Welsh Ambulance Service Colleagues Recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Two Welsh Ambulance Service colleagues have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, it was announced this evening.

Andy Swinburn, the Trust’s Associate Director of Paramedicine, and Sue Owen-Williams, a Nurse Advisor for NHS 111 Wales, have been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal.

Meanwhile, former Chief Executive Tracy Myhill has also been awarded an OBE for her services to NHS Wales.

Tracy Myhill, former Chief Executive, WAST

They are among 1,129 recipients to receive an award – from caring neighbours, frontline and community heroes, to those supporting the UK’s Covid-19 recovery.

Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We’re beyond thrilled that Andy and Sue have been recognised in the Honours List, which is testament to their commitment to the NHS over many years.’

“These awards recognise the hard work and dedication of some of our very best ambulance professionals, and I’d like to extend a huge congratulations to our recipients.”

Sue Owen-Williams, Nurse Advisor,
NHS 111 Wales

Sue Owen-Williams joined NHS Direct Wales – now the NHS 111 Wales service – in 2005 as a Nurse Advisor after working as a Staff Nurse on a genito-urinary unit, having qualified in 1994.

Sue, who is based in Bangor, Gwynedd, has raised thousands of pounds for cancer charities through a series of gruelling walks, including Cancer Research UK’s Shine Night Walk and nine of Walk the Walk charity’s MoonWalks.

Director of Operations Lee Brooks QAM said: “Sue’s commitment and dedication to her fundraising efforts are testament to her tenacity.

“At work, Sue delivers excellent clinical advice for her patients at all times.’ 

“She works calmly and effectively, and provides kind and compassionate support to our patients and the team around her when they are dealing with complex clinical issues.’

“It is an exceptional professional that can pull together a team which is under pressure and recognise when her colleagues require support. 

“She is a remarkable, caring nurse and invaluable to our organisation.”

Meanwhile, Andy Swinburn joined Lancashire Ambulance Service in 1991 as an Ambulance Person and progressed to Ambulance Technician, Paramedic, Leading Ambulance Paramedic and Operational Trainer.

He was appointed Education and Training Manager in 2002, and in 2006, became the Professional Development Manager at North West Ambulance Service, where he led the development of a clinical leadership structure.

Andy Swinburn,
Director of Paramedicine,
WAST

It was during this time the Lancashire-native also obtained his MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice from Bolton University.

In 2013, Andy moved to East Midlands Ambulance Service to take up the role of Consultant Paramedic before securing his current position at the Welsh Ambulance Service in 2017.

He already has a string of awards to his name, including Health Service Journal’s Best Innovation Award, as well as the Allied Health Professional of the Year Award and Allied Health Professional Clinical Leadership Award in the Advancing Healthcare Awards.

Medical Director Dr Brendan Lloyd said: “Andy’s ground-breaking work around Advanced Paramedic Practitioners and leadership of the profession, both locally and through the College of Paramedics, means the Welsh Ambulance Service is recognised as one of the most progressive in terms of advanced paramedic practice.

“In 2018, Andy also implemented a 24/7 Senior Clinical Support service for staff so that no decision is made in isolation, which continues successfully today across Wales.”

Also recognised in the list is Tracy Myhill, the Trust’s Chief Executive from 2014-18, who has been awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to NHS Wales.

Tracy said: “I’ve been so privileged to have had such an extraordinary and rewarding career – from receptionist to Chief Executive – working with so many exceptional and inspirational people.’

“I have been, and remain, passionate about improving the health of the population and health services for the people of Wales and whilst now retired from the NHS, I remain dedicated to supporting people and organisations to be the best they can be.’

“And to every receptionist out there, I say you too can achieve anything you dare to dream of.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The Queen’s Birthday Honours allow us to pay tribute to all those who have gone above and beyond in their service to this country.

“Throughout the pandemic we have seen countless examples of every day heroes.

“From those using their expertise to help develop life-saving vaccines, which are now being rolled out successfully to all parts of the UK, to the people who have given time and energy to care for their communities.’

“We should take heart from the stories of those receiving honours today and be inspired by their courage and kindness.’

“May they be a reminder of all that we can achieve when we come together as a society.”

London Ambulance Service Medics Recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Two of London Ambulance Service’s most experienced medics have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced on Friday evening (11 June 2021).

