Capital Air Ambulance Receives CQC Approval And A Home Office License For Controlled Drugs

Capital Air Ambulance, a division of Pula Aviation Services Limited, has achieved two milestones during April.

It has been accredited by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for the practice of health and social care services in England and it has been awarded a controlled drugs license by the Home Office.

The CQC accreditation acknowledges Capital as providing the same care standards as achieved by the NHS in England and covers diagnostic and screening procedures, transport services, triage and medical advice provided remotely, treatment of disease, and disorder or injury.

Granted by the independent regulator of health and social care in England, the accreditation sets Capital’s air ambulance and ground ambulance services ahead by ensuring NHS-equivalent medical care standards are delivered.

Dr Rowan Hardy,
Medical Director,
Capital Air Ambulance Ltd.

The separate Home Office license granted to Capital approves the storage and handling procedures of controlled drugs that will be used by Capital’s medical teams during air and ground ambulance operations.

Dr. Rowan Hardy, Medical Director at Capital Air Ambulance, said: “We are delighted that Capital has been able to demonstrate it meets the CQC’s fundamental standards of quality and safety and gained this approval alongside the Home Office license for controlled drugs.’

“With the approvals resulting from an examination of every aspect of our care, from medical equipment and medicines used to the qualifications and training of medical staff, this means our patients will receive the same standard of high-quality care as provided by the UK’s hospitals and other health care facilities.”

Welsh Ambulance Service And Macmillan Cancer Support Launch New Initiative To Improve Care For Terminally Ill Patients

The Welsh Ambulance Service has joined forces with Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, launching a new initiative to improve the care delivered to terminally ill patients.

The collaboration, which launched during Dying Matters Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021), is designed to improve the training delivered to ambulance crews so they can provide the very best care for patients at the end of life.

The training helps to give staff a greater understanding of end of life care, supporting clinicians to better recognise when a patient is nearing end of their life, and improving communication and symptom management skills to prevent avoidable hospital admissions.

Ed O’Brian, Macmillan Paramedic and the Trust’s End of Life Care Lead, said: “The collaboration between Welsh Ambulance and Macmillan Cancer Support will bring huge benefits to patients and staff across Wales.

“Ambulance clinicians are often called to assist patients nearing the end of their life due to an advanced or terminal illness, so it’s vital they can do so having had the appropriate training and with the right support structure around them to deliver the best care.’

“The network of support being developed as part of this project in conjunction with Palliative Care Wales is invaluable, such as the ability for an ambulance clinician anywhere in Wales to be able to contact a palliative medicine doctor 24/7 from the patient’s home to seek their advice and guidance in order to achieve the best outcome for the patient.’

“The two-year project will also help us to identify why, where and when patients at the end of life are needing to access the ambulance service, so we can identify areas for further development across the health and care sector in Wales.”

This is the latest in a series of initiatives between the Welsh Ambulance Service and Macmillan Cancer Support designed to improve the care that palliative patients receive.

Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said: “Macmillan is so very proud to be able to help fund this project through the fantastic and tireless support given by our fundraisers.’

“This first-of-its-kind partnership means we can help people, and their loved ones, to spend their final days in the way they want.’

“As people near the end of life, dignity and the knowledge that their final wishes have been met is the best comfort and gift we can give them.”

In 2019, the Welsh Ambulance Service won an NHS Wales Award in the Delivering Person-Centred Services category for its End of Life Care Rapid Transport Service, as well as the Outstanding Contribution to Transforming Health and Care Award.

The End of Life Care Rapid Transport Service, delivered by the Trust’s Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service, works with teams across Wales to provide transport for terminally ill patients to their preferred place of death.

The enhanced service ensures patients and their families have minimal delays, helping to reduce any further distress and anxiety.

The dedicated service has made nearly 2,000 compassionate journeys since its introduction in 2017.

The Trust was also the first ambulance service in the UK to introduce ‘Just in Case’ medications to its frontline emergency vehicles, allowing paramedics to better manage the symptoms that may sometimes be experienced as terminally ill patients become more poorly.

Nikki Pease, Palliative Care Consultant at Velindre University NHS Trust, added: “Where and how people die matters.’

“This all-Wales collaborative project serves to ensure first class end of life care to all.”

