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

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

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

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

Tracy Myhill, former Chief Executive, WAST

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

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

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

Sue Owen-Williams, Nurse Advisor,
NHS 111 Wales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andy Swinburn,
Director of Paramedicine,
WAST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London Ambulance Service Medics Recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I Decided to Respond to the Covid Call-Up

By Gerry Egan QAM, FCPara
Published in Ambulance Today, Issue 2, Volume 17, SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic — Global EMS Response,
Summer Edition 2020

I retired from full time work as Chief Executive of the College of Paramedics on December 31, 2019 with full intentions of rekindling my musicianship and building my bike workshop.

Like most of the world, I watched with horror and incredible sadness the spread of Coronavirus across the globe and its inevitable arrival in the UK.

Spending most of my ambulance life in the Scottish Ambulance Service and knowing the work, training and planning that the service had been doing for many years it was no surprise when the request was made both by the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Scotland for retired staff to return to work if possible.

A number of thoughts went through my head; not least, at 64 years of age, ‘was the risk too high in terms of being able to do the job?’

I still work part-time as a paramedic in motorsports and had no concerns about my clinical capability but did have concerns about spending lengthy periods in PPE. Not only that, but did I have the level of physical fitness to cope with 12 hour shifts and the physicality of frontline work?

I considered my mental health too. In the end however, I came to the conclusion that my personal resilience, and the very close networks of family, friends and colleagues I have, made me as well prepared as any other paramedic at this time.

In my heart I knew I could assist and wanted to help in any way I could. One of my go to questions internally from Doc Hinds sprung to mind: “Are my intentions honourable?” Yes, they were.

I completed the online forms and submitted my application through the Scottish Government systems. A few days later I had a couple of responses and started the process of being recruited to Bank Staff with both NHS Lothian and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

A number of calls have had a significant mental health element to them … On several occasions I have stayed on a call … to listen and chat, and hopefully help the patient.

I had discussions with my wife and family and we decided that frontline ambulance was not going to be the best thing for me to do. My previous post was as clinical director and my paramedic consultant post was in clinical decision-making around telephone triage, and this was the area I offered to return in.

I attended a three-day course with the Scottish Ambulance Service and, along with a number of others who returned to the service, worked through the core skills and changes that had taken place over the last few years. This included a driving assessment on a modern ambulance to ensure that we were safe and competent. 

Looking around the room at our “socially distanced” group it was clear that there was close to 600 years of experience between us. Yet despite this, we all shared very honestly the trepidation we felt, the limitations we thought we may have and our overwhelming desire to help patients in whatever way we could.

Gerry Egan QAM, FCPara, hard at work on his bike

Mental preparation for me was going to be important. Like most paramedics, I have seen my share of good and bad things over the years and expected this would be amongst the worst and most challenging.

My own decision was to limit myself to one news programme a day, watch the government briefings and follow on social media the people I found to be factual and credible and non-sensationalist. I followed the scientific evidence as it appeared, and developed my own opinion on what was going to be right for me and my family.

Coronavirus was, and still is affecting our family in the same way as every other person in the country. We weren’t able to see or hug our grandkids for several months which was incredibly tough and our youngest son, who is an adult and has learning disabilities was in lockdown with his carers for fourteen weeks, so we had to rely on the wonderful care team to keep us updated. Thankfully, since then, we’ve been able to have him home for a weekend which was pretty emotional.

I started my first shift with NHS Lothian in the Covid hub at the beginning of May 2020 and, after a short induction and familiarisation with the software and processes, I was up and running. The team is mostly made up of General Practitioners, and I am the only paramedic on the team.

The GPs have been incredibly supportive and are always on hand to answer a question or suggest a direction for a patient. Learning the referrals pathway has been a steep learning curve, but again I’ve been assisted by a team happy to advise and support.

From a paramedic perspective, the work (I do 3 or 4 shifts per week in the Covid Triage Centre) is interesting and very different to working on an ambulance. I see a patient’s clinical record, emergency care summary, previous NHS contact and current medicines all before I speak to the patient or carer.

This adds greatly to the decision-making process and assists in getting a good patient outcome. A number of calls have had a significant mental health element to them, often due to lockdown changing people’s interaction with the world around them. On several occasions I have stayed on a call (when no other patients are waiting) to listen and chat, and hopefully help the patient.

To date, I have not been asked to undertake any ambulance shifts as current demand and levels are being incredibly well managed by NHS boards. But if the situation changes in the future, then I’m more than ready and willing to do my bit.