Long Service and Excellence Awards

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Friday 21st March 2013 – 3pm – Chris Kowalik.

Staff of West Midlands Ambulance Service, volunteers and members of the public have been honoured at a ceremony in Staffordshire for their help in saving lives.

Chief Officer Commendations were awarded at the Long Service and Excellence Awards, sponsored by Zoll UK Ltd. at the Best Western PLUS Stoke-on-Trent Moat House on Thursday 20th March during which members of ambulance service staff received awards for long service and good conduct and retirement certificates.

This year, more than fifty operational members of staff became eligible for their 20 year Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. The combined years of service of all those eligible for 20, 25 and 30 year Long Service Awards totalled more than 2,700 years.

Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said: “Being the best takes an awful lot of hard work, determination, commitment and professionalism and I am really proud and grateful for all of your work that all of our staff and our volunteers put in every day to continue to improve our organisation. Every day in the West Midlands we respond to nearly 3,000 emergency calls and thousands of non-emergency patient journeys, doing a fantastic job in every corner of the West Midlands regardless of the weather, regardless of the pressures that confront our staff, doing a great job often in very difficult circumstances.”

Sir Graham Meldrum, Chairman of West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “What we’re talking about in this celebration here today is all about the quality of the service given by members of the ambulance service; the kindness they bring to the profession.”

Ian Dudson CBE, the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire who made presentations on behalf of the Queen, said: “It has been a privilege to present the long service medals and awards. Thank you to all of you for the services you have contributed. It has also been particularly special for me to hear stories of contributions from the public and volunteers. Can I, on behalf of everybody in this county, thank all of you who work in this service for what you do. You provide an absolutely essential service to all of us in the world of patient care and safety. We are eternally grateful. And I know I speak for my peer Lord Lieutenants in the other five counties.”


Chief Officer Commendation:

Shirley Walker – member of the public from Perry Barr, Birmingham

Shirley Walker was a front seat passenger in a car travelling through central Birmingham when it was involved in a collision with a pedestrian. The collision resulted in the pedestrian actually going through the windscreen and ending up head-first into the car itself.  Even though Shirley was in severe shock, she bravely managed to hold the pedestrian’s airway open for the length of time it took the medical crews to arrive. The selfless actions demonstrated by Shirley in the most traumatic of situations almost certainly gave the patient a fighting chance of survival and assisted arriving medical teams in the treatment of the patient.

Chief Officer Commendation:

Phoebe Darton – patient from Coventry, her brothers William and John Darton

In April last year Phoebe was playing in her back garden when she became entangled in the rope of a swing. The alarm was raised by her brothers William and John who alerted their mother to the unfolding emergency. They dialled 999 and stayed on the telephone until help arrived. They then directed ambulance crews straight to Phoebe.  The crews immediately carried out resuscitation and rapidly transferred Phoebe to hospital. Pheobe has made an excellent recovery and attended the ceremony with her two brothers, parents Bruce and Kate and members of the emergency team who went to her assistance.

Chief Officer Commendation:

Amber, Chelsey and Cory Cook – members of the public from Wilnecote, Tamworth

Ambulance crews are always grateful to bystanders and members of the public who alert and assist them at the scene of 999 calls. Three children made it their business to alert the ambulance service by calling 999 to report the sudden collapse of their father. They spoke to the Emergency Operations Centre and stayed on the phone explaining the situation until help arrived.  They then operated the security door of the apartment block to provide access to ambulance staff so they could treat the patient who was suffering serious breathing problems. Mr Cooke was treated by ambulance staff before being taken to hospital where he has since made a good recovery and was able to attend the ceremony.  Amber, Chelsey and Cory Cook received the Chief Officer Commendation for their excellent work.

Chief Officer Commendation:

Mandy Tuckley, Community First Responder from Henley-in-Arden

In April last year, CFR volunteer Mandy Tuckley was enjoying a family meal at a pub near Walsall when she heard a commotion after a woman called out that someone had stopped breathing.  Mandy immediately went to investigate and found someone holding a young girl who was unresponsive.  With an ambulance already on its way, Mandy followed her training and found that the young girl had gone all floppy and then stopped breathing.  She began immediate treatment and quickly saw the patient start to breathe on her own again.  The two-year old was found to have glandular fever with a very high temperature. Thankfully, the child went onto make a full recovery.  Mandy was awarded a Chief Officer Commendation for her quick response at the scene.

