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Duchess of Cornwall Meets Frontline Ambulance Crews

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Earlier today (Monday 6 July 2020), HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visited Swindon Fire Station to meet representatives from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) and Great Western Hospital, Swindon.

Her Royal Highness wished to express her support and thanks for the work undertaken by these key services, and for the people who have worked tirelessly throughout the coronavirus pandemic to help and care for those in the local community.

She also heard first hand of the ways emergency services colleagues have had to adapt services throughout the pandemic.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall meets SWASFT ambulance staff

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and Fire and Rescue Service have worked in close partnership throughout the pandemic.

With Fire Fighters supporting ambulance crews, driving ambulances and working alongside clinicians in providing much needed assistance to patients.

Steph Bond, SWASFT Operations Officer, is responsible for managing the Swindon Paramedics and Emergency Care Assistants, also acting as incident commander in serious incidents.

Steph said: “The Duchess was very interested to hear how we have coped during the pandemic and extremely understanding of the pressures we have all faced whilst caring for people in the most difficult circumstances.”

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall meets SWASFT ambulance staff

Alongside Steph Bond, both Charlotte Goldsmith, a Lead Paramedic who drives Rapid Response Vehicles and Karolina Butlanska, Emergency Care Assistant, met The Duchess of Cornwall.

Will Warrender, Chief Executive of SWASFT, said: “I am extremely proud of the work carried out by my South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust colleagues through these challenging times and I am delighted HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has been able to see and hear first-hand the dedication and professionalism of our staff.’

“Our clinical hubs responding to the thousands of 999 calls, those in the many support and corporate functions, colleagues in ambulances and clinicians, who together make this the great service it is.”

Chief Hails Ambulance Service Response During Coronavirus Pandemic

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The Chief Executive of East of England Ambulance Service has thanked staff for embracing news ways of working which have helped deliver faster response times during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Latest figures show that, despite the challenges of Covid-19, the Trust is consistently meeting all national standards, thanks in part to more staff to manage calls and more vehicles on the road.

Compared to the same time last year, ambulance response times to reach the most seriously ill (category one) patients have been reduced from nearly 8.5 minutes to under seven.

Response times to category two calls have been halved in the same period, with these patients receiving care on average 17 minutes quicker that in 2019. 

Dorothy Hosein,
Chief Executive, EEAST

In her update to the Trust’s Board, Chief Executive Dorothy Hosein said: “I want to thank each and every member of staff for their dedication to our patients and this service, and their willingness to work differently in very fast-moving and worrying times.’

“Given the scale of our operation covering six counties, our performance over the past months is a major step forward and I am incredibly proud of what’s been achieved.’

“I am confident we can secure and build on these gains now, to support our patients, residents and staff for the long term.”

Changes introduced to manage the expected increases in demand during Coronavirus were wide-ranging and included new structures for decision-making, innovative ways to create more capacity, and better support for crews.

At all times, the safety and experience of patients and staff was at the forefront of the Trust’s approach.

Key activities of this included:

  • Rapidly recruiting approximately 900 temporary staff from the military, firefighters, students and Community First Responder volunteers
  • Fast-tracking recruitment; concentrated training and effective supervision meant hundreds more staff in operation call centres, providing first stage triage on calls, freeing up more experienced staff for more serious calls
  • Fully staffing as a priority the Emergency Clinical Advice and Triage Centre (ECAT) team with experienced paramedics and other professionals to treat non-emergency calls. The ECAT team can treat significant numbers of patient calls at peak times, helping patients get the right care more quickly and keeping ambulances free for sicker patients
  • Deploying Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers (HALO) at almost every emergency department across the region, reducing handover times for patients
  • Support from volunteers, student paramedics and local charities to maintain patient transport services
  • Huge switch to online meetings to keep staff safe, in-touch and radically reduce travel time for local managers
  • Investment in dedicated 24/7 support crews to clean, stock and keep ambulances road-ready.

Dorothy Hosein added: “As well as our substantive team, I also want to thank those temporary staff who have made such a difference during the past months. I hope, having seen the great work the service does, they will now consider joining us permanently.

