Trust celebrates long service and excellence at awards ceremony

Heroic acts, incredible bravery and life-saving moments were all celebrated at West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Long Service and Excellence Awards last week.

The Trust’s annual ceremony took place at the Copthorne Hotel in Brierely Hill on Thursday, 15th March and saw a range of awards handed out including Long Service Medals and Chief Officer Commendations.

This year, 19 operational members of staff became eligible for their 20-year Long Service and Good Conduct Medal which were presented by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Dr Beverley Lindsay OBE.

In addition, 15 staff were commended for 25 years service; 14 received certificates for 30 years service; three members of staff were honoured for 35 years in the Trust; whilst one member of staff was commended 40 years of service. Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said:

“This ceremony allows myself and the Trust to say a really big thank you to our staff for everything they do to make West Midlands Ambulance Service the best ambulance service in the country.

“I fully recognise it is one big team effort from our 5,000 staff and 1,000 volunteers who respond to 4,000 999 calls every day, saving lives across the West Midlands. They all do a fantastic job and I am really proud of all of them.”

Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Dr Beverley Lindsay, added: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of those ambulance staff who have been honoured here today.

“Rewarding staff for their long service is a privilege for me. In a world where employees now move to new jobs and careers on average every five years, it is becoming increasingly rare to dedicate themselves to over 20 years of public service. We should be immensely proud of these people and the work that they do.”

Sir Graham Meldrum, Trust Chairman, added: “Every year is a year of scrutiny for the ambulance service, but the last 12 months it has been the case even more so, as the Trust has received so much fantastic television coverage.

“Throughout the programmes we have been involved with, there has been one constant theme – the care and compassion shown by our staff who give their best every single time they care for people in the community.

“Well done to all of our award winners and everyone within the service for once again making sure we have provided the very best level of patient care possible during the past 12 months.”



Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Tom Cheal – Clinical Team Mentor, Erdington; Jas Nar – Paramedic, Aston;  Christopher Helm – Technician, Aston; Simon Wheatley – Student Paramedic, Erdington

If trekking in the Himalayas is your sort of thing, it is fair to assume that fitness sits quite high on your agenda. That is very much the case for John Simpson, who just a week after returning from his hiking adventure, was on an exercise bike at home, when he began to feel unwell. John managed to call 999 where Pam Hall was waiting to take his call. Pam offered advice and assistance on the line, at which the situation changed dramatically as John suffered a cardiac arrest. Two ambulances arrived at the scene and immediately began CPR as well as delivering a defibrillator shock. That shock proved enough to restart John’s heart.

He was rapidly transported to Heartlands hospital with crews continuing emergency treatment en-route. Once arrived he was passed over to the hospital staff and has gone on to make a full recovery.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Charles Grover – Student Paramedic, Coventry

Student Paramedic Charles Grover was out shopping with his family in Coventry when he heard a commotion. Looking up, he saw a mother calling for help and immediately ran over to assist. That is when he discovered a two-year-old child in cardiac arrest. Charles immediately began CPR whilst sending the security guard to fetch the defibrillator. Resus attempts continued until the defibrillator was brought to the scene. At this point, Charles delivered a shock and was then joined on the scene by arriving ambulance staff. Treatment continued en-route to hospital with a ROSC being achieved before arrival.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Helen Murphy – Patient Transport Service, Cheshire; Adam Ford – Patient Transport Service, Cheshire.

A patient transport vehicle running out of Warrington Hub was completing a regular transfer for a routine medical appointment when the situation escalated at a rapid rate. During the journey, PTS worker Helen Murphy noticed the patient had become unwell and upon immediate closer examination, discovered she had stopped breathing. Adam Ford, who was driving, immediately pulled over and jumped in the back to take over CPR from Helen, who began preparing the requisite equipment to administer emergency oxygen. Thanks to the quick and effective CPR, the patient soon began to breathe again. Both Helen and Adam worked to maintain the patient’s airway whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive, during which time the patient soon became responsive and her breathing grew even stronger. Helen and Adam stayed calm and professional throughout and their actions undoubtedly played a hugely significant part in saving a life.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Rob Moore – Paramedic, Erdington.

