Brixton Cycles named Best Small Retailer at London Cycling Awards

WHEELIE GOOD: The team from Brixton Cycles collect their award from Jeremy Vine. Picture: London Cycling Campaign

WHEELIE GOOD: The team from Brixton Cycles collect their award from Jeremy Vine. Picture: London Cycling Campaign

Brixton Cycles has been voted Best Small Retailer at the London Cycling Campaign’s annual London Cycling Awards.

The event, held on Wednesday July 16 in central London, commended organisations, brands and retailers for their promotion of cycling over the last 12 months. Hosted by journalist and keen cyclist Jeremy Vine, the awards were separated into two parts: Consumer Awards, which were nominated by London Cycling Campaign members and voted for by the public; and Project Awards, which were nominated by the public and chosen by a panel of independent cycling experts.

Brixton Cycles was started in 1983 as a workers’ cooperative on Coldharbour Lane, before relocating to its current location next to Stockwell Skatepark in 2001. Opening in the wake of the 1981 riots, it has gained a notable reputation due to its long-standing staff, who ensure a level of experience that is not seen in many other bike shops.

On receiving the award, Lincoln Romain, one of the longest serving co-op directors at Brixton Cycles, said: “We are eternally grateful, it is a great honour and we are ecstatic to win the award. It is because we have put in a lot over the years. There appears to have been a lot of nepotism in the past, but the fact the awards were voted for by actual cyclists throughout London means a lot.”

Speaking on behalf of the local London Cycling Campaign group, Lambeth Cyclists, Luke Evans said: “We congratulate Brixton Cycles, one of the best bike shops in South London, on winning this well deserved award. This recognises the key role that Brixton Cycles have played in keeping Lambeth’s cyclists on the road and promoting cycling over the past 30 years.

“This shop has played a big part in making Lambeth one of the most cycle friendly boroughs in London.”

Brixton Cycles is one of over 125 cycle shops across London which offer discounts to London Cycling Campaign members.

Taking from Brixton Blog/Bugle, published 25 July 2014.

Minister for Civil Society assures air ambulances his ‘door is always open’

L to R Bill Sivewright AAA - Nick Hurd MP Minister for Civil Society - G...

From left to right: Bill Sivewright, NIck Hurd MP, Guy Opperman MP, Clive Dickin

The Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd MP, has told members of air ambulance charities that his ‘door is always open’.

Speaking at a reception held by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Air Ambulances (APPGAA) on 9 June on the House of Commons Terrace, Westminster, Mr Hurd MP extended an open invitation to all air ambulance charities:

‘My offer is this, it is a very simple one: my door is always open. Please come and see me. My job is to advocate on behalf of civil society on behalf of the voluntary sector. If you don’t feel you’re getting heard, if you feel you have got an argument that you really want to make, or you have got a brilliant creative idea, please come and see me.’

Mr Hurd MP praised the work being undertaken by air ambulance charities in the UK, who together raised £96.4 million last year through public donations and on average treat 70 patients a day by the 20 charity-funded services.

He expressed his admiration for air ambulance services as a result of the passion and enthusiasm underlying the organisations, as well as their pride and desire to do more to help people. In a sector that relies on public generosity, and people’s willingness and ability to give time and money, Mr Hurd MP said:

‘There is a lot the Government can do to make it easier to give.’

The event, hosted by the chairman of the APPGAA, Guy Opperman MP, allowed local air ambulance charities and ambulance services from the UK to meet with members of Westminster to discuss their operations and key issues affecting the industry.

The APPGAA, a cross-party group of MPs, was set up in 2010 to support air ambulances. Its aim is to raise the quality of care, effectiveness and efficiency of air ambulance services through closer engagement with policy leaders and policy makers. It recently led a successful campaign in the House of Commons on the relief of VAT on air ambulance aviation fuel, and is currently calling on the Government to endorse a policy of recognition of parity for all patients arrival facilities, following a report published by the APPGAA, which highlighted that 60% of air ambulance facilities in the UK are inadequate.