“We have seen the difference online recruitment and virtual training can make to getting our stuff numbers up, and we now have the lowest vacancy rate for years. I hope we can use our recent experience to attract even more candidates to join our crews and support staff, especially from younger and more diverse communities.”

Couple’s Cambrian Way Challenge for Charity

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A daring duo of Welsh Ambulance Service staff are taking the high road and walking the length of Wales — all for charity.

Paramedic Kevin O’Connor and his Emergency Medical Technician wife Cath, based in Bargoed, are aiming to complete the epic 298-mile Cambrian Way challenge in three weeks, and have even used up their annual leave to do so.

Setting off from Cardiff Castle on 01 September they hope to reach Conwy Castle on the North Wales coast by 21 September, raising plenty of awareness and a bit of cash along the way for The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASC).

Kevin & Cath O’Connor

Kevin said: “We want to highlight the struggle all ambulance services have been going through the last four months, and support colleagues who may need help, especially on the mental health side through the months that lie ahead in this, the worst pandemic in living memory.”

Already well into a training routine of regular 15 mile walks the pair are aiming to complete between 14 and 23 miles a day depending on terrain during the challenge.

“For us, this test really starts once we get past Abergavenny and the big mountains begin,” said Kevin.

“We’re confident we’ll make the 300 miles but the middle and North are tougher — but that’s where we like to be.

“We’ll be camping most nights but will take a B&B every third or fourth night.”

Expecting to burn around 5,000 calories each a day they will be taking packets of dehydrated vegetables and plenty of pasta for their camping stove.

A loyal network of friends and colleagues will be meeting them at key points along the way to help fuel them up and provide other essential supplies.

Kevin & Cath sporting their TASC vests

Both coming from military backgrounds, the pair are no strangers to tough physical challenges, and on previous smaller treks in Scotland and the Alps, have carried up to 50lbs in weight each in their rucksacks.

This time they plan to travel a bit lighter and with the help of kind sponsor CC Accountants Ltd have been able to purchase some modern lightweight kit and a GoPro camera to help document the Mammoth trip.

“We’ll be navigating with a map and compass but we do have a GPS system as well.

“We really can’t wait to get going,” said Cath.

Kevin and Cath have set themselves a £5,000 total to reach for TASC and are well on their way to that already.

“It would be great if we could smash that total as well as raising awareness of the work and stresses ambulance staff across the UK go through every day,” said Kevin.

The revered Cambrian Way challenge involves 22,500 metres of ascent and involves the summiting of many famous peaks including Wales’ highest, Mount Snowdon.

To donate to the cause and wish the intrepid couple well, visit their Just Giving page here.

First Operational Activity for MDA’s Ambulance-Bus

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On Friday, July 3, MDA’s unique and first of its kind intensive care bus was called for the evacuation of 9 residents from a nursing home in southern Israel who were diagnosed with Corona virus.

All of the patients were evacuated by the bus in one trip to the Corona Health Care Geriatric Center located in the center of the country.

The unique bus, which was introduced about a month and a half ago, allows the evacuation of up to thirteen patients and injured, with two of them evacuated lying in the middle of the bus, which is equipped with intensive care equipment, and eleven others sitting in the back.

Sirens and an advanced communication system are installed in the bus, enabling the crews in different parts of the bus to contact MDA. The evacuation to the hospital today saved nine ambulances needed to perform such a task.

The MAN company buses are converted inner-city busses and measure just under 40 feet/ 12 meters in length, 2.5 meters wide, and 2.47 meters high.

The three parts of the bus are completely separate from each other with opaque partitions. Thus, even in the case of evacuating infectious patients, the driver does not require PPE.

In order for the driver to keep in touch with teams and evacuees at all times, there is a communication system that allows them to speak. In addition, the driver has access to cameras that are located throughout the bus.

In the middle of the bus, there are two beds with equipment suitable for ALS care. Two paramedics are appointed to treat patients who are lying in this part, while they can see through the camera what is happening in the back, where up to eleven evacuees can be transported in stable or light condition.

There is also an advanced life support equipment, which includes, among other things, defibrillators that can also perform ECGs, and automated chest compressions devices.

Above each seat in the back of the bus, there is an oxygen tap. The eleven taps are fed by four large oxygen tanks, which are connected to a special system located in the front of the bus.