Join The Welsh Ambulance Service’s New People and Community Network

The Welsh Ambulance Service is inviting the public to join its brand new network.

Members of the Trust’s People and Community Network can attend meetings, take surveys and share their own experience at the hands of the ambulance service in order to shape the way services are delivered.

They can also take part in ‘Mystery Shopper’ exercises to identify where improvements could be made, whether to its Emergency Medical Service, Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service or NHS 111 Wales.

The network launches this week, and is open to patients, carers, community groups or anyone with an interest in how the Welsh Ambulance Service works.

Leanne Hawker, the Trust’s Head of Patient Experience and Community Involvement, said: “Patients are at the heart of everything we do, so it’s important we hear first-hand from people with lived experience in order to deliver meaningful improvements.’

“With the launch of this network comes an opportunity to engage with people we may not have engaged with before, and enlist as broad a spectrum of people as possible to allow us to deliver more person-centred care.’

“In turn, we hope to build a network for all people from all backgrounds, truly representative of the communities we serve.”

Leanne added: “The co-design of services with our communities is key to delivering the best ambulance service possible for people in Wales.’

“For us, this is about innovating services for the needs of people, through the inclusion of people.’

“Put simply, our message is this – be part of the change you want to see.”

To join the People and Community Network, please complete this online form.

Alternatively, you can email or call 01792 311773.

Members of the network will receive regular communications from the Welsh Ambulance Service and will be given the chance to participate in a Welcome Day.

Follow @WelshAmbPECI on Twitter for more news and updates about the People and Community Network.

Welsh Ambulance Service Donates Laptops To Schoolchildren In Need

The Welsh Ambulance Service donated more than 100 of its old computers to help schoolchildren in South Wales with remote learning through Covid-19.

Tens of thousands of children in Wales had to study from home when schools closed their doors through the pandemic – but not all families had a computer.

The Trust was one of 20 organisations who answered a call for surplus ICT equipment which could be put to good use, and donated 107 of its ‘pre-loved’ computers and laptops to the cause.

From left to right: Cllr Lis Burnett, Paramedic Petra Geddes, James Evans from A & LH Environmental Services Ltd, and pupils of Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg.

Nicola Stephens, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Estates Officer and Environmental Specialist, said: “The pandemic meant we had to make huge changes, not just as an emergency service but as a society.’

“The support we had from the public was overwhelming, and this was our way of paying something back, a small token of our appreciation.’

“We could help, so we did, and hopefully among the recipients there are pupils who one day might consider a career in the ambulance service.’

“As an organisation we are very aware of our environmental impact, and being able to re-use this equipment rather than recycle it is a small but positive step.”

The Trust joined forces with A & LH Environmental Services Ltd to refurbish the old equipment, which was wiped completely clean of secure data prior to distribution.

Alun Haines, Managing Director of A & LH Environmental Services Ltd, said: “To us, it seemed like the obvious way to help during a really tough year.’

Pupils from Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg

“We have the capabilities to ensure the equipment was completely data clear and tested before passing it to the Vale of Glamorgan Council to distribute among schools.’

“With the help of the Welsh Ambulance Service and the Vale of Glamorgan Council, we’ve been able to help lots of children to continue learning, and we will continue to help where we can.”

Among the schools gifted with equipment was Barry’s Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg.

Head teacher Rhys Angell-Jones said: “As the school continues to develop, technology has been at the forefront in our education and provision and as a school we promote our pupils to be digital leaders.’

“We are extremely grateful for this donation which will have a direct impact on our pupils’ progress

“Thank you for this kind donation.” 

Digital Leader Dilwyn Owen added: “We are delighted to receive these computers from the ambulance service.’

“Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg prides itself on our use of IT within the curriculum.’

“Blended learning over the past year has reinforced our vision of a device for all pupils.’

“These tools will improve our provision within the school and bring the reality of a digital curriculum closer.”

ICT equipment was distributed to schools via local authorities.

Councillor Lis Burnett, Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “We’d like to thank the Welsh Ambulance Service and A & LH Environmental Services Ltd for these computers, which I’m sure will be of huge benefit to the pupils that use them.’

“A range of ICT equipment has been donated by companies during the pandemic.’

“This has helped support home learning for pupils and school staff and also provided extra resources for the classroom.”

