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!

You can tune into RadioEMS from any location at: www.radioems.com

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

It’s All In A Smile: New Transparent Mask Allows for Simple Reassurance and Comfort to be Offered to Patients Once Again

The new Smile Shield has a transparent panel to aid communication and is one of the only face masks of its kind to offer medical grade protection, meeting all elements of the government’s Transparent Face Mask Specification.

Smile Shield also boasts over 98% bacterial filtration efficiency, breathability, is splash proof, and also hypoallergenic.

Smile Shield is a British invention, created by two founders Jennifer Soboslay and Lisa Qiao, who also own TAD medical, known for its range of established medical supplies including masks, shields, PPE clothing, gloves, sanitising and cleaning equipment which are already widely used by hospitals, educational facilities, the emergency Services, and customer-facing services.

Jennifer and Lisa, believe that these masks will benefit certain industries including those where the human connection needs to be visual.

Jennifer Soboslay, Founder and Sales Director, at Smile Shield explained why the new mask is so useful to industries such as EMS: “Visual facial expression is a huge benefit to many industries, as communication is important: especially as a smile can change the sentiment of information or can be encouraging without words. The Smile Shield allows lip reading, visible facial expressions, and a clearer understanding and connection between people to take place.”

Soboslay further explained that: “We tried many different types of designs including a fully clear panel, but this wouldn’t have had the other attributes we deemed important, such as over 98% bacterial efficiency and breathability, or the masks being splash proof and hypoallergenic.’

“These are all important aspects needed by those working for medical facilities and emergency services, such as the police or paramedics.”

The Smile Shield™ can also be used as a surgical mask with a clear front panel which makes the mouth visible to facilitate clear communication.

This is especially important for those caring for the deaf or hearing impaired, neurodiverse patients who may struggle with things such as severe autism for example, and also patients who may struggle with conditions causing confusion and disorientation, such as dementia.

“The Smile Shield allows lip reading, visible facial expressions, and a clearer understanding and connection between people to take place.”

Soboslay, added: “We saw a gap in the market for a medical grade mask with a clear panel, that can be used by the emergency services, healthcare providers, especially those working for charities where communication and connections are key, such as The Disabilities Trust.”

Allan Darby, Health & Safety Manager at The Disabilities Trust, comments: “The pandemic has been a challenge for us, as we offer a range of individually tailored support services, aimed at helping people live their lives as independently as possible.’

“It is extremely important in our line of work that the people we help can see our facial expressions.’

“Therefore, we feel the Smile Shield helps the people we support to engage with our staff. We are implementing the use of these medical grade masks with a clear panel for our staff members and those that we care for.”

Darby continued: “Take autism as an example: this is a complex disability, and no two people have the same needs. Our detailed assessment procedure is designed by experts to determine the level of support needed by each individual.’

“We are committed to finding new ways of understanding the views of those who have communication difficulties and tailor our communication methods to best meet the needs of that person. This is where clear communication and building a connection is key.”

Hypoallergenic and latex free, the Smile Shield mask is comfortable to wear and offers over 98% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency.

For more information about Smile Shield, please visit: www.smileshieldmask.com.

ERS Medical Provides Medical Courier Services for Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT)


National health and social care transport provider, ERS Medical, has been awarded a contract to provide medical courier services for Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).

The pharmacy-led contract is being delivered by ERS Medical from 1st March 2021 to over 100 locations across Essex.

ERS safely delivering Diagnostic Specimens

It involves the use of specialist temperature controlled ERS Medical vehicles collecting and delivering pharmaceuticals, controlled drugs, specimens, and internal post to specified sites under the EPUT region.

Mark Merriman, Head of Operations at ERS Medical, said: “We’re delighted to support Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and provide this service across their sites.’

“The contract provides a vital delivery of important specimens, drugs and internal post across various Trust locations.’

“We look forward to working with them and forming a strong partnership.”

As an integrated healthcare transport solution, ERS Medical supports the NHS with a reliable and caring service.

See www.ersmedical.co.uk for more information.

Scholarship for Exceptional Nurse Studying With London’s Air Ambulance Charity


Earlier this month, shortly before International Women’s Day on March 8th, London’s Air Ambulance Charity celebrated the achievements of Mariana Campilho, a nurse undertaking the Masters degree in Pre-Hospital Medicine.

Mariana, who lives in East London, has been granted a prestigious award through The Company of Nurses Scholarship Programme to assist with her studies on the Masters (MSc) degree run by the Institute of Pre-Hospital Care (IoPHC), a department within with London’s Air Ambulance Charity.

The course is delivered in partnership with Barts & The London School of Medicine & Dentistry and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The scholarship recognises the outstanding contribution Mariana has made to the nursing profession and represents an investment in the future of patient care, as she embarks on the three-year course.

Speaking about the Scholarship, Mariana said: “I applied for The Company of Nurses Scholarship as I wanted the opportunity of being able to study in an area that I am truly passionate about, and to be one of the first nurses doing so made it even more special.’

Mariana Camphilo

“I was delighted and felt it an enormous privilege to be awarded the Scholarship, especially as I am aware of the high standard of the other applicants.’

“I am looking forward to being able to study along different professionals all equally dedicated to the area of prehospital care and to be able to learn from different experts in the field.”

Mariana began the MSc course in January 2021, the first cohort to include nurses, and she also works as a Nurse in the Emergency Department at The Royal London Hospital.

Before this, Mariana completed a secondment with the Physician Response Unit (PRU), a community emergency medicine service which attends emergency calls in people’s homes.

The PRU is a joint collaboration between London’s Air Ambulance, the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and Barts Health NHS Trust. Responding to 999 calls, the PRU specialises in taking the Emergency Department to the patient, thereby reducing risks for vulnerable patients by helping them avoid a trip to hospital.

Brenda Griffiths, Chair of the Company of Nurses Charitable Trust said: “The Trustees are delighted to be able to support London’s Air Ambulance and this MSc programme with a Company of Nurses Scholarship.’

“Emergency out of hospital care is critical, specialist, and complex. We know that Mariana and those in her care will benefit greatly and look forward to hearing all about it as the course progresses”.

The Company of Nurses, which aims to raise standards of nursing care, encourage health and wellbeing, and save lives, has offered the scholarship through its Ann Campbell RBNA Memorial Fund, which supports a student with the payment of their tuition fees for the MSc in Pre-Hospital Medicine over the next three years.

The part-time MSc in Pre-Hospital Medicine was launched in 2019 through the Charity’s IoPHC and is specifically for doctors, paramedics and nurses who practice in emergency settings (particularly in pre-hospital medicine) and who wish to become better practitioners in their roles.  

Now recruiting for its third year, the MSc is a practice-based course taught in face to face ‘teaching pods’, helping to nurture and develop talent and continue leading the way in pre-hospital emergency medicine education.