Chief Officer Commendation:

Chris Harte, Hazardous Area Response Team Operative (regional)

Being sent to a serious road accident is always a stressful business. But coming across an incident with no prior knowledge will certainly increase those stress levels.  Such was the case in Oldbury when a crew and rapid response car happened to come across an incident at the same time. The crews had no time to get mentally adjusted for what they were about to deal with. Sadly it was a serious accident and the crews immediately went into action to recover two elderly patients from a car and start resuscitation and advanced life support before more crews arrived on scene. For his actions in what was an extremely difficult situation, the Chief Officer presented a commendation to Chris Harte. His colleagues were unable to attend the ceremony.

Chief Officer Commendation:

Kate Owen, Paramedic based in Hereford

Mark Bellerby, Emergency Medical Technician based in Hereford

On one of the hottest days of the year last August, an ambulance crew and a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle were sent to an incident near Hereford railway station. Crews arrived to find a man had fallen under a train and was suffering from serious multiple injuries. Temperatures were reaching the mid 30s as the team climbed down onto the track and began treating the man who was still partially underneath the train. Despite the man’s extensive injuries the crew managed to use all their skill and expertise to stabilise him before carrying him to a place of safety.  Kate and Mark were awarded Chief Officer Commendations for treating a seriously injured patient in a confined space during extreme temperatures in a dangerous environment.

Chief Officer Commendation:

Graham O’Neill, Paramedic based in Birmingham

Paul Shorto, Technician based in Birmingham

Graham O’Neill and Paul Shorto from Birmingham both demonstrated exceptional bravery and presence of mind when they entered a smoke filled room to locate the patient.  Not only did this crew remove the patient to safety and treat him for his injuries, they also managed to ensure the fire was extinguished in his property, thereby helping to protect and safeguard the fire risk to other residents. For their commendable actions, Graham O’Neill and Paul Shorto were presented with a Chief Officer Commendation.

Chief Officer Commendation:

Adam Joynes, WMAS Clinical Team Mentor based at Bromsgrove

Last year, Adam Joynes was sent to the M5 Motorway in Worcestershire following reports that a woman was threatening to jump from a motorway bridge. With no police negotiator on scene at the time of his arrival, Adam decided to strike up a conversation with the woman. So successful was his repartee that a senior police officer suggested he continue his conversation.  Eventually Adam persuaded the woman to climb back over the bridge parapet to a place of safety. This exceptional and skilful act demonstrated by Adam prevented a patient suffering serious or life-threatening injuries by jumping from a motorway bridge. He was awarded a Chief Officer Commendation for his professionalism and negotiation skills.

Chief Officer Commendation:

Chris Salt, Paramedic based in Birmingham (Hollymoor)

Chris Salt was part of an ambulance crew called to a building site in Smethwick last month. The crew arrived to find a workman buried up to his neck in a collapsed trench. The crew could only see his face above ground and immediately dug out enough soil to provide an oxygen supply to the patient and allow him to expand his chest. The danger of a further collapse of the trench, which was 20 feet deep together with an unstable brick wall above them meant they were operating in the most dangerous of locations. Work continued to save the man for almost three hours before the patient was eventually rescued and taken to hospital. For their brave response in treating a patient in the most difficult of situations, the crew were awarded Chief Officer Commendations. Chris’ crew colleague was unable to attend the ceremony.

Chief Officer Commendation:

Wayne Carrier, Advanced Emergency Medical Technician based in Worcestershire.

In February this year the ambulance crew of Wayne Carrier and his colleague who was unable to attend the awards ceremony were responding to what they thought was a routine call to a woman in labour. When the crew arrived they were confronted by a patient on all fours in breech labour with the leg of the new born presenting. In a frantic attempt to get help, Alex was told by a midwife: “Don’t touch her, just get her into hospital!”  With the birth imminent, the patient living in a block of flats and the lift too small for a stretcher, the only option was delivery. With amazing skill, Wayne and his colleague delivered a healthy baby with mum also doing well. Even the arriving community midwives, who had themselves never delivered a breech birth, were full of praise for the crew.