Consultant midwife Amanda Mansfield has been awarded an MBE for ‘Services to Midwifery’ in the latest round of honours, while clinical team manager Jason Morris received a Queen’s Ambulance Medal.

Amanda’s MBE comes less than three months after she was presented with a prestigious ‘Chief Midwifery Officer’s Gold Award’ to recognise the achievements of a career in midwifery spanning 30 years.

Amanda Mansfield,
Consultant Midwife and recipient of Queen’s Ambulance Medal,
LAS

Speaking of the honour, Amanda said: “I feel passionately that wherever women and their babies access care, it is the best it can be and a joyful experience.’

“This acknowledgement of my commitment and hard work is such an honour.’

“It’s a privilege to be in this role. I’m very lucky to have such a fantastic team at London Ambulance Service who make a real difference to mothers and babies in London and I know they will be pleased for me.”

Amanda joined LAS in 2015 where she has been instrumental in helping make sure mothers, babies, partners and families receive care that makes a difference across London.  Before her current role she worked as a strategic midwifery and maternity leader at the Royal Free Hospital in London and at Stoke Mandeville, Wycombe and Wexham Park hospitals.

Amanda recalled how she was so shocked when she received the email informing her she had been honoured, she thought it might be a scam.

“I couldn’t believe it”, she said. “I showed my husband Julian the email and said, ‘It says I’ve been awarded an MBE’. He said, ‘You have!’ ”

The pair marked the honour that evening with a glass of champagne. Now the honours are public, they look forward to celebrating the news with family.

Jason Morris,
Clinical Team Manager and Recipient of Queen’s Ambulance Medal,
LAS

Jason Morris’ Queen’s Ambulance Medal recognises 22 years of service at London Ambulance, the last 14 of which have been in a leadership role as a clinical team manager in south-west London.

During his time at LAS, Jason has championed many initiatives including the development of a ‘Red-Bag’ scheme for care home residents in Sutton which reduced hospital stays by up to four days and also reduced losses of patients’ personal and valuable items.

Due to its success in Sutton, this local initiative was then rolled out nationally in 2018.

Since 2009, Jason has also been seconded to London’s Air Ambulance and is currently one of its longest serving paramedics. He takes a leading role in training and developing the team of Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) doctors and paramedics.

He has also spearheaded improvements to the performance and efficiency of the London’s Air Ambulance dispatch systems by harnessing new technology. This included piloting GoodSAM instant on-scene video link technology to assess scenes and patients and assist the Service in sending the most appropriate resources in each case.

More recently during the Covid-19 response, Jason took a leading role in protecting LAS staff, volunteers and patients by ensuring medics had the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and finding solutions when challenges arose.

After discovering he had been awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal, Jason said: “It’s a real honour to be recognised in this way and I’m quite overwhelmed.’

“From my point of view I’m just part of the team and it wouldn’t be possible for me to do my job every day without the support of everyone else around me.’

“Ever since I was a kid my ambition was always to help others and so this is my dream job. I love what I do and I wouldn’t ever want to do anything else.”

Speaking after the announcement of the latest honours, London Ambulance Service chair Heather Lawrence OBE said:

“We are so privileged at London Ambulance Service to be working with some of the most dedicated and experienced people in the NHS, and Amanda and Jason’s contributions to our Service and the people of London are a prime example of this.’

“I’m thrilled for both of them that their hard work and determination to keep improving patient care has been recognised with these prestigious honours.”

Strategic Head of Resilience Recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Simon Swallow, strategic head of emergency preparedness, resilience and response at the North East Ambulance Service, has been awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal in the 2021 Birthday Honour’s list. He is the third recipient of the prestigious honour in the North East region.

The award is presented to acknowledge distinguished service in the ambulance service and is awarded in recognition of the enormous contribution and influence Simon has made in his 35-year career in the ambulance service and NHS.

Chief Executive Helen Ray said: “This is a well-deserved honour and on behalf of the Trust I am delighted that Simon has been recognised for his contribution to the ambulance service and wider NHS.’

“His commitment was evident early in his career when he volunteered to deliver presentations to numerous community organisations to raise awareness and educate the public on the aims of the ambulance service.’

Helen Ray,
Chief Executive,
NEAS

“He still volunteers in NEAS today as a family liaison officer during serious incident investigations. Many have commented to me how Simon often puts his feelings to one side to help and support the patients and their families.”