There are also two refrigerators on the bus that are designed to store blood and medicines that need to be refrigerated.

In addition to all of this, the bus is powered by V230 power outlets, which allow additional medical equipment to be connected if needed, such as ECMO, incubator and the like.

The evacuation bus is an emergency vehicle for all intents and purposes, and is equipped with lights, siren, and an announcement system, similar to a MICU. In addition, the bus is connected to MDA’s radio system.

The cameras in the bus are also connected to MDA Medical Dispatch Center, so doctors and senior paramedics from the hotline can see what is going on and, if necessary, advise the bus’s team and participate in decision making.

In terms of hygiene and ICP, the bus has a special oxygen exchange system that can, according to the Ministry of Health, replace all the air in the vehicle in just seven minutes.

For quick and efficient cleaning, the bus seats are made of leather, and each has a seat belt. On top of that, the bus’s power outlets are waterproof, so the vehicle can be disinfected without fear of electric shock.

Finally, TV screens have been installed on the bus to ease the evacuees’ time. The windows of the bus are sealed, and looking inside the bus from outside is impossible.

In addition, at the rear of the bus there are compartments for storing personal belongings of the evacuees. The bus is accessible for the disabled, and a special ramp for passenger transport is installed.

Eli Bin, MDA Director General, said: “As the national EMS organization of the State of Israel, MDA teams spend days and nights in developing means for saving lives and provide medical response efficiently and quickly. We will continue to face every challenge at any time and wherever it is needed.”

Mifal HaPayis and Magen David Adom Initiative to Place AEDs in Public Areas

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Mifal HaPayis is currently launching a joint project with MDA. Joint teams have already begun this week to place the devices in the Lottery booths across the country.

The project aims to provide an electric shock to the heart in cases of out of hospital cardiac arrest as quickly as possible and increase the number of lives saved in such instances.

When a citizen identifies a case of cardiac arrest in a public setting, they will be able to call the 101 Emergency Call Center as usual.

From there they will receive instructions enabling them to identify the closest defibrillator in the area (located in dedicated Mifal HaPayis booths),

Further instructions will help them to assess the patient and to provide life saving treatment until the arrival of emergency teams.

The chairperson of Mifal HaPayis, CPA Avigdor Yitzhaki said: “The purpose of the venture is to save human lives.’

“Deploying the AED devices in the Mifal HaPayis sales booths will enable, in some cases, immediate primary care in the urban area and, in some cases, even save the lives of the most common cause of death in Israel and around the world — cardiac arrest.’

“Mifal HaPayis understands the importance of the project, and invests many resources for the community and Israeli society and there is no greater social purpose than saving human lives.’

“I congratulate the Mifal HaPayis Board who understood the importance of the project, approved it and immediately joined the mission.”

MDA Director General Eli Bin added: “Collaboration with the Mifal HaPayis through the placement of CPR devices in public places is an example of creative collaboration for the sake of saving lives.’

“This is certainly an important and clear step that will save lives and increase the chances of survival of those suffering from cardiac arrest near, and perhaps even without irreversible brain damage.’

“I thank the chairman of Mifal HaPayis, CPA Avigdor Yitzhaki, for his first-line stance, alongside MDA, with concern for public health.”

Super Woman Asmahan Abu Yeheya Recounts 16 years of EMS Volunteering for MDA

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Asmahan Abu-Yeheya (42) from Gan Yavne has volunteered at Magen David Adom for 16 years.

Over the years, Asmahan had six children of her own, but between one maternity leave and another, she continued to volunteer at MDA as an EMT and ambulance driver.

Asmahan is a certified preschool teacher, and at the same time also works as a medical secretary at an orthopedic clinic, and as a volunteer operations officer for the Gan Yavne Rescue Unit.

All of this, Asmahan, does as a single mother to her six children, with the youngest being 10 years old. 

“I get support from the kids,” Asmahan shared, “If I’m in a bad mood, they tell me to go to a MDA shift because they know it will do me good.’

“Doing and giving give me a lot of satisfaction, and I feel at any given moment that I am part of the warm and supportive MDA family.’

Asmahan says that she sees each patient as a person, and that she never works on “automatic: “When I treat an older woman, I treat her like she is my grandmother.