Outstanding Achievement Award:

Marvis Hancock – member of the public from Biddulph

Marvis Hancock is responsible for supporting and implementing AEDs in nine locations in the Biddulph area of Staffordshire. All the machines are available for use by the local community. Not only has Marvis taken the time to locate the machines in premises around the area, she has also had a hand in training the community to use them. Marvis received an Outstanding Achievement Award for her exceptional work in the community.

Outstanding Achievement Award:

Jon Cobb – Advanced Paramedic based in Stourbridge

Jon Cobb was recognised for his outstanding community work, specifically the development of school education packs, something he has progressed with colleagues in West Midlands Fire Service. Jon has also worked with the National Trust on safety projects and regularly attends schools and fetes in his own time to spread the word. Jon is well respected in his local community for his significant achievements in that area.

Outstanding Achievement Award:

Ray Edensor – Paramedic from Stafford

The ‘running paramedic’ as he is known locally has been fundraising for charities in Staffordshire and elsewhere for many years. Thousands of pounds have been raised in support of good causes. Ray’s efforts have earned him many accolades including one of the few holders of the Queen’s Ambulance Medal which he received at Buckingham Palace last year.

Outstanding Achievement Award:

National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) “Operation Amber 2”:

Nicola Harrington, NARU Exercise & Events Manager

David Levesley, Hazardous Area Response Team leader

Sid Murphy, NARU Instructor

Dave Bull, NARY Head of Training & Education

Carl Ledbury, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Manager, West Midlands Ambulance Service

Martin Minard, Logistics Manager, West Midlands Ambulance Service

Operation Amber 2 took place in Staffordshire in May last year with the aim of demonstrating joint emergency working procedures in the event of a large scale incident. If such an event were ever to take place, UK ambulance services would integrate quickly in response to the treatment of mass casualties. The team members deserve the highest recognition for their part in organising Operation Amber 2 and making it one of the largest and most significant ambulance-led exercises ever held in the UK.  The long hours and detailed planning were rewarded with high praise and described by a government official as ‘showing inter-operability at its best’


Outstanding Achievement Award – NHS 111:

Matt Ward, Clinical Deployment Lead – 111

Phil Smith, Project Manager – 111

Liz Parker, Call Centre Manager

West Midlands Ambulance Service was asked to step-in and provide a NHS 111 call centre service for the majority of the West Midlands after the withdrawal of the previous provider. The team worked exceptionally hard, often above and beyond the scope of their normal duties to get the service back on track before the official takeover in November. They took charge of the facility and helped transform it into an extremely successful patient centred service currently meeting all its targets.


Outstanding Achievement Award – Recruitment:

Louise Harris, Recruitment/HR Advisor

Rachel Bishop, Recruitment Advisor

Jennifer Zandbeek, Learning & Development Manager

Victoria Bird, Recruitment Administrator

With recruitment into the Trust at its highest level for many years, the recruitment team at West Midlands Ambulance Service has been working flat-out over the past twelve months.  They placed 250 adverts during the year and dealt with over 11,500 applications, all requiring a thorough review against each job. That compared with over two years ago when 112 adverts gave rise to 3,500 applications. This illustrates the sharp increase in numbers of people interested in working for the Trust.

West Midlands Ambulance Service Partnership Award – Lucas2 Trial with Warwick Medical School:

Emma Harris, Audit Assistant, West Midlands Ambulance Service

Prof. Mathew Cooke, Warwick Medical School.

Around 60,000 patients suffer a cardiac arrest in communities across the UK each year and resuscitation is attempted by the emergency services to approximately half of these patients.

The NHS spends approximately £320million a year treating cardiac arrest victims. Despite this significant investment, at present only 1 in 20 people survive hospital and is able to go home after a cardiac arrest.

The PARAMEDIC LUCAS TRIAL looked at the use of a new mechanical chest compression device (called LUCAS-2) to improve survival rates and other patient outcomes in victims of cardiac arrest. The PARAMEDIC trial was a collaboration between the Universities of Warwick, Coventry, Leeds, Southampton and Surrey and the North East, South Central, Welsh and West Midlands Ambulance Services. The West Midlands Ambulance Service Partnership Award was presented to the University of Warwick Medical School. Those involved in the Lucas trial from West Midlands Ambulance Service were recognised for their valuable contribution to the project.


Note to Editors: A cardiac arrest is not a “heart attack” and should not be referred to as such.

Hear coverage from BBC Hereford & Worcester here:

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