Simon Swallow, aged 51, is married and lives in Whitley Bay. He has three children. He said: “I am honoured, humbled and proud to have receive this honour. It’s been such a journey working these 35 years in the service and it still feels very special to work here. I enjoy it as much now as I did on my first day.”

Reflecting on his investiture, he added: “I have been involved since 1995 in looking after the Royal family. I’ve always been in the background so it will feel very different to finally meet them when I receive this honour.”

Simon was a cadet in the ambulance service aged 16 and qualified as a paramedic seven years’ later in 1993. He quickly received the appreciation from the Department of Health for his work on the reception, treatment and transportation of the four Bosnian casualties flown in to Newcastle by the RAF.

This later became the Reception Arrangements for Military Patients (RAMP) programme, transporting casualties from abroad to major trauma centres.

Simon has gone on to be involved in numerous multi-agency operations, some high profile, where his experience and skills have made a difference in both caring for patients and protecting the public, including:

  • Operation Hourglass: A pilot scheme which later became the national “booze bus” initiative
  • Operation Ginger: Simon set up the first of its kind partnership with police in North East
  • Raoul Moat manhunt: Ambulance commander during a high-profile week long incident
  • 2012 Olympics: In the North East and as strategic commander supporting London Ambulance Service in the National Olympic Coordination Centre
  • Great North Run: 26 years as a commander to the largest mass-participation event in the UK
  • World Transplant Games: Lead planner for medical cover at all the venues
Simon Swallow,
Strategic Head of Emergency Preparedness, Resilience & Response,
NEAS

In the early 2000s, Simon spent time teaching in Kuwait on behalf of NEAS and remains an advocate for raising awareness and supporting training for Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) contingencies. He was later involved in writing the CBRN manual and training for the CBRN clinical decontamination programme.

Simon went on to lead the early implementation of the Special Operations Response Team and trained 140 NEAS staff in early 2002. Five years later, he was again working alongside the Department of Health and national teams to trial “hot zone” working which later became the Hazardous Area Response Team.

All aspects of police and royalty protection planning and delivery has been led by Simon, including visits of prime ministers, presidents, popes, and monarchs.

Recently, Simon has led on the COVID-19 swabbing, anti-body testing and vaccine programme, working tirelessly to organise clinics and act as a point of contact for all staff and liaising with partners to secure vaccine appointments.

London Ambulance Service Announces New Appointments to Senior Leadership Team

London Ambulance Service have announced the appointment of two non-executive directors and an associate non-executive director to support its trust board building a world-class ambulance service.

Bob Alexander

During a career in finance and accounting spanning more than 30 years, Bob Alexander operated at board level across public sector organisations including the NHS, the Civil Service and Metropolitan Police.

Bob Alexander

He retired from the role of Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Improvement in 2018 but continues to perform numerous non-executive roles including Independent Chair of Sussex Health and Care Partnership; non-executive director of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (where he is currently Interim Chair), and non-executive director of Community Health Partnerships Ltd.

He has an MBA and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

 Speaking about his appointment, he said: “As an emergency service operating in one of the greatest capital cities in the world, London Ambulance Service is a high profile healthcare organisation delivering important services to Londoners and visitors alike.’

“I want to use my experience of NHS management and finance to ensure it is best placed to successfully manage its future sustainability in the face of the NHS recovery challenge as we emerge from the Covid pandemic.”

Dr Anne Rainsberry CBE

Dr Anne Rainsberry CBE

With a professional background in HR and management, Dr Anne Rainsberry has 32 years’ experience working in the NHS at local, regional and national levels.

Before joining healthcare and life sciences consultancy Carnall Farrar as managing partner in 2017, Anne was London regional director at NHS England for four years where she led major service changes in the capital including the reconfiguration of cancer and cardiac services.

Anne’s tandem role as the national executive lead for emergency preparedness — ensuring the NHS has resilience to cope with incidents from extreme weather to terrorist attacks — also brought her into frequent contact with emergency services including London Ambulance.

Previously, Anne was chief executive of NHS NW London and Deputy Chief Executive of NHS London and through her career has held a number of managerial NHS roles in London and the south east.

Anne was awarded a CBE in 2017 for services to the NHS.

Speaking of her appointment as non-executive director, she said: “London Ambulance Service has a huge opportunity to transform healthcare in the capital over the next decade and I am excited to be part of that work.’

“I am looking forward to supporting the board as they deliver on their strategy at such a profoundly challenging time for the NHS and its staff.”