In his opening speech, Mr Opperman MP explained how he had needed an air ambulance following a horse riding accident during his days as a jockey. He went on to explain how the group acts as a champion for air ambulances, ensuring that they have a strong voice in the House of Commons. By bringing members of Westminster together with the various air ambulance charities, Mr Opperman MP said that air ambulances could:

‘Promote innovation, different ideas, and take what I consider to be the fourth emergency service and then say: how can these incredible voluntary organisations harmonise, work together, come up with innovations, look to learn the lessons—whether it is from 7/7 or individual disasters and accidents that take place—so that there is a cohorted body working together and pushing forward the standards, because we are the best in the world?’

Nick Hurd MP addresses the reception

Nick Hurd MP addresses the reception

The Association of Air Ambulances (AAA) supported the reception for the second year, bringing patients, charities, ambulance services and legislators together.

Bill Sivewright, chairman of the AAA, welcomed the Minister’s comments and thanked everyone in attendance, before issuing a challenge to all those present:

‘We must rise to the challenge of ensuring that the patient remains the focus for all our efforts. Air ambulances need to work with their local NHS Trusts, leveraged through the influence of local MPs when appropriate, to ensure that the patient journey from the point of injury or medical incident through to leaving the hospital is as seamless as possible.’

Speaking to the Journal of Paramedic Practice after the event, Graham Hodgkin, chief executive of London’s Air Ambulance, said:

‘As active supporters of the AAA, we’re always appreciative of the opportunity to meet with our sector colleagues, as well as some key supporters. The APPGAA reception is an important event where we can collectively highlight the common issues that impact on our operations and funding to our stakeholders in public office that can positively influence outcomes on our behalf. The APPGAA was instrumental in securing the recent VAT rebate on aviation fuel and it was really encouraging to hear the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd MP, say his door is always open to us as charities.’

Mike Page, emergency care practitioner and critical care paramedic for Great Western Air Ambulance, added:

‘This has been an excellent opportunity for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWACC) and our team of critical care paramedics to meet with and discuss with our local members of parliament some of the important issues affecting the organisation’s ability to deliver the patient-centred care that is so gratefully funded by the kind donations of members of the public.

‘We in the GWACC area are extremely lucky to have the support of so many of the local MPs, a number of whom have visited the base and provide a good level of support. It is always good to know that they have an open door policy for us and are willing to support our charity when needed.’

Looking to the future for air ambulances, Clive Dickin, national director of the AAA, said:

‘The work on our key issues continues. We are in dialogue with NHS England on the issue of helipads and look for continued support through the members of the All Party Parliamentary Group in delivering appropriate landing facilities within the National Health Service Trusts. On other key issues, we continue to lobby for all VAT, not just that on aviation fuel, to be recoverable for charities, and again, we are working hard with the All Party Parliamentary Group to ensure that that actually materialises. At a local level, we encourage our air ambulance members to be engaging with their local MPs and pressing home those messages and reassuring the fundraisers, the volunteers and the patients that we are constantly improving services.’

Mr Opperman MP, added:

‘I think they [air ambulance charities] need to lobby their MPs more, without a shadow of a doubt. They need to to try to realise they’ve got a great deal more critical mass and force then they have actually exercised previously.

The reception was undoubtedly a success, giving the air ambulance community a rare opportunity to engage with legislators and members of Westminster, and make their issues heard.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 4 July 2014.

The future for the professional body

CoP_Strategic_Plan_2014This issue of the Journal of Paramedic Practice features the College of Paramedics’ Strategic Plan. Developed by the College of Paramedics’ Governing Council and Executive team following consultation with the College’s membership, it serves as the key reference point for the direction of the College over the next two to five years.

As outlined in the document, there are currently more than 19500 paramedics registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Members of the College represent 19% of the present UK paramedic registrants with the HCPC. This marks a substantial growth of membership since the formation of the College of Paramedics (then the British Paramedic Association) in 2003.

This is an important time for the paramedic profession, which has had to evolve and develop to cater for the needs of the acutely ill and injured patients it attends. As the demand for ambulance services has risen, the need for a pre-hospital healthcare professional with enhanced clinical capabilities and clinical decision-making skills has become increasingly evident (Allied Health Solutions, 2013).

The College serves as the voice of the paramedic profession, with representation at higher education institutions, the HCPC, Government agencies and with employers. Its Strategic Plan outlines the strategic activity necessary to meet the intent of its mission, and is separated into three strands: membership and members’ benefits; professional standards; and corporate status and operation.