Welsh Ambulance Service Commends Military’s Contribution to COVID-19 Effort

The Welsh Ambulance Service has extended a thanks to the Armed Forces for its support through the Coronavirus pandemic.

More than 200 British Army soldiers assisted the Trust’s Covid-19 effort by driving and decontaminating ambulance vehicles as part of Operation Rescript.

Among them were 90 soldiers from 9 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, who were enlisted on Christmas Eve at the height of the second wave of the pandemic.

Lee Brooks,
Director of Operations,
Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Today, the Trust presented a commemorative plaque to Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE, the commander for military support in Wales, as a token of its appreciation.

Lee Brooks, Director of Operations, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been the most challenging period in our history, but having the military on board put us in the best possible position to face the task ahead.’

“We were very fortunate to have enlisted their support, and the presence of military colleagues was well received by staff, volunteers and our patients alike.’

“We’ve enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the military, which has been further strengthened as a result of their support through COVID-19.’

“We were thrilled to present Brigadier Dawes with a token of our appreciation today.”

Jason Killens,
Chief Executive,
Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Chief Executive Jason Killens added: “We’re extremely proud and grateful to have had the military working alongside our staff in the collective effort against COVID-19.

“Their support has not only strengthened our existing relationships with the Armed Forces community but has opened up new opportunities for collaboration in future.’

“We hope that their glimpse into the world of the ambulance service has been as rewarding an experience for them as it has been for us.”

More than 20,000 military personnel were tasked with supporting public services across the UK during the pandemic as part of a ‘Covid Support Force’.

Their support of the Welsh Ambulance Service, under what is known as Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA), has now drawn to a close.

Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE said: “Over the last 12 months, we have all faced challenges beyond our imagination.

“Our resilience has been pushed to a point none of us could have anticipated.’

“Throughout I have been struck by the unwavering commitment of our health care providers across Wales and the selfless way each and every one of them has faced setback, loss, trauma and exhaustion — yet carried on.’

“We in the military are humbled and extremely proud to have been able to step up and support NHS Wales when it was needed.’

“It has been a genuine privilege to work side by side with our partners in the Welsh Ambulance Services during the past year.’

“Men and women from across the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have been supporting the Welsh Government’s response to COVID-19 for more than a year.’

From LEft to Right: Director of Operations Lee Brooks, Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE, Chief Executive Jason Killens, and Major Chris Graham

“In April 2020, our first military teams deployed to the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust after an intensive training package in Sennybridge.’

“More teams followed in the summer and again on Christmas Eve and have only now recently concluded their work.’

“At the height of our support to the Welsh Ambulance Service, more than 100 of our people from across a range of Army units were deployed as ambulance crews, supporting more than 12,000 callouts across Wales.’

“I have heard some extraordinary stories from those service personnel involved.’

“They have all been humbled by the professionalism and commitment of the ambulance crews who deal with the unexpected and traumatic with empathy and patience on a daily basis.’

“We have forged a lasting relationship with the ambulance service, an organisation with whom we share very similar values, a work ethic and a sense of duty.’

“It has been a real honour to work alongside them.”

Modern New Station for Cardigan Bay Ambulance Crews

Welsh Ambulance Service crews in Cardigan Bay are preparing to move to a state-of-the-art new permanent home.

Crews previously based in a Portakabin at New Quay Fire Station will move to a new facility in nearby Aberaeron in November.

A full refurbishment of a 1,700 square foot building on the grounds of Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Minaeron complex is now underway.

The facility will include a garage and two-bay ambulance area as well as a kitchen, rest room and showers.

Catrin Convery, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Locality Manager in Ceredigion, said: “Until recently, our New Quay crews were based out of a Portakabin but extensive storm damage meant our presence there was untenable.

A digital rendering of the new station

“Since then, colleagues have been working out of locations across the county, so very much look forward to coming together once more and having a base to call their own.’

“The Aberaeron site will deliver the improved and fit-for-purpose facilities that our staff deserve, which in turn will mean a better service for the people of Ceredigion.”

The move is part of a broader programme of work to modernise the Trust’s estate, which recently has meant improvements in Tredegar, St Asaph, Swansea, Whitland, Llanidloes and Barry.