Line de Decker

Line de Decker

For 24 years, Line De Decker has worked at senior levels in large corporations leading them through transformational change programmes.

Line has been with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for over 13 years in HR business partner roles of increasing responsibility before last year becoming Head of the GSK Transformation Office charged with preparing the organisation for separation and creating two new companies.

Before GSK, Line worked at DuPont, UCB and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Speaking of her appointment as Associate Non-Executive Director, Line said: “I am delighted to be able to use my experience of cultural change and transformation to make a contribution to this wonderful city.’

“I want to help guide the board in their complex role as they lead the thousands of London Ambulance Service staff who make a difference to millions of Londoners each year.”

Heather Lawrence OBE, chair of the Trust board, said:“As we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s vital we keep driving forward the strategic change necessary to fulfil our vision to be a world-class ambulance service.’

“I am delighted to confirm these appointments to the board. All three bring different perspectives, but each of them appreciate the importance of supporting our people as we deliver change during such challenging times.”

Dr Anne Rainsberry took up her role on 1 May. Line De Decker takes up her role in June, and Bob Alexander on 1 September.

Their appointments follow the departure of non-executive directors Fergus Cass and Jayne Mee.

Thanking them for their service, Trust Chair Heather Lawrence said: “I would like to thank Fergus and Jayne for their dedication and the advice they brought to the Board throughout this unprecedented time for London Ambulance Service.”

The London Ambulance Service Trust board is responsible for appointing non-executive directors through a process of open advertising and formal selection interview, and NHS Appointments then ratifies them.

Welsh Ambulance Service Celebrates Volunteers Week’ 2021

The Welsh Ambulance Service spent last week celebrating the work of its volunteers as part of National Volunteers’ Week.

Volunteers’ Week (01-07 June) is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering.

More than 800 volunteers give up their time to support the ambulance service in Wales, including 600 Community First Responders and 200 Volunteer Car Drivers.

Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “As an ambulance service, we depend hugely on the contribution of our volunteers, come rain or shine.’

“The commitment from volunteers through the COVID-19 pandemic in particular has been incredible, and we are enormously grateful to those who have stepped up to help us during these difficult times.’

“Volunteers’ Week is a perfect opportunity to highlight the work they do and to publicly thank them for their ongoing commitment.”

Volunteer Car Drivers use their own vehicles to transport people to routine hospital appointments, including renal dialysis, oncology and outpatients appointments.

In 2020/21, they made 46,745 journeys across Wales and covered more than a million miles.

Among them is former police officer Judith Sutcliffe, of Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, who was so inspired by a conversation with one patient about dogs that she decided to adopt her own.

Judith Sutcliffe

Judith, a volunteer of three years, said: “You get to meet such interesting people as a Volunteer Car Driver.’

“I took one lady from Beaumaris to Gobowen and had a really good chat about dogs.’

“When we reached our destination, she asked me why I didn’t have one if I loved them so much.’

“Later, my husband and I re-homed a beautiful Brittany Setter called Remy, and this is entirely down to a patient I met through the Volunteer Car Service.’

“I love this work and it’s a privilege to deliver such an important service.”

Pennie Walker, Volunteer Manager for the Trust’s Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service, said: “The Volunteer Car Service is an important cog in the wheel of the non-emergency service.’

“Volunteers get to know their patients, especially those they transport regularly, and it’s as rewarding an experience for them as it is for patients.”

Meanwhile, Community First Responders are volunteers who attend 999 calls in their community and administer first aid in the precious first minutes before an ambulance arrives.

They are trained by the Welsh Ambulance Service to administer first aid, including oxygen therapy and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as well as the use of a defibrillator.

Last year, Community First Responders attended more than 9,500 emergencies, arriving at the scene of the most serious ‘Red’ calls in an average of six minutes and 44 seconds.

Jay Garden

Among them is Jay Garden, of Holyhead, Anglesey, who was inspired to join after his sister experienced a medical emergency which saw the family call 999 for help.

After two years in a volunteering role, the father-of-three has decided to pursue a career at the ambulance service and will begin his training as an Emergency Medical Technician next week.

Jay said: “In 2019, my sister went into anaphylactic shock at home.

“While I had a good level of casualty care training through my volunteering with the RNLI, nothing could prepare me to see one of my family members in crisis.

“When the paramedic walked through the door with the kit in his bag to save my sister’s life, it was a moment which changed my life.

