Trust celebrates Long Service and Excellence at annual Awards Ceremony

Wednesday 3rd April 2019 – 5.45pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.

An afternoon of celebration that included tales of heroism and incredible bravery was enjoyed at West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Long Service and Excellence Awards last week.

The Trust’s annual ceremony, sponsored by University of Wolverhampton, OH Vehicle Conversions, University of Worcester, Coventry University, Staffordshire University, Prometheus Medical Ltd, Mills and Reeve, Zoll Medical and G4S took place at the Copthorne Hotel in Brierley Hill on Thursday, 28th March and saw a range of awards handed out including Long Service Medals and Chief Officer Commendations.

This year, 21 operational members of staff collected 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 OD.

In addition, 17 staff were commended for 25 years’ service; 12 received certificates for 30 years’ service and two members of staff were honoured for 35 years in the Trust.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “We are the only ambulance service to constantly hit all of our targets and we have the highest rating possible from the Care Quality Commission – that is all down to the hard work of our staff, many of whom we had the chance to say thank you to at our Long Service and Excellence Awards.

“I fully recognise the important role that all 5,000 staff play within the service, they all do a fantastic job and I am really proud of them all.

“We heard many fantastic stories of staff going above and beyond what is expected of them throughout the course of the afternoon, and it is that determination, which is reflected throughout the workforce, that helps to make West Midlands Ambulance Service the best ambulance service in the country, and for that I thank each and every one 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: “It is fantastic to have the chance to pay tribute and honour people who have dedicated their lives to the ambulance service.

“Those who have given so much of their lives to serving other people, and those who have often put themselves in danger in order to help others or performed heroic acts deserve every bit of thanks they get for ensuring we, as an ambulance service, continue to provide the very best level of patient care possible.”


Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Ian Yates – Operations Manager, Stoke

A 999 call received in the early hours of Thursday 30th August sparked great concern when the patient said he was sitting on a railway bridge, feeling suicidal. Ian Yates was first on scene and immediately started to engage in conversation with the man who was insistent he was going to jump. Despite not being trained for situations of this nature, Ian managed to keep the situation calm and continued to talk to the man for another half an hour. Thankfully, Ian was then able to convince the man to move to a position of safety before he agreed to go on to the ambulance and be transported to hospital.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Rodney Scantlebury, Trainee Technician, Sandwell

Whilst his crew mate was waiting to hand over a patient at City Hospital in June, Rodney Scantlebury was asked if he could help assess an unwell woman who was in a taxi outside A and E. The unwell patient turned out to be in active labour with the baby’s head having already started to deliver. Understandably, mum was in distress and the fact she did not speak English obviously made the situation more complex. Remaining calm, Rodney managed to successfully and safely deliver the little boy and with more help having arrived, was able to get baby wrapped up quickly whilst maintaining mum’s dignity. However, that was not the end of the drama.

It very quickly became apparent that the baby was failing to take its first breath. Again, maintaining complete composure, Rodney delivered five rescue breaths, at which point the baby began breathing independently and let out a very welcome cry to announce his arrival to the world.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Dominic Sharland – Student Paramedic, Worcester University

For Student Paramedic Dominic Sharland, a regular day at his grandparent’s house in October took an unexpected turn when his grandfather suddenly lost consciousness. Obviously distressed by a family member falling ill, Dom managed to put his emotions to one side as he checked for breathing and a pulse. Upon not being able to find either, he dialled 999 and started chest compressions. He continued those compressions as the ambulance crew arrived and was able to give a full handover of events, despite the awful situation he found himself in. As well as providing emergency care for his grandad, Dom also reassured his grandma and other family members throughout. Dom continued to assist all the way to hospital and once again gave a clinical handover to the resus team on arrival at Hereford County, playing a huge part in saving his grandad’s life.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Tina Ray – Emergency Operations Centre, Brierley Hill

