Ambulance Service Institute Annual Awards 2014

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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.

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