“On the journey to hospital, I asked the paramedic question after question and that’s when I learned about becoming a Community First Responder.

“I signed up to the course and never looked back.

“It’s safe to say that volunteering has changed my life.”

Glyn Thomas, the Trust’s Alternative Responder Manager, said: “Every second counts in an emergency, and the role that first responders play in initiating that chain of survival can literally mean the difference between life and death.

“First responders don’t just provide life-saving support at events such as cardiac arrests; they’re also trained to deal with a broader range of medical emergencies, including non-injured fallers.”

The Trust is preparing to launch its first Volunteers’ Strategy, which sets out how volunteers will be better integrated into the workforce and better supported to deliver the role.

Lee Brooks, the Trust’s Director of Operations, said: “Volunteering at the Welsh Ambulance Service has come a long way in the last two decades.

“There are new and exciting plans afoot as we further embrace our volunteers as part of the #TeamWAST family.”

As well as Community First Responders and Volunteer Car Drivers, the Trust also relies on the support of St John Ambulance Cymru as well as ‘BASICS’ doctors from the British Association of Immediate Care, who provide pre-hospital care at the scene of more complex emergencies.

At this time, the Trust is unable to accept applications for the role of Community First Responder, but applications for the Voluntary Car Service are welcome.

Body Cameras Rolled Out to All North East Stations to Protect Frontline Staff

All frontline ambulance staff at North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) will have access to a body worn camera in a bid to protect them against the rise of incidents of violence and aggression.

All NEAS vehicles are fitted with CCTV cameras, but with two thirds of incidents happening away from a vehicle, the service was keen to protect staff further.

NEAS was the first ambulance service to trial body worn video cameras in 2018 with around 40 members of frontline staff.

Following this trial, the Trust was successful in a funding bid from NHS England to purchase a further 160 cameras last year and has now received funding to purchase a further 200, meaning every ambulance station in the region will now have access to a camera.

So far this year, the service has already recorded 252 violence and aggression incidents, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assault.

Alcohol remains the single largest contributory factor, followed by mental health and drug misuse.

The day or time of the week does not appear to be a factor in assaults, with recent data showing staff are as likely to be attacked on a Tuesday as they are on a Saturday.

Violence and Aggression Incidents Against Staff by Year

1/4/19-31/3/20556
1/4/20-31/3/21634
1/4/21-now114


These incidents include:

Type of incident2019/202020/212021/22 so far
Racist behaviour/abuse/hate related incident222
Intimidating behaviour10514338
Patient lashing out587511
Physical assault11213129
Sexual abuse18154
Verbal abuse14412730

Darren Green, clinical services manager at NEAS, said: “Staff safety is one of our highest priorities; if we are unable to protect our staff, we are unable to provide a service that’s fit for purpose for the public we serve.’

“Nobody comes to work to be abused, but especially not when they are here to help people; often the people abusing them are the very people who called them for help.’

“We’ve all had an incredibly tough year but sadly abuse on our staff has continued to increase, meaning these cameras are needed more than ever.’

“As well as providing evidence to support criminal convictions, the cameras can also often de-escalate a situation, thereby preventing an assault from the taking place in the first place.’

“They also provide staff with a greater confidence when faced with a challenging or risky situation.’

“The availability of body worn cameras for our staff is something that we have championed for a long time and so we are delighted to have led the trial to help implement them nationally.’

“We will continue to work on measures to reduce assaults and liaise with police colleagues to ensure action is taken following any criminal acts against staff or the Trust.  We encourage all valuable NHS colleagues not to tolerate such behaviour.”

Gateshead based paramedic Gary McCaughey, who regularly uses the body cameras on shift, said: “It gives you a little more comfort in the fact that if anything does happen you’re able to record it, but it definitely acts as a deterrent — you can physically see the situation de-escalate when you tell the person you’re activating it.”

Hartlepool-based paramedic Tony Traynor added: “It focuses minds; I’ve warned people that I’m about to turn it on twice and each time they’ve changed their behaviour.’

“A lot of the time it can be a case of he said, she said but the cameras provide that video evidence that they can’t argue against.”

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 allows courts to impose a maximum of 12 months in prison and/or unlimited fine on anyone found guilty of assaulting a police officer, firefighter, prison officer or paramedic. A bill is currently going through Parliament to double this sentence to 24 months.