More new facilities in South Wales are also in the pipeline, including in the capital city where the Cardiff Area Ambulance Centre is mid-way through construction.

The new facility will include a ‘make ready’ depot for the cleaning and re-stocking of ambulances, as well as an education centre and a hub for the Trust’s Cycle Response Unit.

Richard Davies, the Trust’s Assistant Director of Capital and Estates, said: “One of our key priorities as an organisation is to ensure our people have access to facilities that are safe, well maintained and fit-for-purpose and which allow them to serve communities to the best of their ability.’

“A move to the Minaeron complex also presents the perfect opportunity to work more closely with our health board colleagues, with whom we already have an excellent working relationship, and we’re grateful for their support in progressing this exciting project.”

Peter Skitt, Hywel Dda University Health Board’s County Director for Ceredigion, said: “This development is a fantastic opportunity for a more integrated and sustainable approach for the people of Ceredigion.

“It allows our teams to work more closely together and deliver a more seamless approach to the delivery of our services.’

“We very much look forward to the completion and to working more closely with our Welsh Ambulance Service colleagues.”

Swansea-based Edmunds Webster Ltd is undertaking the refurbishment, which has meant the demolition of external walls and internal partitions to pave way for the new facility.

Welsh Ambulance Service Unveils New State-Of-The-Art Training Facility

The Welsh Ambulance Service has unveiled a state-of-the-art new training facility.

The Workforce Education and Development Centre in Swansea boasts an immersive training room, where simulation technology recreates real-life scenarios to put crews’ clinical skills to the test.

It features 360 degree projectable walls, a scent dispersal machine and is temperature controlled to give scenarios the realistic look and feel of actual events.

The facility on Swansea Enterprise Park also has ‘smart storage walls’ equipped in a similar way to an ambulance, as well as three classrooms which can open up as one to allow for socially distant learning.

It will be used to train colleagues in the Emergency Medical Service and Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service across South Wales.

Andrew Challenger, the Trust’s Assistant Director for Professional Education and Training, said: “It has been an honour to lead the Education and Training Team for the last four years and to influence the design of the building.

“This state-of-the-art facility will enhance the quality of education in our ambulance service, and the immersive training room really is the jewel in the crown.’

“The building is contemporary, modern and light which is conducive to the wellbeing of or staff.’

“It really is a milestone in our development as a Trust.”

The facility is the eagerly-awaited replacement for the National Ambulance Training College, a former nurses’ quarters in the grounds of Cefn Coed Hospital which the Trust took ownership of in 1998.

Claire Vaughan, Executive Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said: “Our facility at Cefn Coed Hospital has served us for more than 20 years, but it’s very much of its time.’

“The Welsh Ambulance Service is at the forefront of innovation, and we needed a training facility which reflects our ambition to be a leading ambulance service, nationally and internationally.’

“We’re proud and delighted to call Matrix House our new home, and know that the new recruits who come here to complete their training are going to share our enthusiasm.”

Matrix House, which the service shares with Public Health Wales and the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, completes a trio of training facilities across Wales, which also includes facilities in Denbighshire and Cardiff.

It is also stone’s throw from the Trust’s new regional headquarters at nearby Matrix One, and is part of a broader programme of work to modernise the Trust’s estate.

Richard Davies, Assistant Director of Capital and Estates, said: “We’re thrilled that this project has come to fruition after many years, and that colleagues and students can finally get to experience the facilities they deserve.’

“I’d like to extend a special thank you to our Estates, Capital and ICT teams, and also to the training team for their patience and can-do attitude throughout.”

Ambulance Technician With Incurable Cancer To Tie The Knot After Mammoth Fundraiser

An ambulance technician whose indigestion turned out to be incurable cancer will marry his fiancée next week after a fundraiser to pay for the big day reached seven times its goal.

Dorian Williams, 44, was diagnosed with stomach cancer after he developed ‘unbearable’ pain for which he took himself to A&E while on a night shift as an Emergency Medical Technician in Swansea.

Three weeks later and following a series of tests, doctors broke the news that the father-of-three had advanced stomach cancer which could not be cured.

Dorian’s friends and colleagues have since raised more than £17,000 so that he can marry his fiancée of nine years, Louise, in a ceremony next week.

He will begin a course of chemotherapy this Friday to manage his symptoms and prolong his life.

