Anthony Marsh to become improvement advisor at struggling East Midlands Ambulance Service

Anthony Marsh, CEO of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS), is to become improvement advisor at East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS) as part of plans to help turn around the struggling service.

Marsh will be supporting EMAS on an interim basis, providing advice and support to the executive team. He will work the equivalent of one day a week, starting from Monday 25 April 2016, for a period of 6 months.

It has been confirmed that he will continue his role as CEO of WMAS.

When asked how he intends to ensure his role at WMAS will not be affected by his new position, a spokesperson said: “West Midlands Ambulance Service will operate in the normal way with the executive team continuing to run the organisation in the same way as it normally does, for example when Mr Marsh goes on holiday.”

EMAS chairman, Pauline Tagg, has been in discussions with NHS Improvement over how the service could strengthen its leadership following the departure of its former chief executive, Sue Noyes, due to “personal reasons” in March.

Mr Marsh’s appointment comes at a time when EMAS is facing considerable financial and performance difficulties.

Latest figures released by the Trust reveal a £12.46 million deficit—20 times the planned amount of £0.12 million.

The service’s financial position has triggered escalation with its regulator, the NHS Trust Development Authority, resulting in the application of a loan for £9 million.

Responses to Red 1 calls at EMAS have been well below the national target of 75%, with the service failing to achieve a response within 8 minutes in 7 out of 8 months this year.

In addition to Mr Marsh’s appointment, Richard Henderson is to continue in the role of acting chief executive until further notice. Henderson has held a number of clinical and operational senior managerial roles including divisional director for EMAS’ Lincolnshire division, and chair of the National Ambulance Service Director of Operations Group.

David Whiting is to become chief operating officer for the next 6 months. Whiting has over 30 years’ experience in the ambulance service and previously worked for EMAS as director of operations until 2009.

“I’m excited about my return to EMAS and look forward to working with colleagues and staff to help further improve services for the communities we serve,” said Whiting.

Mike Naylor becomes acting finance director from today, as current director of finance Richard Wheeler leaves EMAS. Naylor has been leading EMAS’ future planning and budgets work for 2016/17 since 1 April.

“These leadership appointments bring expertise, knowledge and experience to allow us to continue to transform and improve services for our patients,” said Tagg.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 22 April 2016.

The need for optimism at a challenging time for the NHS emerges as key theme of Ambulance Leadership Forum

The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives’ (AACE) annual Ambulance Leadership Forum (ALF) took place this year on 9–10 February at the Hinckley Island Hotel in Leicestershire. Designed to stimulate debate and ideas about the on-going development of emergency and urgent care, delegates were encouraged to share best practice and discuss issues pertinent to the sector.

The theme for this year’s event focused around the future look and feel of ambulance service provision and was largely based on AACEs document published last year, A vision for the ambulance service: 2020 and beyond. This vision presents ambulance services as mobile healthcare providers operated in an extended range of care settings, doing more diagnostic work, more treatment, more health promotion, and providing patients with more services that before.

Delegates were welcomed to the conference by AACE chair and West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust CEO, Anthony Marsh, who called on attendees to embrace the new ambulance initiatives on offer and improve outcomes. He noted that ‘the challenge we are confronted with now [in the NHS] offers us a real opportunity,’ and hoped proceedings for the day would help influence national policy.

The landscape of urgent and emergency care: implementing the Five Year Forward View

The opening address was given by Chris Hopson, CEO of NHS Providers, who asked whether the provider sector had the capacity to deliver the changes outlined in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View? Hopson said that all Trusts would be under pressure to achieve their financial targets in 2016–2017 and that one of the biggest debates would be over standards and performance, especially for ambulances. He highlighted that the majority of providers have found themselves in the ‘needs improvement’ box in terms of Care Quality Commission rating, and that we cannot fix many problems found in the NHS unless we have more vertical integration of health and care and horizontal collaboration.