NEAS successfully campaigned last year as part of the national consultation to double the maximum sentence to two years imprisonment, where it called on courts to use the full powers already available to them to ensure sentencing acts as a deterrent as well as a punishment.

Assaults — both physical and verbal — can have a lasting impact on staff, ranging from marriage breakdowns to leaving the profession altogether.

There is also a wider cost to the service in terms of repairs and time lost to staff sickness. On reviewing just 41 cases between April 2017 and October 2019, the service lost 411 days to staff sickness at a cost of £141,824 in overtime costs to cover missed shifts following an assault.

In addition, the cost of recruiting and training replacements for those staff who have left ranges between £20,000 and £30,000 per person depending on the role and clinical skills needed in the post.  

Footage obtained in the event of an assault or abuse will be admissible as evidence in a court of law.  It will only be used for the purposes of providing evidence to the police in any enquiry intended for the health, safety and protection of staff.

Pair Commended for Life-Saving Interventions at Car Crash Aftermath

A nurse and her colleague who delivered life-saving first aid in the aftermath of a serious car crash have been commended for their actions.

District nurse Joanne Curry and her co-worker Simon Clifford were on shift with the GP out-of-hours service when they came across a one-car collision in Abertillery, where four people had been injured, two of them seriously.

Using equipment from the boot of their car, Joanne administered first aid in the minutes before the arrival of the ambulance service, while Simon, her driver, managed the scene.Today, the pair were presented with certificates from the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Chief Executive Jason Killens.

Jason said: “Serious road traffic accidents can be daunting for even the most seasoned paramedics, so the way Joanne and Simon took control of the scene is testament to their expert skill and professionalism.’

This story may have had a different ending had it not been for their intervention, and we would like to thank Joanne and Simon for their support that day, which made a huge difference to both our crews and the patients.”

The pair were nearing the end of their shift with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s GP out-of-hours service on the evening of 01 March 2021when they spotted a car which had left the carriageway of the A467.

Joanne, a nurse of 32 years, said: “We had just left a call in Nantyglo and were heading back down the Valley to finish when I could see in the distance hazard lights from a car in the carriageway.’

“As we got near, I could see that the vehicle was in the bushes on the nearside and was severely damaged.’

“I got out to see if I could offer any assistance in my capacity as a nurse, and luckily the emergency equipment I had in the car meant I was able to provide first aid.’

“When the fire and ambulance service arrived, I briefed them then supported where I could, by fetching equipment.’

“My colleague Simon assisted me in a situation way out of his comfort zone — and mine.”

Simon, who has been a driver for 15 years, added: “It hadn’t long happened when we pulled up to help.’

“Joanne was brilliant and just took it completely in her stride; she was straight out of the car and straight over to the patients, shouting to me what I needed to retrieve from the boot.’

“It was a trying situation but I’m glad we were able to help in some way.”

In all, four ambulances, three rapid response cars and the Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team were dispatched to the scene, where crews were also supported by a doctor from MEDSERVE Wales and the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

The four occupants of the car were taken to hospital for treatment.

Judith Paget,
Chief Executive,
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Jason said: “This was without doubt a complex and challenging scene, but Joanne and Simon’s actions tipped the balance of survival in the right way.’

“Once again, we commend them for their quick-thinking actions, which made a huge difference that day.”

Judith Paget, Chief Executive at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, added: “We are extremely proud of both Joanne and Simon for their courageous actions.’

“Their daily roles involve providing excellent care to their patients, but being able to adapt these skills to perform life-saving emergency treatment really is exceptional.’

“Our NHS services in Wales work as one team, and the way Joanne and Simon responded so selflessly is the epitome of this.’

“[We’re] Wishing all casualties involved in the collision a quick recovery.”

Port Talbot Supermarket Staff Commended for Quick-Thinking Actions

Supermarket workers who came to the aid of a customer in cardiac arrest have been praised for their quick-thinking actions.

Staff at Tesco in Port Talbot gave CPR to a man who had collapsed in the car park and delivered two shocks using the store’s defibrillator before the arrival of an ambulance.

Colleagues also made a makeshift helipad to allow for the safe landing of the air ambulance.

Today, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Chief Executive Jason Killens visited the store to extend a thank you for their efforts.

Members of staff from Port Talbot with Jason Killens, Chief Executive of WAST

Jason said: “Every second counts in a cardiac arrest, and the way that colleagues worked together to begin the chain of survival gave this patient the best possible chance

“They’re a shining example of what to do in this sort of scenario, and they should be really proud of their actions.”

