Are you really fine?

Tuesday 14th May 2019 – 3.50pm – Murray MacGregor.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the average adult will say “I’m fine” 14 times this week, Mental Health Awareness Week, yet less than 20% will actually mean it!

It’s been known for some time that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.  In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.

Over recent years, we have been working hard to improve the support we provide to our staff.  Given the types of cases that they deal with, we need to be sure that we get better at making sure their mental wellbeing really is ‘fine’.

Director of Workforce, Kim Nurse, said: “We have 24-hour support through their management team, our Staff Advice and Liaison Service (SALS) and the Trust is employing two psychotherapists who will provide dedicated help for staff.  We also procure specialist support from an external counselling service The Listening Centre who can support staff with a variety of help.

“With a workforce of over 5,000, we want to be certain that we have a range of support in place to assist our staff stay mentally well in addition to their physical health.   We know that some of the cases that our staff deal with are extremely difficult, so we want to do as much as we can to support their wellbeing.

“Another important development for the Trust is our training of hundreds of staff in Mental Health First Aid courses.  These courses teach our staff to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support.  The training teaches people to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and potentially reach out to someone before a crisis happens.  Feedback has been really positive, and all courses have been fully attended with a waiting list for staff wanting to be included in the future.

“As a Trust we have moved forward significantly, but recognise that we need to keep moving forward so that we can continue to support our staff so that they can support the public when they need us most.”


One airlifted after RTC

Monday 13th May 2019 – 1.55pm – Murray MacGregor.

One person has been airlifted and another treated after a two vehicle crash that saw two cars leave the dual carriageway and go down an embankment into some trees.

The incident happened this morning at about 9.45am on the A46 between Harvington and Salford Priors in Warwickshire.

Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “One arrival, ambulance staff found two cars, one of which was seriously damaged.

“The driver of the first car had suffered serious injuries.  Ambulance staff worked with firefighters to extricate her.  She was assessed and treated on the scene before being airlifted to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

“The middle-aged man driving the other vehicle, was able to get out of the car himself.  After assessment at the scene, he was taken to Warwick Hospital for continued care.


HMED 09 at sunset

Rider dies after crash in Velo

Monday 13th May 2019 – 8.45am – Murray MacGregor.

A cyclist participating in Vélo Birmingham & Midlands has died after coming off his bike.

It happened at about 7.45am on Coleshill Road, Atherstone, which was at around the 23 mile mark, happened on is a rural location with a steep downhill section with tight left and right bends.

An event medic was first on scene and immediately requested ambulance back up.  An ambulance and the Derbyshire Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance were sent.

A West Midlands Air Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The middle aged man suffered serious injuries.

“He received advanced life support before being airlifted to the major trauma centre at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire but sadly died later.

“A second patient who was present at the scene was treated by event medical staff.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has any information is asked to call Warwickshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 84 of 12th May.



Wall collapse in Birmingham

Thursday 9th May 2019 – 7.45am – Murray MacGregor.

One man has died and two others have been assessed by ambulance staff after a wall collapsed at a property in the Hockley area of Birmngham.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Vittoria Street at 5.40pm on Wednesday evening.

Two ambulances, two paramedic officers, the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford and the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff were faced with the aftermath of a wall collapse.

“Tragically, one man was confirmed dead at the scene.

“A second man was assessed and treated by ambulance staff before being taken to Sandwell Hospital.  A third was assessed and discharged at the scene.

“Ambulance staff worked closely with police and fire crews at the scene.”


Wall Collapse - Vittoria Street





Motorcyclist fatally injured

Wednesday 8th May 2019 – 5.30pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.

A man has died following a collision between two cars and a motorbike this afternoon.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Shrewsbury Road in Preston Gubbals, Shrewsbury at 1.14pm and sent three ambulances, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance crew from Cosford in a rapid response car to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, crews discovered the motorcyclist, a man, with very serious injuries following the collision.

“Ambulance staff performed CPR and administered advanced life support but sadly it became apparent nothing could be done to save the man and he was confirmed dead at the scene.

“Following assessment at the scene, a man from one of the cars was taken to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as a precaution.

“A man and a woman who were travelling in the second car were discharged at the scene.”


Woman seriously injured in rollover RTC

Wednesday 8th May 2019 – 3.45pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.

A woman has been taken to hospital in a serious condition following a two-car collision this afternoon.

A total of three patients were assessed, including a second woman and a toddler, both of whom also required transporting to hospital after they received treatment at the scene.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Wolverhampton Road in Oldbury at 1.47pm and sent three ambulances, two paramedic officers, the Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team, the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car, a BASICS doctor from MARS (Mercia Accident Rescue Service) and the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Crews arrived to find two cars that had suffered significant damage in the collision.

“From the first car, a woman had to be cut free with the help of the fire service. She was treated for very serious injuries by ambulance staff before being taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital by land ambulance in a critical condition. A MARS doctor travelled on the back of the ambulance to continue treatment on route.

“A female toddler had been freed from the car by bystanders prior to the arrival of ambulance resources. She was assessed and treated for injuries not believed to be life-threatening before being taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital by land ambulance.