During a career spanning nearly 19-years, Incident Command Desk Supervisor Tina Ray has seen, and dealt with her fair share of dramatic days whilst working in the Emergency Operations Centre. Tina’s knowledge, skill, experience and leadership were put to the test on 22nd December last year when in one shift, she managed a stabbing, a collision between a car and a motorbike that resulted in major trauma, another road traffic collision involving three cars racing that collided with a pedestrian – sadly involving a fatality, a machete attack, a petrol bomb being thrown into a residential address and no less than four further entrapment RTCS. Many of these incidents happened at the same time. Tina simultaneously took the lead in EOC on these incidents, deploying on-scene operational and tactical commanders, co-ordinating ambulance, medic and HART responses, escalating each of the incidents to appropriate management and communications managers, all while acting as the key communications link for each of these incidents.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Kevin Naylor – Patient Transport Service, Frankley; Gavin Taylor – Patient Transport Service, Frankley; Jason Wiles – Lead Paramedic, Brierley Hill

Patient Transport Service crew Kevin Naylor and Gavin Taylor were en-route to pick up their next patient when they noticed a lady was standing on the wrong side of bridge railings, looking down at the dual carriageway traffic below.

Fearing she was preparing to jump, Kevin and Gavin quickly turned around and began approaching the lady. Mindful of not startling her, they kept their distance, talking to her from afar, trying to reassure her, but there was no response.

Lead Paramedic for Emergency Care, Jason Wiles also happened to be passing the scene and noticing something amiss, stopped to offer his assistance. The trio moved closer to the lady but she was still refusing to speak and alarmingly, started to lean forward. At that point Kevin and Jason managed to grab her arms and body and could lean far enough over the bridge to be able to pull her back to safety. This truly was a heart stopping moment for all concerned, but thanks to their bravery, the lady was brought to safety and transported to hospital.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

Daniel Knight – Paramedic, Hollymoor; Thomas Coffey – Student Paramedic, Hollymoor

Daniel Knight and Thomas Coffey were the first emergency service staff on scene at a severe house fire in Birmingham last month. Upon their arrival they were met by one patient, who had managed to get out, but were told there was a second patient still inside. The property was filled with smoke at this stage, but Daniel and Thomas did not let that stop them performing a snatch rescue of the patient, who was unable to mobilise because of his injuries. Both patients then received treatment from ambulance staff before being transported to hospital.

Chief Officer’s Commendation:

John Fryer – Paramedic, Worcester; Lorraine McHugh – Paramedic, Worcester; Michelle Adams – Paramedic, Worcester; Anna Borecka – Paramedic, Worcester; Milind Karday – Emergency Operations Centre, Stafford; Portia Harris – Emergency Operations Centre, Stafford

A cardiac arrest call was received to a property in Droitwich in November, to which two crews responded. Naturally a call of this nature will always be a stressful and dramatic situation – but this particular incident stretched things just a little bit further. John Fryer, Lorraine McHugh, Michelle Adams and Anna Borecka arrived on scene and found bystander CPR taking place with the excellent help of call takers Portia Harris and Milind Karday explaining exactly what to do. John, Lorraine, Michelle and Anna took over CPR and also administered advanced life support, securing a ROSC. However, the patient went on to arrest an incredible five times in total. Treatment continued all the way to hospital and such was the nature of the job, the crews checked upon the patient again on their next visit to A&E. It perhaps will not come as a surprise that the patient was not given a great chance of survival and was placed in a coma, but miraculously, after three days he defied the odds, came out of his come, was sitting up in bed a few hours later and went on to make a full recovery.

The Peter Murtagh Inspirational Award:

Rob Till – Senior Operations Manager, Shrewsbury and Donnington

This year’s winner of the Peter Murtagh Award took over as Senior Operations Manager in Shrewsbury and Donnington during a huge transitional period for the area, and has helped it grow and develop at a rapid rate. Staff describe moral as the best it has been in years, sickness rates are falling and within Shropshire they have achieved the highest per centage of Staff Survey returns and Flu Vaccination results – a really positive outcome on all counts. So much of that success is as a result of the improved staff engagement that our winner has helped to achieve, thanks mainly to the hard work and commitment he displays.

Our winner always finds time to talk to staff, is fully aware of how important engagement is with his team and is available to offer support when needed.  Finally, whilst holding a huge focus on his staff and combining that with the needs of the Trust, our award recipient never loses sight of the most important aspect of the ambulance service, patient care.


Notes to Editors:

Pictured: 20-Year Long Service Medal recipient Gemma Morris with Vice Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Dr Beverley Lindsay OBE, and WMAS Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Marsh.

Photographs of the above are available for download from

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