A rapid response car, an emergency ambulance, and an air ambulance were dispatched to the Prior Street supermarket after the 999 call in October.

Community First Responder Ashley Page supported Paramedic Richard John in the rapid response car, which arrived within six minutes of the call.

Ashley, who is also an allocator in the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, said: “When we arrived, good quality CPR was in progress by store staff and an off-duty South Wales Police officer.’

“The store’s defibrillator had already given the patient two shocks, and staff had cleared an area for us to work on the patient and had also made a makeshift helipad.’

“Their collective efforts on that day gave the man a fighting chance, and made the ambulance crews’ job so much easier.”

Today, Chief Executive Jason Killens was joined by the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan, Joanna Jenkins, to present staff at the store with a commendation.

Joanna said: “What store staff and the off-duty South Wales Police officer achieved that day is very impressive.’

“CPR and the use of the store defibrillator, as well as the creation of a makeshift helipad, demonstrate that everything possible was done to assist the customer.’

“This commendation is richly deserved. Many congratulations.”

Store manager Mandy Walsh added: “I am incredibly proud of how our team responded to this emergency.’

“We have trained first-aiders in all our stores in case someone does become ill, but the way our whole store worked together to help this customer is a credit to the professionalism of every colleague involved.”

Cardiac Arrest Survivor Thanks “Humble Heroes” For Saving His Life

A 54-year-old man whose heart stopped beating for 21 minutes has thanked London Ambulance Service staff that helped save his life.

Nicolas De Santis, a tech entrepreneur, was working at home in his study when he started to feel slight discomfort in his chest which he brushed off as an infection or bad cold.

Elliott Clark,
LAS Call Handler

Fortunately for Nicolas his daughter, Alaia, 22, was also at home that day in December 2019, and had gone to check on him before they went out to dinner when he collapsed in front of her.

She immediately dialled 999 and followed the advice from London Ambulance Service call handler, Elliott, who began to talk Alaia through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

She said: “When I saw my dad collapse, I knew something severe had happened to him.’

“I had never learnt CPR before, but, I knew I had to act quickly as he was not breathing.’

“The call handler kept me calm and helped talk me through what to do.”

As Alaia continued to give chest compressions to her father, medics Kirsty, Junaid, John and Vijay arrived.

Junaid, an Advanced Paramedic for London Ambulance Service, recalled that day: “21 minutes is a very long time for someone’s heart to stop beating.’

“Every second counts when a person is in cardiac arrest and good chest compressions — like those Alaia gave — helps to resupply the heart and brain with vital oxygen.’

“Alaia’s quick actions that day truly saved her father’s life.”

Left to Right: John, Vijay. Nicolas and Alaia, Junaid, and Kirsty

After the medics helped to stabilise Nicolas, they rushed him to hospital where he was put in an induced coma. He spent a month recovering in an intensive care unit. The doctors said he had suffered a cardiac arrest because of a blocked coronary artery.

Nicolas De Santis in the ICU

Nicolas, who lives in Mayfair with his wife, Melissa Odabash, and his two daughters, Alaia and Avalon, 18, says the incident has made him see the world a little differently.

“I left this life for 21 minutes. I realise how lucky I am to be alive, and life really is much more beautiful than it was before.’

“The way I see it I came back to understand how precious life really is,” he said.

Recently Nicolas visited London Ambulance Service’s HQ to meet the staff there that helped to save his life that day.

He said: “It has been so important for me to be able to thank them. Without them I’m not sure I would have survived. I call them my ‘humble heroes’, because they really are heroes and so humble.”

Since recovering Nicolas wants to raise awareness of the importance of cardiac health and learning lifesaving skills such as CPR.

He said: “I’m a 54-year-old man, fairly fit, play football every weekend and look after myself with a healthy diet. I never thought anything like this could happen to me. It is totally unpredictable.’

“And that’s the point, you never know who it could happen to or when, so that’s why it’s so important to learn these skills. As sadly, you’re much more likely to have to save someone close to you — a friend or family member.”

Not only has Nicolas thanked the ambulance service for saving his life, he says he is indebted to his daughter: “I have said to her, whatever she wants, she can have!

“I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me another chance at life and the opportunity to see my daughters grow up, get married and graduate. I am so grateful to everyone that day.”

Nicolas and Alaia

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.”