Every time I think about the person in the ambulance when he is in pain and scared, and sometimes I am the only person they have, my job is first and foremost to give him the best medical care, but I believe it is very important that I be both human and caring. “

In recent months, Asmahan has taken an active part in MDA activity at the forefront of the fight against the Corona virus.

She has undergone training to obtain samples from suspected corona patients, and has obtained samples in the homes of patients in the Gan Yavne and Ashdod area, in the “Drive and Test” complex in Ashdod and in nursing homes in the area.

“I took a lot of samples, but it was important not to be indifferent to any of the patients,” Asmahan said. “I remember going to sample a tourist who was in isolation at a hotel in Ashdod, and I was told he had a birthday.’

“I sang a happy birthday to him and he was very excited. When I arrived dressed in protective suit for homes that had children, I told them that I was not a monster, and tried to do everything I could to calm them.’

“The activity around the Corona crisis was vast and sometimes not easy, but I knew I was part of something big, and volunteer at an organization that you need adapt to the situation in the country, with the help of people like me and other volunteers. “

“I happened to arrive as a team member for a patient or injured person, and they asked me where the person in charge is,” Asmahan said, “but I’m quick to make it clear that I’m in charge.’

“I’m sure of what I’m doing, and as soon as the people around me realize I’m coming to help, the attitude always changes. They thank me and appreciate what I did.”

Treating People Fairly: Welsh Ambulance Service’s Strategic Equality Plan 2020-2024

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The Welsh Ambulance Service has published an ambitious new plan to improve equality among its workforce and communities.

The Trust’s Strategic Equality Plan 2020-2024 sets out its commitment to work with staff and volunteers to help them recognise and celebrate diversity.

The plan is available to read via a link at the end of this article.

It also outlines how the organisation will ensure the people who use ambulance services, including those with protected characteristics, have equal access.

Claire Vaughan, the Trust’s Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said: “We want to lead the way as an exemplar employer for diversity, equality, inclusion and fairness. 

“This strategy, building on progress and momentum from the previous strategy, sets out how we intend to do this over the next four years to cultivate an inclusive workforce where our people are enabled to realise their full potential, to flourish and make a positive contribution in the delivery of care.’

“We have called it Treating People Fairly to reflect our aim; to treat everyone fairly regardless of who they are, their background or circumstances.’

“We know we have more to do to enable a culture that is fully inclusive, supportive and accepting and we’re having conversations about how we can expedite this work in light of recent events.”

Joga Singh, Non-Executive Director with the lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, added: “The celebration of diversity is so important for an organisation’s ability to recruit and retain the best people for the job and also improves productivity, which ultimately, delivers a better experience for the patient.’

“We look forward to working with our staff, citizens and stakeholders across health and social care, the public sector and beyond to achieve the ambitions set out in this strategy.”

The launch of the new strategy coincided with a statement that Chief Executive Jason Killens made to the workforce on the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, USA, in May.

In a statement to colleagues, Jason said: “There is absolutely no place for racism in the Welsh Ambulance Service.

“This is not about compliance or about feeling we have a moral and ethical obligation to do something to tackle injustice.’

“This is about it being the right thing to do for our people and our communities. ‘

“It’s about standing up and calling out discrimination and inequality whenever and wherever it manifests.’

“It’s about being a fair and decent human being.”

Jason, who is also Diversity Lead for the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, added: “This is not a problem that can be solved by senior management alone. ‘

“This is a challenge that requires every single one of us to stand up and be counted; to look closely at our own thoughts, words and deeds, and the actions of others around us.’

“We must challenge unacceptable behaviours, whether deliberately malicious or just plain ill-informed, and change our organisation for the better.’

“To do this we need to start by having open, honest and inevitably difficult conversations right across the organisation. ‘

“From crew rooms to board rooms, we need to listen, learn and redouble our efforts to change unacceptable behaviours if we want to achieve genuine equality in the workplace.”

Click here to read the Trust’s Strategic Equality Plan, Treating People Fairly.

Welsh Ambulance Service Appoints its First Chaplain

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The Welsh Ambulance Service has appointed its first chaplain.