Prof Keith Willett, national director for acute episodes of care for NHS England, then spoke on the new landscape for urgent and emergency care. He started by mentioning he sat on a sharp fence between the clinical world of service providers and Whitehall, and noted it is a sharp fence. The current provision of urgent and emergency care services sees 24 million calls to the NHS and 7 million emergency ambulance journeys a year. Willett said for those people with urgent but non-life threatening needs we must provide ‘highly responsive, effective and personalised services outside of hospital, and deliver care in or as close to people’s homes as possible.’ For those people with more serious or life-threatening emergency needs, he said: ‘We should ensure they are treated in centres with the very best expertise and facilities in order to maximise their chances of survival and a good recovery.’ As we move into the final phase of the Urgent and Emergency Care Review, the focus is on implementing new models of care and ways of working. He stressed that the ambulance service needs to come to the fore and drive change, and that no paramedic should make a decision in isolation, but should have support from whole of the NHS.

Transforming health and social care: innovation and leadership

Following the first coffee break of the day, Bob Williams, CEO of North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, spoke on devolution in Manchester. After providing a background to the health and social care system in Greater Manchester and the Greater Manchester Devolution Agreement, Williams outlined the principles around the Greater Manchester devolution plan, which include: radical upgrade in population health prevention, transforming care in localities, standardising acute hospital care, and standardising clinical support and back office services. Williams said Greater Manchester devolution offers an opportunity to transform health and social care, and that ambulance service has the tools, the players and the crucial elements to help make the healthcare system changes needed.

Prof Paresh Wankhade of Edge Hill University then spoke on leadership in the emergency services, focusing on interoperability and innovation. Wankhade first set the scene by outlining the leadership challenges faced by emergency services, before highlighting the key issues impacting workforce development, the need for suitable leadership for empowering and motivating staff, provided a critical overview of the state of interoperability, and closed by speaking about innovation in an era of uncertainty. For the ambulance service, he noted an increasing demand but lesser proportion of life-threatening calls, and that performance and quality are unsustainable with current levels of funding. He went on to say that there is very little evidence to suggest that enough is being done to support the workforce for new challenges and performance pressures, and that there is an important role for the College of Paramedics to prepare practitioners for the future.

Leading in challenging times

After lunch, delegates heard a recorded message from Lord Prior of Brampton, parliamentary under secretary of state for NHS productivity, who commended the work that is being done by ambulance services across the country, and apologised on behalf of the secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt, who had to pull out the conference last minute.
This was followed by Rob Webster, CEO of NHS Confederation, who gave one of the most engaging talks of the day on leading in challenging times. He began by explaining there has been a 24% increase in activity for Category A calls for ambulance services since 2011. He went on to stress the need for values-based leadership and system leadership, and that leading should come from every seat in the NHS. If senior ambulance managers do not understand the organisation’s values, then it is difficult to expect staff to understand them. He closed by noting that the NHS is made of people, and that it is the collective commitment, drive and energy that make up an organisation, and what makes a successful future.

Janette Turner, director of the medical research unit at the University of Sheffield, then spoke on managing urgent care outside hospital. Looking at data from March 2015, 27.9–57.6% of 999 calls were not conveyed to emergency departments in England. On population utilisation of emergency ambulance services the UK receives 13 calls per 100 population, compared to Belgium, which has the highest number of calls per population in Europe at 33. Turner said that outcomes of evidence on telephone-based service involved accuracy, compliance, satisfaction, costs, service impact and access. While accuracy is high for minimising risk, inaccuracy tends to come in the form of over triage. Considering the role of management by ambulance clinicians outside hospital, Turner said a small number of high-quality studies support extended paramedic roles as they offer safe decisions, reduced emergency department transports, high satisfaction and are cost effective. However, she did note that decision-making is complex and needs to be underpinned by the right education.

Introducing new delivery models

After another coffee break, Richard Murray, director of policy at the King’s Fund, spoke on new delivery models for urgent and emergency care and NHS Planning Guidance. Murray outlined the key features of NHS Planning Guidance before discussing the implications for urgent and emergency care and ambulance providers. He said it was a game of two halves: a one-year plan for 2016/17, with existing organisations as the key building block, switching to place-based plans for 2017/2018 to 2020/2021. Taken together, Murray said they offer a radical re-drawing of the boundaries in the NHS.

The final talk of the day was delivered by Dr Phil Foster, assistant medical director for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, who spoke on the West Yorkshire Urgent and Emergency Care Vanguard. He explained how the service’s collective local vision was for all patients with emergency and urgent care needs within West Yorkshire to get ‘the right care in the right place—first time—every time.’ The aim was to give patients access to urgent and emergency care through 999 and 111 and given an improved experience with care provided closer to home. This would be a standard service offering across West Yorkshire.