The first section relates to the College’s engagement with its workforce. As a representative organisation it is there to listen to the needs and aspirations of the paramedic profession. In return for annual subscription to the College, members receive benefits, which include promotion of the paramedic profession and its value to the community, relevant communication to all stakeholders, professional support, and professional indemnity insurance. The Strategic Plan outlines the College’s intention to further develop the benefits for its membership as appropriate for an advancing profession.

The second section concerns the College’s ability to exert influence and apply governance over the content and processes related to the training of future members of the profession through university-based pre-registration programmes. The publication of its Curriculum Guidance and Career and Competency Framework will help ensure best practice for both paramedic education providers and employers.

The final section pays attention to the processes that need to be in place to ensure the College of Paramedics positions itself to effectively function as an organisation with the key challenges of ensuring growth for sustainability.

As a relatively young and growing body, the College of Paramedics is there to support the development of the profession. It relies on engagement with the workforce so that it can recognise what you as paramedics value as important. I urge you to read the document, and if you have not already done so, become a member.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 4 July 2014.


Allied Health Solutions (2013) Paramedics Evidence Based Education Project (PEEP). End of Study Report. Buckinghamshire New University, High Wycombe

Additional training allows paramedics to treat patients at home

van_2846135bThe introduction of specialist paramedic training to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has allowed for hundreds of patients to be treated at home, avoiding subsequent referral to hospitals and therefore relieving pressure on overburdened A&E departments.

Figures show that in 2013/14, EEAST carried out wound closure treatment in more than 400 patients at their own home.

This comes as welcome news following a report published by NHS Confederation earlier this year, which emphasised the need for more paramedics to be trained to treat at home. The report, entitled Ripping off the sticking plaster: Whole-system solutions for urgent and emergency care, argued for the need of a radical overhaul of emergency care services in order to cope with unsustainable pressures.

Jori Krijgsman, a clinical operation manager for EEAST, said:

‘The treatment ultimately means better care for patients and saves them a journey to hospital. The wound can be treated quickly and effectively through the use of adhesive stitches or dissolvable glue.’

The training has now been introduced to the new student paramedic course, following successful feedback from patients and paramedics. EEAST currently recruits 400 students.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 23 June 2014.

London’s Air Ambulance first to perform roadside balloon surgery

reboaLondon’s Air Ambulance (LAA) has become the first organisation to perform roadside balloon surgery to control internal bleeding. The technique, Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA), was first used in the UK at The Royal London Hospital, to control haemorrhage in trauma patients.

REBOA works by controlling or preventing further blood loss. The balloon is fed into the bottom end of the aorta, and then inflated, cutting off blood supply to damaged blood vessels. Patients who undergo REBOA by LAA are then transported rapidly to the Royal London Hospital to undergo further vital interventions. The technique can be used on patients suffering severe pelvic haemorrhage, an injury most commonly associated with cycling incidents and falls from height.

Dr Gareth Davies, medical director for LAA, commented on the use of REBOA to treat trauma patients:

‘Our aim is to provide our patients with the world’s most innovative and effective pre-hospital care. Being able to effectively manage blood loss at the scene is a significant advancement in pre-hospital medicine.

‘We believe the use of REBOA can lead to a reduction in the number of patients who quite simply bleed to death before they have the chance to get to hospital where there are highly developed systems for stabilising and preventing blood loss.’

Clinical staff from LAA worked closely with The Royal London Hospital, developing the skills necessary to perform REBOA safely in A&E, before transferring their knowledge to the pre-hospital setting.

Professor Karim Brohi, consultant vascular and trauma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, commented on the partnership between LAA and The Royal London Hospital:

‘We have to stop people bleeding to death— it’s one of the world’s biggest killers. Over 2.5 million people bleed to death from their injuries each year around the world. The Royal London Hospital Major Trauma Centre and London’s Air Ambulance have together led the way in developing new strategies and treatments to reduce this death toll.

‘While it sounds relatively simple it is an extremely difficult technology to deliver in the emergency department in hospital, never mind at the roadside. This successful deployment of REBOA represents nearly two years of development work by our staff. We are excited about the potential for REBOA to reduce death and suffering after trauma and will continue to evaluate and develop the technology into the future.’