Dorian said: “Truthfully, I still don’t think I’ve come to terms with it.’

“I was just shell-shocked when they told me it was cancer and that it was terminal.’

Dorian Williams

“It’s been all systems go and we haven’t had a moment to process it yet, but our friends have been fantastic in helping to plan the wedding of a lifetime.”

Dorian, of Blaen-y-Maes, Swansea, began to experience symptoms in September.

He said: “I’d been feeling lethargic for a while, but I just put it down to working 12-hour shifts and putting on some weight through the pandemic.’

“I also had indigestion, which the doctor prescribed me Gaviscon for and it went away in the end, so it wasn’t a problem.’

“The indigestion returned in February of this year and lasted about a week, then over Easter weekend I developed a pain in my right shoulder which became unbearable.’

“I was actually on a night shift at the time, so took myself off to A&E where the doctors thought it might have been a trapped nerve and gave me pain relief.’

“I also changed my eating habits to try and ease the indigestion, and over the course of a couple of weeks was able to lose some weight.”

But by mid-April, both the pain and indigestion had returned.

Dorian said: “Louise and I were actually away for the week in Carmarthen Bay but came back early so I could get myself to A&E again.’

“They did an emergency ultrasound, as well as a biopsy and endoscopy to see if they could get to the bottom of what was happening.’

“A week later, they called me back and told me I had stage four cancer of the stomach and liver.’

“Chemotherapy will prolong my life but not save it, and unfortunately we’re talking months, not years.”

Dorian, who has worked for the Welsh Ambulance Service for 20 years, and whose brother Ken is Acting Locality Manager in Powys, is urging others to be aware of the signs and symptoms.

He said: “To be honest, none of my symptoms seemed out of place.’

“I put my tiredness down to working 12-hour shifts and my indigestion down to eating on the move, such is the nature of the role.’

“I didn’t even have any pain until the later stages, by which point the cancer had spread.’

“My advice to anyone with the same symptoms as I had, or to anyone experiencing unexplained changes to their body, is to visit their GP and get it checked out.”

Dorian, a suicide first aid trainer who is two years into a three-year counselling degree at the University of South Wales, will pause his studies in order to receive treatment at the South West Wales Cancer Centre at Swansea’s Singleton Hospital.

The Jac Lewis Foundation, for whom Dorian is a volunteer counsellor, has also offered Dorian and his family free counselling during his treatment.

Dorian, a training officer for St John Cymru Wales in West Glamorgan for more than a decade, said: “Supporting people to manage their wellbeing is something I’ve always enjoyed.

“In 2018, I became a Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) Practitioner to help my colleagues in the ambulance service to manage traumatic events and was about to progress to TRiM Manager.

“I was also announced as GMB Union’s National Wellbeing Lead for the Welsh Ambulance Service at the start of this year.

“It’s something I’ve always been passionate about, but you just don’t expect to be on the receiving end of it for something like this.

“It’s surreal and emotional, but my family are keeping me focused, especially my brother Ken who also works in the service.”

Dorian’s marriage to Louise, 39, will take place at Oldwalls Gower, where their daughter Natalia, nine, and Dorian’s stepchildren Nathan, 19, and Naomi, 18, a soon-to-be mum, will help the couple to tie the knot.

“We’re truly humbled and amazed by everyone who has rallied together to make this special day happen,” said Dorian.

“It’s been overwhelming, and Louise and I can’t thank people enough.”

Click here to pledge your support to the GoFundMe page set up for Dorian and his family.

Recognising Stomach Cancer

Common symptoms include:

·       Heartburn or indigestion that does not go away

·       Weight loss

·       Loss of appetite

·       Burping a lot

·       Feeling full after eating only a small amount

Other possible symptoms are:

·       Pain or swelling in the upper tummy area

·       Being sick

·       Difficulty swallowing

·       Black stools

·       Feeling tired or breathless

·       Having hiccups a lot

It is important to get any symptoms checked by your GP.

Visit the Macmillan Cancer Support website for more information about stomach cancer.

“Work With Us, Not Against Us”, Say Emergency Workers After Rise In Assaults

Assaults on emergency workers in Wales are on the rise, new data has revealed.