With all of the difficulties ambulance staff face in their day-to-day working life, particularly with a continued increase in attacks and violence against emergency workers, Rob Moore felt it was time to try and shift the balance of the negative news always being reported. One night at home, he decided to try and get ambulance staff to tell the world about the nice things that happen too, at which, the ‘#bluelighthappy’ campaign began! The campaign received an incredible response, not only in the West Midlands, but nationwide as hundreds of good news stories started coming out, and the hashtag is still going strong today.

It led to Rob appearing on television three times, conducting multiple radio interviews and even receiving a message from the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Kevin Armstrong – Paramedic, Stoke; Lisa Darby – Paramedic, Stoke; Tom Castle – Paramedic, Stoke; Simon Price – Operations Manager, Stoke.

To find one patient in cardiac arrest at a job must be an incredibly stressful station, so to turn up at a flat fire and find three patients not breathing, does not bare thinking about. But that it was happened to staff in Stoke when attending a flat fire, and to make the situation even more distressing, a small child and a baby were amongst the two patients. What followed was an incredible job from everyone at the scene, but also from EOC to make sure they got the required number of resources there as quickly as possible. Thanks to the professionalism of everyone involved, following emergency treatment at the scene, a ROSC was achieved on all three patients.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Rebecca Jones – Paramedic, Hollymoor; Louise Redding – Technician, Hollymoor; Aidan Brown – Paramedic, Erdington; James Williams – Operations Manager, Erdington; Dean Jenkins – Senior Operations Manager, Erdington; Danielle Byng – EOC, Brierley Hill; Jo Selman – EOC, Brierely Hill.

Shortly before Christmas, a hugely significant RTC in Birmingham City Centre led to multiple fatalities and numerous other patients having to be transported to hospital, some in a critical condition. Unsurprisingly, details are very sketchy in the early moments of calls of this nature and for the crews dispatched to the scene first, it was very difficult to picture what they were about to attend.

The first crew in attendance had no idea what a challenging scene they were to be faced with, but managed to complete a quick scene survey, noted seriously injured patients and gave a report back into control despite being under significant pressure. The information provided allowed EOC to escalate the response and attach numerous other ambulances and specialist resources to the case. At the scene, all staff involved, no matter of clinical grade or capability, did a fantastic job in attempting to preserve life along with making some difficult decisions regarding triage and treatment of severely Injured patients.

Outstanding Achievement:

Mark Hayes – Operations Manager, Lichfield

In a career spanning 22 years with the Trust, our Outstanding Achievement award winner has become a cult hero on television, undertaken endless amounts of charity work and become a very popular figure on the streets of Birmingham having worked there as a motorcycle paramedic for 16 years. Mark Hayes’ days on the motorbike not only saw him respond to calls within the confines of Birmingham City Centre on a daily basis, he also attended civic events, school road safety events and still to this day, attends Service Funerals as a motorcycle outrider. One of the biggest charity events Mark takes part in is Bike4Life in Shropshire, an event that this year alone raised more than £70,000 for Midlands Air Ambulance. He also supports Jumbo UK – an organisation that takes disabled children out for the day, with the mode of transport being trikes or motorbikes with sidecars. Mark now spends his days responding on four wheels as he has been successful in securing the position of Operations Manager at Lichfield. This has provided him with a whole new set of challenges, but despite that, he has managed to continue his charity fund-raising as well as giving educational talks to the public wherever possible.

The Peter Murtagh Inspirational Award:

James Williams – Operations Manager, Erdington

James Williams is someone who has a vast array of qualities, possibly the best of which is that of being a team player – something which will become very evident throughout the next couple of minutes. An experienced Operations Manager, James is always available to provide valuable experience, expertise and insight to colleagues and staff. He leads by example and maintains high standards in whatever he is required to do. He boasts excellent communication skills and is always approachable and honest. As and when required, he has acted up to Assistant Operations Manager level, something which has enabled him to demonstrate his leadership and management skills.

His skills and leadership qualities were never demonstrated better than at the tragic RTC in Birmingham just before Christmas. Managers who attended the scene reported how he controlled a very difficult set of circumstances professionally and ensured patients were being prioritised and treated appropriately.


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