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

‘London’s Air Ambulance delivers a world-class service for a world-class city. It’s astonishing to see how these stunning advances in medical care are helping people survive serious injury in London, injury that they probably wouldn’t survive elsewhere in the world. That change is being pioneered and delivered by an incredible group of men and women—the doctors, paramedics, pilots and support staff of the London Air Ambulance.’

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 23 June 2014.

Ambulance Service Institute Annual Awards 2014


South East Coast Ambulance Service’s Thameside Ambulance Station team celebrate winning the Special Incident Award.      Photo Credit: Simon Hayward

Friends and family gathered at the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, House of Lords, on 8 May to celebrate the Ambulance Service Institute (ASI) Annual Awards. The occasion recognised those in the pre-hospital care sector who have performed above and beyond the call of duty, in their dedication to saving lives.

Presented by Lord Ian McColl, professor of surgery and politician, the opening words of his address commended the great work being carried out by ambulance services up and down the country:

‘It’s been a great joy for me to be here and to hear all the amazing things that you have done. It must be absolutely horrendous; some of the situations you have had to deal with. We are just so grateful that you risk your lives to do all these wonderful things. Greater love hath no man who gives his life for another—or risks doing so.’

Set up in 2000 and originally held at AMBEX in Harrogate, the ASI Awards were initially only for NHS ambulance service personnel. However, the awards now incorporate accolades for military, private and voluntary services, and an international award was introduced in 2011.

2014 saw a 55% increase in nominations over the 11 award categories, resulting in the awards committee being split into six smaller committees deciding on two to three categories each.

Among the winners, Fellowship was awarded to past ASI president Carl Ledbury, and Honorary Fellowship to Prof Ian Greaves, professor of emergency medicine at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesburgh; and Prof Sir Keith Porter, clinical service lead for trauma services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

The President’s Commendation for Long Service went to Dennis Oakes of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, who retired recently after 50 years of service. Oakes was praised for dedicating his entire life to caring for others.

The Innovations Award went to East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust for the use of USB ECG leads linked to Toughbook PCs to improve efficiency and governance, as well as to reduce cost.

The Control Room Award went to Fiona Dinkel of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, who was noted as an outstanding emergency medical dispatcher with an almost exemplary audit history.

The First Aid/Community First Responder Award went to Craig Singleton of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust for his management of an incident in Gnosall involving a 4-year-old child who had been attacked at home by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Recalling the event, Singleton said:

‘It was a traumatic experience. At the time, when I was in the house with the family and when the paramedics arrived I kept it together, but when I got outside it hit me how traumatic it was.’

The Private/Voluntary Ambulance Service Award was presented to St John Ambulance, District 5, South East Region for exceptional contributions made in support of a number of critical incidents.

The Patient Transport Service Award went to Alex Laston and Louise Ormsby of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust for their involvement in attending to a road traffic collision involving a female pedestrian and a large goods vehicle.

The Special Incident Award went to South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust for their management of the Sheppey Bridge Incident, the biggest road traffic accident in Kent’s history, with more than 300 cars caught up in the early morning crash.

The Air Ambulance Team of the Year Award was presented to Helimed 03 and Helimed 09 from Midlands Air Ambulance, who demonstrated excellent team work in treating a 33-year-old male worker trapped in a tunnel under a large potato-sorting machine.

The Front-line Ambulance Award was given to Lance Corporal Malcolm Martindale of the Royal Army Medical Corps for his provision of front-line ambulance medical support to deployed British forces in Afghanistan.

The Military Award was presented to Sergeant Ryan Briggs, an RAF medic who helped form a small quick response force which treated casualties of the Taliban raid of Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on 14 September 2012.

The Paramedic/Emergency Care Practitioner Award went to Paul Gibson of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, who selflessly saved a woman from a flat in Ipswich that was engulfed in flames after learning that she was trapped inside.

George Reader, dock master at Watchet Mariner in Somerset, received the Public Spirited Award for his bravery in saving a 6-month-old baby who was plunged into the icy waters at Watchet Harbour when a gust of wind swept the child’s buggy into the water.