Reverend Mike Shephard, from Carmarthenshire, was appointed to provide a ‘listening ear’ for the 3,000-strong workforce and provide pastoral care to colleagues and their families.

The 73-year-old former probation officer joined the service in January, and quickly and inadvertently became a crucial source of support for staff through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The father-of-two said: “I was a little apprehensive coming into the service because I wasn’t sure what sort of reception I’d have, but everyone has been so positive.’

Rev. Mike Shephard

“The truth is I’m not your typical minister and have gone through periods in my own career of intense doubt, to the point where I left the ministry for some years because I felt I needed to find myself.’

“My role at the ambulance service is about being spiritual but not religious, and providing that listening ear to anyone who needs me, in whatever way that might be.’

“Drawing on this period in my life means I can better empathise and relate to other people who are also at a low ebb.

“I’ve got so much respect for the NHS having been through bowel cancer and everything that brings; this is my way of paying something back.”

Revd Shephard, originally from Tredegar, Monmouthshire, left school at 15 to train to be a miner and spent a year in the pit at Oakdale Colliery.

It was at this time he joined a local church, and inspired by the life and example of his then minister, decided to embark on the same path.

At 17, he went to study Theology at the North Wales Baptist College in Bangor and by the tender age of 21, had become the UK’s youngest ordained minister.

Revd Shephard held pastorates in North Devon, West Glamorgan, Radnorshire, Gwent and Carmarthenshire while holding down a career as a probation officer and later, a family court adviser.

He said: “The skills I acquired as a social worker are very much transferrable into my role as a minister, and now chaplain.’

“You’re dealing with people who have been through the most traumatic experiences, and are supporting the extended ambulance service family during times of injury, illness and bereavement.’

“I consider myself an outlet for the thoughts and emotions of staff and a crutch through their darkest times; it’s actually very humbling.’

Rev. Mike Shephard

“In this role, you have to be kind, caring and compassionate, and that’s definitely the hallmark of the Welsh Ambulance Service.”

Wendy Herbert, the Trust’s Assistant Director of Quality and Nursing, who helped recruit Revd Shephard into the role, said: “We had been exploring the idea of a chaplain for many years having seen the benefits it’s had for our police and fire service colleagues, but only recently has the idea come to fruition.

“Ambulance work has become increasingly complex and demanding, and the appointment of a chaplain was designed to strengthen the support offer for our staff.

“Revd Shephard joined us in the New Year and then the Covid-19 pandemic ensued, and he quickly became a fundamental source of support for staff, who really look forward to his weekly columns on the Intranet.’

“We’re delighted he’s joined our ambulance service family and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”

Revd Shephard, along with others, was instrumental in establishing a drop-in centre at Carmarthen’s English Baptist Church which, 32 years on, continues to host Christmas Day lunch for more than 130 people who otherwise would be on their own during the festive period. 

“I believe that this is what churches are really all about,” he added.

In his spare time, he enjoys gardening and walking holidays which have taken him to various parts of the world, including to the Maltese Islands, Canary Islands and Spain.

He and wife Gwendda have a son, 51, a daughter, 49, and six grandchildren.

Armed Forces Week: Welsh Ambulance Give Thanks for Service

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The Welsh Ambulance Service is celebrating its service men and women past and present for Armed Forces Week (22-27 June).

Dozens of veterans work across the organisation having served in the Armed Forces, and are supported by a growing number of reservists.

Jason Killens,
CEO,
Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust

The Trust has also enlisted the support of the military through the Covid-19 pandemic, including members of 1st Battalion The Rifles and 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh.

Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with the military and were very fortunate to have secured their support through the pandemic.

“There are a lot of similarities between the Armed Forces and emergency services, not to mention the transferrable skills, so it’s no surprise that members of that community will gravitate towards a career in the ambulance service

“We’re privileged and grateful for the veterans who work across the service, and for our growing cohort of reservists too.”

Estelle Hitchon, the Trust’s Director of Partnerships and Engagement and the Lead for Veterans, added: “Armed Forces Week is a wonderful way to recognise the contribution of our veterans, and the unique set of skills and experience they bring to the role.

“Our work with the military through the Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened our existing relationships with the Armed Forces community and opened up new opportunities for collaboration in future. Thank you for your service.”

Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE has been military commander for Wales during the Covid-19 response.

He said: “The Armed Forces in Wales are very proud to be supporting the Welsh Ambulance Service in the collective fight against Covid-19.’

Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE

“It has proved a very rewarding experience for the 60 soldiers involved in crewing their ambulances and a further 60 who decontaminate and clean them.’

“The soldiers have learnt a huge amount from supporting the paramedics on nearly 5,000 callouts, which has included assisting in the delivery of several babies.’

“We have built an excellent working relationship with NHS Wales and have been truly humbled by their selfless commitment and dedication during such a difficult time.’

“To have played a small part in this has been a real privilege.’

“As Armed Forces Day approaches, we are rightly reminded of the sacrifices made by all those who choose to serve their nation.”

Claire Vaughan, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development,
Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Last year, the Trust signed Step into Health’s Armed Forces Covenant and pledged to support members of the Armed Forces community to gain employment in the NHS.

It also recruited Veterans Champions from across the Trust to support new starters to make the transition into civilian life and provide one-to-one support and mentorship.

Claire Vaughan, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said: “Our work with the Armed Forces community has shown us time and again the direct correlation between the values held by those in the military and our own Trust behaviours.’

“We felt that recruiting Veterans Champions was a great opportunity to help those from the Armed Forces integrate themselves into a new work environment, and give them additional support as they adjust into a new way of life.”

Kevin Davies is the Trust’s Vice Chair and a Non-Executive Director, and has a near 40-year career in army nursing having joined the Territorial Army in 1983.

In May, he was appointed Colonel Commandant Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC).

Kevin said: “I want to take the opportunity to recognise the contribution of all of our service personnel, whether veteran or reservist, and also pay tribute to soldiers from 1 RIFLES and 3 R WELSH who have integrated into the ambulance family so well during the pandemic.

“Your response to the challenge, your resilience throughout and your commitment to the people of Wales has been exemplary. Thank you for all that you do.”

Members of the public see tributes that were paid to the to the Armed Forces community during Armed Forces Week by using the hashtag #SaluteOurForces to see photos and videos which have been submitted.

South Western Ambulance Service Gives Thanks on 72nd Birthday

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South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is saying a huge Thank You to all its people, its colleagues across the NHS, and to everyone who has supported the NHS in this challenging year — as the NHS celebrates its 72nd birthday. 

More than seven decades after the NHS was founded on 5 July 1948, the Trust is expressing gratitude to everyone whose dedication, help and support has enabled it to meet the challenge of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.  

SWASFT is particularly thankful for its own 4,700 strong team of frontline, operational support and corporate services staff, as well as many others in the NHS who have all helped in the response to patients.

It is also hugely grateful to the thousands of former doctors, nurses and other health service staff who came out of retirement to battle coronavirus, the fellow key workers — from bus drivers and refuse collectors to social care staff and teachers — who have kept the country running and, of course, all those who stopped the spread of the virus by following the expert advice and staying home to save lives.

SWASFT has been supported by fire and rescue service colleagues who have worked alongside frontline teams, driving ambulances and providing much-needed assistance to patients.

We are also hugely grateful and proud of the Trust’s army of volunteer Community First Responders (CFRs) have also had a huge impact in supporting their local communities by attending patients before an ambulance reaches them.

This year has been the most challenging in NHS history with staff working around the clock to tackle coronavirus. Everyone has had a part to play and, in the most difficult days, NHS staff were sustained by the support of the communities they serve.

Individuals and businesses have generously delivered gifts to ambulance stations, and the members of the public have tirelessly shown their appreciation week after week.

Will Warrender CBE, the newly appointed Chief Executive of SWASFT, said: “On the 72nd birthday of the NHS I would like to say a huge thank you to all my colleagues at South Western Ambulance Service, our volunteers, our community, and everyone who has supported us this year.’

“I am proud of what my SWASFT colleagues have achieved in providing emergency and urgent care to so many patients in communities across the South West, whether it be clinical staff on the frontline, in ambulances, or those in the many support and corporate functions whose tireless efforts all keep the organisation running.’

“I am also particularly grateful to our healthcare colleagues in our region’s hospitals, at GP surgeries and pharmacies who have treated countless patients and helped so many others this year.”