The importance of awarding excellence

Last month marked the announcement of the recipients of the Queen’s Birthday Honours, which recognise individuals who have made achievements in public life and committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.

Through the Honours system, there are well-established awards for recognising individuals, and while they are not specific to the ambulance service, they still allow for the acknowledgement of an individual’s outstanding service to the community.

However, since its introduction in June 2012, The Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal (QAM) has allowed ambulance staff to officially receive an award for distinguished service to the public or profession in their operational role (Department of Health, 2011). It is testament to the progression of the paramedic profession that ambulance staff have finally been given the same level of royal recognition as other members of the emergency services. Implementation for the provision of a medal for police and fire services was first introduced by a royal warrant in 1909, in the form of the King’s Police Medal (Gladstone, 1909).

In England, the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) is responsible for coordinating the nominations of QAMs, with nominations coming from within Trusts and being seconded by their Trust Chief Executives before being sent for consideration for final nomination by the AACE Board.

According to the AACE, ‘The Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal (QAM) honours a very small, select group of ambulance personnel who have shown exceptional devotion to duty, outstanding ability, merit and conduct in their roles within NHS Ambulance Services (AACE, 2013).’

In the most recent Honours, congratulations have to go to David Bull, education and command training lead at the National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU), and Roland Chesney, resilience manager at East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, for being awarded the QAM from England and Wales. Further congratulations have to go to Daren Mochrie, director of service delivery at the Scottish Ambulance Service and William Newton, planning officer at Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

The value of deserved recognition cannot be underemphasised. Appreciation is a fundamental human need, and so praise and acknowledgement of the excellence of hardworking individuals is key to achieving an outstanding work environment. By giving employees something to strive towards, individual performance and productivity can be improved, and job satisfaction can be acquired. The addition of the QAM to the Queen’s list of respected Honours, not only recognises the advances of the work being undertaken by ambulance services throughout the country as a whole, but provides ambulance staff with a standard by which they can aim towards.


Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (2013) Queen’s Ambulance Medals Announced in Queen’s Birthday Honours List. uk/queens-ambulance-medals-announced-in- queens-birthday-honours-list-2/ (accessed 23 June 2013)

Department of Health (2011) The Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for Distinguished Service (QAM): Guidance for NHS Trust Ambulance Services in England. DH, London

Gladstone HJ (1909) The King’s Police Medal. The London Gazette, Issue 28269: 5281. www. (accessed 23 June 2013)

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 13 July 2013.

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