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Commendations for London Ambulance Service Medics Tackling Knife Crime

Medics from London Ambulance Service who educate school children on the realities of knife crime to deter them from carrying weapons have been commended by the police.

Paramedic Sukhjit Kadri and emergency medical technician Keith Plummer give youngsters in schools across east London honest and hard-hitting facts about what knife injuries look like and the life-changing impact they can have.

They also play a recording of a harrowing 999 call that was made after a fatal stabbing of a teenager.

Emergency medical technician Keith Plummer and paramedic Sukhjit Kadri show the Commander’s Commendations which they were awarded

The medics are part of a team who have worked alongside officers from the Metropolitan Police to educate hundreds of teenagers across Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge schools to stem the tide of gang violence in London.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman presented Sukhjit and Keith with a Commander’s Commendation at a small ceremony in Romford to recognise their commitment and collaborative work on tackling knife crime.

Sukhjit, who led the project for London Ambulance Service, said: “I’m so passionate about this work and it is so rewarding being able to give back to the community that I grew up in. I have been able to work in my old secondary school and sixth form.’

“It is a real honour to be recognised, but the real reward has been the feedback from pupils who have talked about the impact we have had.’

“We tell them about treating patients their age; our talks are emotional and relatable and we know it makes a difference.”  

The presentations are aimed at Year 9 pupils in an area which has a high rate of knife crime.

Keith said: “It is really nice and unexpected to get an award for a job I love doing. When you talk to the kids, you can see they are gripped.’

“We have knowledge and experience of the consequences of knife crime; of seeing people hurt and seeing their families.’

So we are passionate and enthusiastic about educating kids and we can say to them: this is what we do, this is what we see, this is real.”

Sukhjit and Keith deliver their workshops alongside police colleagues PC Halleron and PC Harris; and Nathan Levy, who runs the Robert Levy Foundation, a charity set up after his brother was murdered. All five were commended.

Det Chief Supt Clayman said: “The workshops have so much impact — they have resulted in students coming forward and giving information about other pupils carrying weapons.’

“This collaborative project is delivered alongside their other work commitments and they are passionate about their goal as ultimately they are trying to make youths in London safer.”

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.”

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.

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

LAS Appoint Healthcare Finance Expert Jill Anderson to Trust Board

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London Ambulance Service has appointed a new associate non-executive director to support its Trust board in building a world-class ambulance service.

Jill Anderson joins the Service’s Trust board this month (June 2020), replacing former associate non-executive director Amit Khutti, who has now taken on a fuller non-executive role within the board.

Jill brings more than 30 years’ experience in the healthcare sector, including executive responsibility in finance, commercial, research and supply chain functions across large multinational organisations.

Jill is currently chief financial officer for ViiV Healthcare, a global subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is dedicated to improving the lives of people living with HIV.

She has been in the role for two years and in addition to the company’s finances, Jill is also responsible for supply chain and business development.

A supporter of open, collaborative leadership, she is actively engaged in diversity initiatives such as back to work programmes for people who are HIV positive.

A graduate in Chemistry from the University of Exeter, Jill qualified as an accountant before joining GSK in 1990. She worked at the pharmaceutical giant until 2001 and then launched her own consultancy which she ran for a decade before returning to GSK in 2011.

Talking about her new appointment at London Ambulance Service, Jill said:“I am delighted to be appointed as an associate non-executive director on the Trust board.’

“It has been truly inspiring to see the way the Trust has responded to the challenges of COVID-19 and I feel extremely privileged to be joining.’

“I have no doubt that this has been achieved through the commitment and personal sacrifices of individuals and teams across the Service.’

“I am very passionate about creating open, collaborative cultures which place the patient at the centre of decision-making and I hope I will be able to support further the organisational change happening in the Trust.”

Commenting on Jill’s appointment, Heather Lawrence OBE, chair of the LAS Trust board, said:

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Jill to our Trust board. She is an inspiring and strategic leader within the healthcare sector who has championed a culture of collaboration and openness throughout her career.’

“Her expertise in finance, commerce, research and supply chain, as well as her genuine desire to improve the lives of patients, will prove invaluable to the Service as we continue to strive for excellence every day to realise our ambition of becoming a world-class ambulance service.”

London Ambulance Service Launches New Public & Patients Council to Help Shape Services

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A new council formed by London Ambulance Service, bringing together patients, carers, volunteers and members of the public to help shape future services, has held its first meeting this week.

The Public and Patients Council includes a wide range of representatives from patient and carer groups, different London communities and the voluntary sector.

Meeting quarterly, it will examine and advise on broad areas of LAS’s work, from individual patient care, treatment and research through to the way LAS delivers and designs its services as well as strategy and forward planning.

The newly-launched council, which reports to the Trust Board, currently has 12 members and two independent co-chairs.

Dame Christine Beasley DBE, who was previously the Chief Nurse for England, has been appointed as the council’s interim chair.

Members of the council met ‘virtually’ for the first time on Tuesday 16 June and heard updates on how the Service has been meeting the challenges of COVID-19, as well as its progress in introducing a new electronic system to track and monitor the care we provide to patients.

Both of these discussions involved seeking feedback and views from council representatives on how they feel the Service has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and how they think the Service can best inform and engage patients around the introduction of the new electronic patient care record.

Dame Christine Beasely DME,
Former Chief Nursing Office
and Interim Chair for LAS Public & Patients Council

Dame Christine Beasley, interim chair of the council, said: “I’m delighted to be part of this new council, which will bring together views, expertise and experiences from many corners of LAS’s patient community, as well as carers, the general public and the voluntary sector.’

“It is crucial that all public health organisations keep talking with, and listening to, their service users to ensure they are in tune with what patients and the public feel it is important for them to focus on, both now and in the future.”

Antony Tiernan, Director of Communications and Engagement at London Ambulance Service, who is the executive lead for the new council, added: “Our patients and the people of London are at the centre of everything we do, and it’s vital that they have a voice in the way we design, develop and deliver our services.’

“The way we deliver care is changing, and we have formed the new Public and Patients Council to help us engage with different patient groups, carers, communities and the voluntary sector as we transform our services.’

“Their expertise and insight will be invaluable as we shape our plans for the future, as well as influencing the day-to-day running of the Service.”

The council includes representatives from Healthwatch Enfield, Terence Higgins Trust, the Samaritans, Carers Trust, Healthwatch Merton and St John Ambulance. It currently has 12 members, but will expand to 20.

People who are interested in joining should email: communications@lond-amb.nhs.uk.