More than 4,240 assaults were committed against emergency workers, including police, fire and ambulance crews, in the period April 2019 – November 2020, representing a monthly average increase from 202 in 2019 to 222 in 2020, or 10%.

Assaults ranged from kicking, punching and head-butting, to spitting, slapping, biting and verbal abuse.

More than half (58%) of incidents took place in South East Wales, and over a third (37%) were committed by people under the influence of alcohol.

With pubs set to re-open fully in Wales from Monday, emergency workers are asking the public to treat them with respect, and have the following plea — work with us, not against us.

There were 629 (15%) assaults on Welsh Ambulance Service staff over the 20-month period, from paramedics to control room staff.

Among them was Paramedic Darren Lloyd, who was assaulted by a patient in Bangor, Gwynedd, in April 2019, a result of which the man was jailed for 16 weeks.

Darren said: “We’d been called to a man who was reported to have taken an overdose, so we administered an antidote to try and revive him.’

“When he came to, he punched me twice and said: “You’ve fucked up my last hit!” I was caught unawares, I wasn’t ready for it.’

“Patients put their trust in you and we put our trust in patients, so when something like this happens, it catches you off guard.’

“It puts you on edge and it changes you. It makes you hyper-aware at other jobs now, and you question everything a lot more.’

“You question why it happened and what you did wrong.”

In a separate incident inPorthmadog, Gwynedd, in May 2019, Emergency Medical Technician ‘Ann’ was also assaulted by a patient, who was later jailed for six months.

The mother-of-three said: “I was pinned to the corner of the inside of the ambulance by a patient who was drunk, and my colleague and a member of the public had to drag him off me.’

“He was shouting in my face, kicking me and verbally abusing me.

“In the meantime, an urgent ‘Red’ call came in for a baby who had taken ill so we had to leave.

“I didn’t think it had affected me at the time, but a couple of weeks later, when another patient became irate, I took myself off to the ambulance and burst into tears.’

“I saw him in the street when he got out of prison and my heart was in my chest.’

“It’s two years on now, but what happened has stayed with me.’

“The first thing I do when I go into a patient’s house now is look for the exits.”

Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Our ambulance crews are there to help people, but they can’t fight for someone’s life if they’re fighting for theirs.’

“Our crews might have no choice but to leave a scene if their personal safety is compromised, and this isn’t helpful for anyone, least of all the patient.’

“A split-second act of violence can have a devastating and long-term impact on our staff, both physically and emotionally.’

“The debt of gratitude we owe to our emergency workers has never been greater, so now more than ever, we’re asking the public to work with us, not against us.”

Two thirds of the assaults (66%) over the 20-month period were committed against police officers, a third (33%) of which resulted in injury.

Pam Kelly, Chief Constable at Gwent Police, said: “Emergency services across Wales are committed to doing all that we can to serve the public.’

“We can only effectively do our jobs if people work with us and not against us.’

“With assaults on emergency workers continuing to rise, we are insisting and appealing for this type of behaviour to stop.’

“Too often I see the devastating impact these assaults have on police officers and other emergency workers as they go about their duty to help those in need.’

“It is important to remember that beneath any uniform is a person who has friends, family members and loved ones.’

“An assault on any emergency worker is a crime, be that physical or verbal, and will not be tolerated.”

Although fewer in number – 74 incidents over the 20-month period – data shows that assaults on fire and rescue service staff peak in November.

Simon Smith, Chief Fire Officer at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We too are adding our voice to this appeal for the public to work with us, not against us.

“The vast majority of people recognise the importance of supporting the fire and rescue service while they respond to a range of emergencies that put people, communities, livelihoods and the environment at risk.’

“Sadly, however, there are a few people who think nothing of subjecting our staff to verbal abuse or of attacking crews while they work.’

“Nobody should expect to come under any sort of attack whilst potentially saving the lives of others in an emergency.’

“We urge everyone to commit to working with us, not against us.”

As the first round of Covid-19 restrictions eased in Wales, July 2020 (256 assaults) and August 2020 (253 assaults) saw the highest volume of emergency worker assaults, increasing 20% above the monthly average of 212.

There were just 21 known incidents over the reporting period where an emergency worker was deliberately coughed at by a person who claimed to have Covid-19, but the real figure is thought to be significantly higher.