Speaking to the Journal of Paramedic Practice after the event, Dr Anthony Marsh, chief executive officer of both East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust and West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, and chairman of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, said:

‘I think this event is a fantastic opportunity to publicly recognise the great work of ambulance staff and all those people that support the ambulance service in our country.

‘Our staff do a fantastic job every day, often in difficult circumstances, so to have an event such as today, where we can recognise excellence, thank them personally, but also their families, is a great occasion.’

Dr Peter Griffin, president of the Ambulance Service Institute, added:

‘I have been responsible for chairing the ASI Awards Committee and reading out the Award Citations since 2002 and I never cease to be amazed by the outstanding professionalism and often extreme acts of bravery that are detailed in the nominations.

‘Typically, the ambulance personnel concerned make light of their actions with comments like “I was only doing my job” or “it is all in a day’s work”. I see the ASI Awards as a way of making these dedicated people feel special for a day with a trip to London and a visit to the House of Lords. It is my greatest wish to get more publicity for the ASI Awards Ceremony so that these actions and the people involved can get the wider publicity that they most rightly deserve.’

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 6 June 2014.

Getting more AEDs in public places

shockinglyeasy-logo 300x275Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of premature death. In the UK alone, approximately 30 000 people sustain cardiac arrest outside hospital and are treated by emergency medical services (EMS) each year (Pell et al, 2003). However, many SCA victims can be saved by bystanders who recognise what has happened, summon the ambulance service as soon as possible, perform basic CPR and use an AED to provide a high-energy electric shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm (Resuscitation Council (UK) and British Heart Foundation, 2013).

It has been shown that a strong predictor of SCA survival is the interval from collapse of the patient to defibrillation (Valenzuela et al, 1997). While this generally applies to defibrillation as carried out by healthcare professionals—from emergency physicians, to paramedics, to first responders—it also extends to defibrillation carried out by the layperson (Rea and Page, 2010). The introduction of public access defibrillation (PAD) programmes has produced positive results. One US study, which looked at a prospective series of cases of SCA in casinos, attended to by security officers instructed in the use of AEDs, recorded survival rates as high as 74% (Valenzuela et al, 2000).

In April, the Department for Education announced a plan to allow schools to purchase defibrillators at a lower cost. As a result, the Government is currently working to identify a supplier who will offer defibrillators at a competitive price, affirming that the deal will be sealed in time for the autumn term. Around 270 cardiac arrests occur in schools in the UK each year, highlighting the evident need to have AEDs on hand.

Ambulance services have played their part in encouraging PAD as well as the number of defibrillators in the community. On 1 May 2014, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust launched a campaign to get 1 000 defibrillators in shops, businesses and gyms across the capital, while South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust have launched an app that uses GPS functionality to show where the nearest AED is, as well as a list of other AEDs in the area, as part of its ‘Start a Heart’ campaign.

Undoubtedly, there are considerations to take into account with regards to PAD, such as the investment to purchase AEDs and maintain layperson responder proficiency (Rea and Page, 2010). However, given that AEDs are designed to be used by laypersons, with the machine guiding the operator through the defibrillation process by verbal instructions and visual prompts (Resuscitation Council (UK) and British Heart Foundation, 2013), there is plenty of argument in favour of PAD.


Pell JP, Sirel JM, Marsden AK, Ford I, Walker NL, Cobbe SM (2003) Presentation, management, and outcome of out of hospital cardiopulmonary arrest: comparison by underlying aetiology. Heart 89(8): 839–42

Rea T, Page RL (2010) Community approaches to improve resuscitation after out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest. Circulation 121(9): 1134–40

Resuscitation Council (UK) And British Heart Foundation (2013) A Guide to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDS). Resuscitation Council (UK), London

Valenzuela TD, Roe DJ, Cretin S, Spaite DW, Larsen MP (1997) Estimating effectiveness of cardiac arrest interventions: a logistic regression survival model. Circulation 96(10): 3308–13

Valenzuela TD, Roe DJ, Nichol G, Clark LL, Spaite DW, Hardman RG (2000) Outcomes of rapid defibrillation by security officers after cardiac arrest in casinos. N Engl J Med 343(17): 1206–9

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 6 June 2014.


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