“The fire service had to cut a second woman free from the other car involved in the incident, which had overturned.

“She received treatment for potentially serious injuries before also being taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital by land ambulance. Again, a doctor travelled with her on her journey to help continue treatment.”


Shooting in Wolverhampton

Monday 7th May 2019 – 8.35am – Murray MacGregor.

Ambulance staff and a doctor treated a teenager who was shot in Wolverhampton last night (Monday 6th May).

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Graiseley Street in the Pennfields area at 7.49pm to reports of an assault.

An ambulance was on scene within five minutes and was backed up by two paramedic officers and the MERIT Trauma Doctor and Critical Care Paramedic.

The teenager was treated at the scene before being taken on blue lights to hospital; the doctor travelled with the crew.


ASO in mirror reflection

Trust takes part in trial that could help thousands of patients

Tuesday 7th May 2019 – 6.00am – Murray MacGregor.

Paramedics in the West Midlands are taking part in a clinical trial that could result in thousands fewer patients with heart complaints being taken to hospital; instead being treated at home.

The study, titled PRESTO (the Pre-hospital Evaluation of Sensitive Troponin), is part of the NHS’ ambition to find new ways of delivering healthcare more efficiently without the need for hospital treatment.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is working with three other ambulance services in the trial which is led by the University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Consultant Paramedic, Matt Ward, said: “Chest pain is the second most common reason why people call 999.  However, it doesn’t always mean the patient is having a heart attack; the symptoms are often similar for non-cardiac conditions.

“What this trial is aiming to do is to allow paramedics to carry out a test at scene which would allow them to know which are which.  If the research is positive it could result in ambulance staff being able to provide reassurance much sooner to patients with chest pain while also reducing the number of patients ambulance crews take to A&E departments.”

The trial will be run in Coventry & Warwickshire; the Trust will work with Warwick Hospital and University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire.

For patients willing to take part, they will continue to get exactly the same treatment as they do now except for the paramedic taking a small vial of blood at the scene.  In total, it is hoped 100 patients will take part locally; 700 nationally.

Researchers have already developed a system called the ‘Troponin-only Manchester Acute Coronary Syndromes (T-MACS) decision aid’ to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions from A&E and enable earlier specialist treatment to those that need it.  Over a third of all patients having the test do not need to be admitted to hospital.  The PRESTO study is now assessing whether this decision aid is suitable for use before patients are taken to hospital.

WMAS Research Paramedic, Imogen Gunson, added: “If the trial is successful it could be possible to provide all ambulances with a portable blood testing device which would allow ambulance staff to run these important tests without patients having to be taken to the hospital.

“The impact would be huge; clinicians would be able to make more informed decisions about the best patient care with more in-depth tests at the patient’s side at scene.  As well as providing those patients with non-cardiac related chest pain with reassurance, it would mean those that are having acute coronary problems would receive treatment more quickly resulting in better treatment and potentially saving lives.”

The study is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network: Greater Manchester and receiving in kind support from Abbott Point of Care, LumiraDx and Roche Diagnostics International Ltd.Hospital - UHCW 6


It’s not smart; it’s certainly not clever; in fact it can put lives at risk

Thursday 2nd May 2019 – 8.00am – Murray MacGregor.

Bosses at West Midlands Ambulance Service are warning that lives could be at risk if people continue to make hoax calls to the service.

New data shows that over the last five years, there have been almost 5,500 malicious call outs.

This has not only wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayer cash, it could have put lives at risk because it delayed answering calls to and responding to patient who are critically ill or injured.

Year Number of Hoax Calls
2014-15 1,171
2015-16 1,283
2016-17 905
2017-18 990
2018-19 1,088
Total 5,437

Jeremy Brown, who is charge of the regions two ambulance emergency operations centres said: “At a time when we are busier than ever, the fact that some people think it is appropriate to deliberately make 999 calls when there is no need is despicable.

“Given we now regularly receive around 4,000 emergency calls each day, the fact that the numbers have remained largely at the same level shows the tremendous dedication of my staff who challenge calls and ensure resources are not sent to a good proportion of these hoax calls.

“With a Bank Holiday ahead and children off school, we would urge parents and guardians to be mindful that quite a lot of hoax calls do come from youngsters.

“Over the years we have seen all sorts of calls: we’ve had people calling about patients not breathing, serious road traffic collisions, patients committing suicide and claims patients are about to die.  Understandably, these can be distressing for my call handlers, but when we then send vital resources on blue lights to these cases only to find that there is no-one there, you can imagine what we think.

“Not only has it tied up a call handler dealing with the call, it means those ambulances have had to drive on blue lights through often busy streets putting other drivers at risk, only to find that there was no need.  Worse, it means they weren’t here for patients who were genuinely in need of that response.  It is appalling.

“We have seen a number of people charged and convicted where they have maliciously abused the 999 call system and we will not hesitate to push for prosecutions again, if that is appropriate.

“Considering we now receive well over a million calls a year, thankfully the number of these which are hoaxes is still very low, but even one is one too many.  We would ask everyone to help us reduce these numbers further so that we can provide the best possible service to the people who need us most.”


call assessors TG 2018