Celebrating excellence at the AACE Outstanding Service Awards

The evening saw delegates celebrate the AACE Outstanding Service Awards. Sponsored by Ferno UK Ltd in aid of the Ambulance Services Charity, ambulance service employees form across England who have gone above and beyond the call of duty were recognised and commended for their outstanding service. The Outstanding Paramedic Award went to Abigail Evans, a cycle response unit paramedic for London Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The Outstanding Mentor or Tutor Award went to Chris Mathews, a critical care paramedic with South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. Outstanding Innovation and Change Awards went to Adam Aston, a paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Thomas Heywood, a clinical manager for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The Outstanding Non-Paramedic Clinician Award went to Steve Wainwright, and emergency care assistant for East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The Outstanding Control Services Employee Award went to Craig Foster, a call operator for North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. The Outstanding Manager Award went to Karen Gardner, operations manager for North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. The Outstanding Support Services Award went to Tez Westwood, Hazardous Area Response Tram support technician for East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The Outstanding Senior Management Award went to Tracy Nicholls, head of quality governance for East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the Outstanding Welfare and Wellbeing Award went to Ben Lambert, a team leader for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

Workshops allow delegates to discuss emerging themes

The second day, co-hosted by NHS Confederation, featured a morning of facilitated workshops, concluding with a conference summary and forward view. Delegates were given a choice to attend workshops on the themes of ‘our workforce’, ‘technological and digital enablement’, and ‘vanguards and innovation’.

A summary of the main themes discussed in the workforce workshop include the need to engage with staff meaningfully, understanding culture but also taking change, collaboration, and a recognition of whether or not we are doing as much as we can on mental health and race equality.

The technology workshop had a key theme around innovation, and an emphasis that ambulance services are much more than a transportation service. There was a strong feeling that there needs to be better capture and use of data in technological advancements, that procurement needs to be looked at as a whole-systems approach, and that ambulance services should embrace social media.

Within the vanguard workshop there was a clear sense of the great work that is being done across the country. It was recognised that a lot of the components of a really good system are in place, but that we have to learn from each other’s organisations. There was also an emphasis on ensuring that the right culture is in place within services.

With difficulty comes opportunity

The conference came to a close with Anthony Marsh commending the optimism shared by delegates during what is a challenging time for the NHS. He quoted the BBC programme Inside Out, saying there is ‘no need to be miserable, we are winning the war.’ Martin Flaherty, managing director of AACE, then remarked on how sobering it was to hear about the challenging times ahead, particularly around finance. However, he said with difficulty comes opportunity and that as a sector we are always doing our best when in difficulty.

Delegates left with much food for thought and plenty of ideas for implementing change within their own services. Feedback has been positive, with one delegate saying: ‘Excellent conference, completely relevant to our practice in emergency medicine,’ while another remarked: ‘I think the organisation was superb and the quality of speakers and breadth of subject matter was really relevant.’ Congratulations must be extended to AACE for an engaging two days, and delegates can look forward to returning for another year.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 4 March 2016.

Ambulance Service Institute celebrates excellence at annual awards ceremony

Ambulance Service Institute president, Dr Peter Griffin, welcomes guests to the 2015 ASI annual awards. Photo Credit: Brian Aldrich

Ambulance Service Institute president, Dr Peter Griffin, welcomes guests to the 2015 ASI annual awards. Photo Credit: Brian Aldrich

Friends and family gathered at the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, House of Lords, on 25 June 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.

The awards were presented by Dr Peter Griffin, president of the ASI, who gave a brief welcome address before proceeding with the awards.

The ASI was formed in 1976 and has members throughout the UK NHS ambulance services and in various overseas ambulance services. It is an independent institute whose membership is dedicated to improving, monitoring and raising the standards and quality of ambulance provision and thereby improving the professionalism and quality of care available to patients.

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.

The Paramedic/Emergency Care Practitioner Award went to Alex Watts of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, who was first on scene at a multiple fatality road traffic collision on the Colchester Road at Gosfield in December last year. Watts was commended for his actions in the initial management of the scene, placing himself at risk to organise and effect a rescue of at least three patients.