Under the Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act, the definition of an emergency worker includes police, fire and ambulance staff, as well as prison staff, search and rescue workers and NHS workers.

Andrew Goodall, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, said: “Our emergency workers deserve to feel safe as they serve us on the frontline.

“Now more than ever, we should appreciate the work they do and do everything we can to reduce their risk of being exposed to violence.’

“We need the public to treat them with respect and let them do their jobs.’

“Behind their uniform they are human beings and when they are exposed to violence it can have a significant effect on their lives.”

Andrew Hynes, Chair of the NHS Wales Anti-Violence Collaborative, which was set up to improve the reporting of incidents and better support victims through the prosecution process, added: “It is a sad indictment on society when some people feel they are entitled to physically or verbally abuse NHS staff.’

“The impact of just a single incident is much greater than people realise.’

“The response of the police, Crown Prosecution Service and the courts is swift and efficient, and the consequences of a momentary lapse in judgement will lead to extremely serious punishments being applied.’

“We ask that people act considerately and with patience when seeking or receiving medical care.”

In 2018, the maximum sentence under the Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act was doubled from six months to 12 months in prison, but criminals could soon face up to two years in prison under new laws.

Tony Dicken, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS Cymru Wales, said: “Any assault or abuse of an emergency worker is viewed extremely seriously by the CPS.’

“The fact that the victim has been providing a service to the public is highlighted as an aggravating feature of the offence when courts pass sentence, which can increase the penalty given.’

“Emergency workers are there to help the public and should be able to do so safely and without fear.’

“The CPS is committed to using the full weight of the law to protect them.”

The With Us Not Against Us campaign is spearheaded by the Joint Emergency Service Group (JESG) in Wales, which is comprised of the blue light services, Armed Forces, NHS Wales and Welsh Government, to consider cross-service issues of mutual interest.

Pledge your support and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #WithUsNotAgainstUs or #GydaNiNidYnEinHerbyn.

New EMS Radio Station Attracts International Attention

Seasoned Paramedic Teams up With Hobby Radio Broadcaster to Create a Radio Station Dedicated to Global Emergency Medical Services.

Gordon Bates, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and Andrew Winter of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, launched a new internet radio station earlier this year on April 17th dedicated to medical first responders.

Bates, who has spent more than 45 years in EMS and has a music background, came up with the idea 20 years ago.

He thought it would be a great way to connect the medical first responder profession worldwide, while at the same time creating a business opportunity.

Bates said, “For a number of reasons, the timing wasn’t right until now”. He related that, 20 years ago, he asked Andrew to secure the name, RadioEMS, declaring in kind of a humorous tone that they would need it one day.

Andrew Winter, a relative and business associate of Bates, has the training and experience in radio, broadcasting, internet radio operations, and website design, which are all essential to establishing the operational side of RadioEMS.

Winter also worked for several years coordinating international air and ground ambulance patient transports, binding his understanding of radio broadcasting with the medical response profession.

“It’s exciting,” said Winter. “With today’s technology, we can prerecord our music, shows and interviews, and broadcast globally at FM output, making this a very high quality yet relatively low cost and manageable venture.”

The RadioEMS goal is to create and inspire a global connection for all Emergency Medical Responders. The station will do this by broadcasting music, information, and education, while ensuring that two of the constant components are humour and fun.

Bates wants RadioEMS to be a contributor to the EMS profession, while offering advertisers targeted marketing opportunities to those who influence the purchase of industry products and services. And it looks like things are headed in that direction.

Bates and Winter cannot conceal their excitement when talking about early success. They knew starting out that it would take time to reach the EMS profession on a global basis and to attract dedicated listeners, so station exposure will be key to their success.

With potential listeners widely dispersed around the globe, RadioEMS is experiencing encouraging response from a variety of countries.

They have regular listeners, have conducted interviews, and have received tremendous feedback from numerous people and emergency response services within Canada, the USA, South Africa, India, Kenya, Central America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, and more.

“It’s a lot of fun and very invigorating to receive such a positive response immediately following our launch”, Winter said. However, as we can see, they’re just getting started. Not bad for a home-based business!

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If you have any suggestions or ideas for something you’d like to hear on RadioEMS, Gordon can be reached via: