or annual leave during this week and into this weekend which I’m immensely grateful for.”

Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, Michelle Brotherton has been part of the multi-agency senior command team in West Mercia since Sunday. 

She said: “We continue to operate a normal 999 service, despite the floods, and have additional ambulance crews on duty in the three counties.’

“They are supported by additional staff in our control rooms but also the vehicle preparations staff and mechanics who keep our fleet running.’

“We will also continue to send ambulance resources into affected communities to ensure we are able to respond to any concerns from local residents over the coming days.’

“I would like to thank the many members of the community who have helped us during the last few days.’

“From farmers who have used their tractors to help us get through flood waters to the offers of food and drink while our staff have been at the scene of incidents.’

“These acts of kindness and community spirit is particularly touching especially when the offers of help have been from people who were either directly affected by flooding or were on the edge of such devastating effects, yet they took time to support our staff.”

London Ambulance Service Appoints Syma Dawson as Director of Corporate Governance

London Ambulance Service today announced that Syma Dawson will join the Trust as its new Director of Corporate Governance.

She joins us on 1 April from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust where she has led the corporate governance team for eight years as Associate Director of Corporate Affairs.

Syma has worked in a range of National Health Service organisations including the North East Ambulance Service where she was first struck by the invaluable contribution ambulance services make to the NHS.

Heading the Corporate Governance Directorate, Syma will be responsible for ensuring the right rules, processes and systems are in place so that the organisation performs effectively and lawfully.

Syma said: “I’m very much looking forward to joining London Ambulance Service and working to ensure we provide the best possible care for patients.

Syma Dawson will begin as Director of Corporate Governance on 1st April

“For me, good governance helps good decision making which means better performance and outcomes for patients.

“I am really excited about finding ways to continuously improve the care we provide and supporting the board to deliver its ambitious strategy for future services in London.”

She will be taking over from Philippa Harding who leaves London Ambulance Service to pursue other opportunities at the conclusion of a two-year fixed-term appointment as Director.

Syma will report to Chief Executive Officer Garrett Emmerson who said:

“I’m delighted to welcome Syma to my leadership team and to London Ambulance Service.

“Syma has an impressive track record in corporate governance roles and the National Health Service more widely and I know she will bring that passion and leadership to our service.

“I would like to put on record my thanks to Philippa for the huge progress of recent years establishing effective and robust corporate governance across the organisation.”

Syma graduated from Leeds University where she studied Politics and Parliamentary Studies, Political Science and Government.  She is an Associate of the Chartered Governance Institute and a Chartered Secretary by qualification.  

MDA Paramedics Perform Mucosal Sampling For Coronavirus Residents Under Solitary Confinement

This morning, Magen David Adom teams began arriving at the homes of those staying in solitary confinement, who have reported symptoms such as a cough, high fever and more, and were instructed by the doctor from the Ministry of Health to carry out a mucosal sample.

Over the weekend, a special hotline was established in collaboration with MDA, the Ministry of Health and the health insurence companies, to answer civilian inquiries about Corona.

Since the time of its opening, more than 15,000 inquiries were received. MDA explains that most referrals are primarily from concerned citizens who have no symptoms at all, and the paramedics and nurses at the centre are reassuring and guiding everyone in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s instructions.

This morning, as mentioned, MDA teams began arriving in the homes of residents in solitary confinement to take mucosal specimens.

The sample is taken by a paramedic who is protected at the highest level, and is delivered by MDA to a laboratory in the centre of the country.

In case an urgent and life-saving evacuation is needed, requiring hospitalization of a patient suspected of being infected with Corona, MDA EMTs will use an insulated stretcher that allows patient evacuation without the risk of contagion.

Yesterday, 75 MDA paramedics underwent dedicated training where they learned how to take a mucosal sample from a patient, in order to check for the presence of the virus.

So far, about 30 samples have been taken, the results of which will be verified after several hours. It should be emphasised that up until now, no positive results have been recorded in the country, except for those who arrived last week from the cruise ship in Japan. 

MDA paramedic, Fadi Dekaidek, carried out two tests this morning, at homes of those in isolation: “Before I enter the home I contact the patient and his family to let them know that I will be arriving, and what is likely to happen.’

“I am doing this because it is a complicated situation, requiring a certain amount of reassurance, just the way we were trained. As a MDA paramedic, you find yourself in a complex situation.’

“I walk into the patient’s home for a few minutes, wearing a full protective suit in order to perform the test and immediately leave. The specimen goes to the lab for testing in an airtight box. I hope these people are healthy and that tests will be negative. “

MDA Director General, Eli Bin, explained: “Starting this morning, we began taking mucosal samples from those who have been in isolation, and have developed symptoms, in order to check if the virus is present.’

“Not every person required to be in isolation needs these tests, only those who, it has been declared necessary by the doctor of The Ministry of Health.’

“We are working in full cooperation and coordination with all parties to be at the forefront of the national effort in preventing the spread of Corona in Israel.”

MDA calls the public to obey the Ministry of Health’s instructions and to adhere to hygiene rules, and to take part in the national effort of preventing the spread of the Corona virus in Israel.

United Hatzalah Hands Out Specially Designed Protective Vests and Helmets To EMS Volunteers In Gaza Periphery

United Hatzalah distributed specially designed protective tactical vests and helmets to its volunteer EMS personnel in the city of Sderot and the Gaza periphery in order to protect them from missiles whilst working—a result of the ongoing unrest in the Middle East.

The volunatry EMS organisation, which provides all of its services for free, distributed the protective gear to its volunteers throughout the region in order to allow them to more safely respond to medical emergencies.

“We have been working together with one of Israel’s leading companies to design specialized tactical gear that will protect our volunteers in times of violence and crisis,” said President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer. 

Eli Beer, President & Founder, United Hatzalah

Beer continued: “When responding to medical emergencies, the most important thing is the safety of the responder. Since the rocket escalation in the summer of 2019, we have sought a solution to protect our volunteers so that they will be safer and able to respond to medical emergencies during prolonged rocket barrages. ‘

“This weekend, we finally were able to distribute the fruits of our labors to the volunteers in the region. The distribution came not a moment to soon as waves of rockets were launched at Israel on Sunday.”

The organisation worked together with T9, a company that specialises in creating tactical solutions to both civilian and security personnel including first responders.

After designing the specialised EMS response vests and helmets, the company supplied United Hatzalah with hundreds of sets that were purchased with money that was donated to the organisation during various campaigns over the past year. 

CEO of T9 Liran Cohen said: “We were inspired by the knowledge that these people are saving lives of Israeli citizens on a daily basis, but they themselves do not have proper protective gear.’

“Today, in the entire field of civilian emergency medicine there is no operational answer to protecting caregivers in times of attack, even though the circumstances in which the volunteer responders are called upon to treat injured or sick people are similar to those in which elite military medics are used.’

“The new vests and helmets will allow for civilian EMTs and paramedics to wear the proper protective equipment to ensure the best chance for their survival, and the most comfort, so that they can provide expert medical care even under the duress of rocket attacks or other instances of violent nature.’

“This is a groundbreaking step in patient care and will allow United Hatzalah’s volunteers to do their work with the highest level of care and safety possible so that they can save more lives.” 

South Western Ambulance Service Announces Appointment of New CEO

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is delighted to announce the appointment of our new Chief Executive Officer.

Will Warrender will take up the role following the announcement that our current CEO, Ken Wenman will be retiring at the end of June.

Will, who has had a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy, has been appointed following a rigorous selection process, involving members of the Board, Executive team and a panel made up of our people representing all areas of the organisation along with union representatives and Governors. 

Will Warrender will take over from Ken Wenman as SAWSFT CEO this June

Will’s suitability for the role was supported by each group, with his natural leadership style and his engaging and authentic manner evident throughout the process. His determination to make a difference in the role was infectious. Will demonstrated his ability to be truly effective by quickly assimilating information about our patients, our people, the ambulance sector, the South West health economy as well as our wide range of other stakeholders.

Tony Fox, Chair of the South Western Ambulance Service said “We are very excited that Will is joining us, bringing a wealth of leadership experience in complex and challenging environments. His personal values are a great alignment with those of the Trust and we know that he will be an inclusive and compassionate leader, able to take the Trust forward as we continue our drive to be an outstanding organisation in all that we do.”

Will Warrender said “I am very excited to be joining South Western Ambulance Service. As part of the application process, I met many of the caring and dedicated people who work in the Trust, the committed and insightful leadership team and many health service stakeholders.

I am delighted to be able to continue my career in public service and feel there is no better organisation than SWASFT in which to transfer my skills to deliver exceptional patient care, delivered by exceptional people. I am incredibly proud and excited to join the team.”

Yorkshire Ambulance Service Tests New Ways To Support People With Breathlessness

Paramedics at Yorkshire Ambulance Service are taking part in a new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded study to see if training in techniques to ease breathlessness will help more people stay at home rather than being conveyed to hospital. Breathlessness is one of the symptoms paramedics are frequently called out for.

It is common in people with heart and lung conditions and can become very severe and frightening. When this happens patients or family members often call for ambulance assistance.

Fiona Bell, Acting Head of Research, YAS

In a recent study, it was found that one in five of all people taken by ambulance to Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments called for help because of breathlessness.

However, a third of these did not need to stay in hospital and were discharged home.

There are, however, ways of managing severe breathlessness that could be used in a patient’s home.

If paramedics can use this approach, breathlessness may be calmed more quickly and some people may not need to go to A&E.

To test this approach in more detail Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is part of the BREATHE (Breathlessness RElief AT HomE) study, a collaboration between the Trust and the Universities of Hull, York and Sheffield, with support from the British Lung Foundation.

Dr Ann Hutchinson, Research Fellow, University of Hull

Eight paramedics working in the Hull area are taking part over the next six months.

Four will be trained to use techniques to reduce breathlessness that do not involve any medications and four will treat patients as usual.

All patients involved in the study have given their consent.

Fiona Bell, Acting Head of Research at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “This is a first, finding out whether paramedics can use an intervention which is widely used in hospitals and in the community.’

“If it is successful there are obvious benefits for patients and for the whole urgent and emergency caresystem.”

Dr Ann Hutchinson, Research Fellow at the University of Hull, said: “This is a great opportunity to see if our research findings on what patients need, when they are severely breathless, can be implemented by paramedics.’

“Once we have done this, we will be able to design a study to test how effective this intervention is in enabling some people to stay at  home where possible, thus reducing the need for conveyance to hospital — easing the burden on patients, their families, the ambulance services and the hospitals.”