Speaking to the Journal of Paramedic Practice, Alex said:

‘It’s nice to get something.’

However, the event undoubtedly had a lasting effect, as he added:

‘The whole job did leave a bit of a mark to be honest, it wasn’t the nicest of jobs. [But] you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and that’s just the way it is unfortunately, it was just my turn.’

Paramedic Clive Parnham receives President's Commendation from Baroness Angela Browning. Photo Credit: Brian Aldrich

Paramedic Clive Parnham receives President’s Commendation from Baroness Angela Browning. Photo Credit: Brian Aldrich

President’s Commendations went to motorbike paramedic Steve Harris of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust and paramedic Clive Parnham of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Steve, affectionately known as ‘Forrest’ by colleagues as well as fans of Channel 5’s Emergency Bikers, recently retired from 18 years as a motorcycle paramedic. Although taking life at a slower pace, he still patrols the streets of Birmingham on a part-time basis, all in the name of patient care.

Clive was nominated for being a dedicated and supportive member of staff who is always willing to assist. His citation referred to him as a great model to others and a great support to all new staff in his care. It was mentioned that if you were to cut him in half he would read ambulance service through the middle.

Commenting on receiving the award, Clive said:

‘I feel very humbled. It’s always nice to be recognised for the work that you put into things. 32 years in the ambulance service I have seen an awful lot of changes, but it has been a really fantastic career.’

The Innovation Award went to the West Midlands Mental Health Response Unit, collected by Robert Cole, head of clinical practice at West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and chief inspector Sean Russell of West Midlands Police. Starting as a trial scheme in January last year, the inter-agency mental health triage unit has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of people suffering from mental health who ended up in police custody in the local area.

The Control Room Award went to Heather Wilson of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, whose passion to her role and her commitment to improving the quality of the service provided to patients has led to her rapidly progressing from call handler, to dispatcher, to dispatch team leader in a little over two years.

The First Aid/Community First Responder Award went to Rossendale Community First Responder Group. The award was collected by Brian Pickup and Dawn Taylor who organise the local group. Their nomination was based on their dedication and professional approach to volunteering, and the way they work in partnership with the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

The Patient Transport Service Award went to Stephen Dines and Justine Newton of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust for the way they dealt with an unusual and difficult incident. They were said to have showed professionalism and remained calm and reassuring to their patient until help arrived.

The Special Incident Award went to paramedic Louise Smith and technician Joanne Taylor of East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, who were commended for their actions after being involved in a crash while transporting a patient.

The Air Ambulance Award went to Sergeant David Currie, a search and rescue winchman at RAF Valley. Currie received his reward in recognition of his assistance to a man who had fallen into a quarry in the vicinity of Horseshoe Pass, Wrexham. Displaying exceptional clinical skills, clarity of thought under pressure and outstanding management of his winch operator, it was felt his action unequivocally saved the life of his casualty.

The Front-line Ambulance Award was given to technicians Neil Ashmore and Sarah Lawrence of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, who attended a severe fire in Tipton in August 2014. They were praised for their bravery at the scene, where they acted above and beyond the call of duty, at great personal risk, to care for the two patients injured as a result of the fire.

The Military Award was presented to Sergeant Simeon Tomlinson, a senior non-commissioned officer paramedic with 4626 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, RAF Brize Norton. Tomlinson is the only reserve paramedic to have undertaken three deployments as part of the rotary Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) and was recognised as a super clinician, admired by his fellow colleagues and noted for providing the best paramedic care on a daily basis.

Billy McPhail and Gareth Acres received the Public Spirited Award for an incident at Strood Railway on 28 May 2014, where they rescued a woman who had slipped and fell on the railway line.

In a closing address to guests, Baroness Browning congratulated all of the winners:

‘What a privilege it is to hear these wonderful accounts of the bravery, professionalism and dedication of the people who have received their awards today and of course the people in the teams that they work for. The Ambulance Service Institute does a good job in recognising, each year, people who have done more than just the normal 9–5 role that so many people regard as work. I just want to say, on behalf of those of us in the public…thank you very much to all of you, and your colleagues who aren’t here today, for what you have done, and many many congratulations to those of you who are award winners here today.’

Speaking to the Journal of Paramedic Practice after the event, Dr Peter Griffin, president of the ASI, said:

‘This is the fifth year we have done the awards at the House of Lords. We started at that end [House of Commons] in 2002 and moved to this end in 2010. We did quite well this year. We had some pretty good nominations. We didn’t have quite as many as last year but I think they were of similar quality.’

Speaking of the awards, 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:

‘These are staff who are doing a wonderful job for patients day in, day out and I’m so proud of them. That the ASI are recognising their efforts in this way is testament to their dedication to what they do, and it’s staff like this who help the ambulance service put the very best it can into delivering high-quality patient care for the region.’

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 3 July 2015.

Paramedics assist in humanitarian rescue operation in Nepal

Two paramedics from the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WMAS) have gone to Nepal to assist in the humanitarian rescue operation, following the devastating earthquake that hit 80 km north west of Kathmandu on Saturday.

The earthquake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale, has claimed the lives of over 5000 people, with many more still trapped under the rubble.

Steve Watkins is a paramedic and member of Search and Rescue in Disasters (SARAID), a British charity dedicated to trying to save the victims of disaster.

Simon Greenfield is a Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) paramedic and member of Humanity First Medical, a group of health professionals who aim to provide help during disasters and peaceful times supporting medical needs.

They are joined by Dr Malcolm Russell, a medical incident officer with WMAS and BASICS emergency doctor with Mercia Accident Rescue Service in Herefordshire. He is also medical director, Urban Search and Rescue Medical Team, of the UK International Search and Rescue Team. He provided support during the Christchurch earthquake and Japanese tsunami, and flew out on Sunday to Nepal along with a team of 67 firefighters/medics, four dogs and over a tonne of rescue equipment.

Anthony Marsh, WMAS chief executive, said:

‘Our good wishes go with all three of them as they go into what will undoubtedly be an horrific scene. They will, as part of the relief effort, be able to provide invaluable assistance to local communities in the stricken areas.

‘As a Trust we are pleased to be able to release these staff, who have specialist training, to be part of these organised humanitarian response teams.’

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 30 April 2015.

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust invests £1m in defibrillators for community

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has unveiled plans to place 1,000 new defibrillators across the east of England.

The investment, which will cost just under £1 million, will see public buildings such as sports centres, village halls and libraries across the six counties EEAST serves, receiving the lifesaving devices.

Distribution of the defibrillators has already begun, and it is hoped that all 1,000 devices will be in position by the end of March.

The Trust is aware of more than 300 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) across the region that can be accessed by a member of staff or the public when they go into cardiac arrest.

North Norfolk is receiving the first 50 defibrillators, another 20 are going into Suffolk, and 40 are being sent out across North Essex. Another 30 are going into Cambridgeshire and 10 in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Locations for the remaining devices will be unveiled in due course.

Anthony Marsh, chief executive of EEAST, said:

‘I’m delighted that we have started this important project to invest in the communities we serve by improving access to these lifesaving devices in key locations.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 17 February 2015.

Rise in number or paramedics leaving NHS ambulance services

The numbers of paramedics leaving NHS ambulance services is increasing, according to figures obtained from ambulance Trusts.

At least 1,015 paramedics left their job in 2013–14, compared with 593 in the same period two years earlier.

This has meant crews are under greater pressure than ever before to meet demand.

As the amount of emergency calls continues to rise each year, there has failed to be an equivalent rise in the number of qualified ambulance staff.

Anthony Marsh, chairman of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, says that a surge in 999 calls this year and higher numbers of paramedics leaving some services, means the remaining front-line staff are facing pressures that are ‘greater than they’ve ever been.’

He added: ‘Traditionally, ambulance services receive just over 4% more 999 calls each year, and we have done for the last 10 years—some years a little bit more than that, some a bit less—but this year we’re seeing substantially more 999 calls.’

Dr Fiona Moore, medical director for London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:

‘We’ve seen an increase in calls from the 21- to 30-year-old group, and I think that now reflects the sort of supermarket culture we now have, so if you can buy a loaf of bread at 04:00 in the morning, why can’t you access you healthcare when it is convenient to you?’

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 20 October 2014.

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.