Assistant Chief honoured with Queen’s Ambulance Medal

Jamie Arrowsmith – Wednesday 30th December 2020 – 10.30pm.

An Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer from West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has been named in this year’s New Year’s Honour’s List.

Keith Prior, who is a National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) Director, has a career spanning 39-years in the ambulance service and he has been awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal (QAM) to reflect his dedication and distinguished service to his profession.

The QAM ensures that the dedication of ambulance staff has the same level of Royal recognition as other members of the emergency services.

Starting out as an ambulance service cadet in Greater Manchester aged 16, Keith has devoted his career to improving patient care and saving countless lives as a paramedic and in managerial roles. As well as working in Manchester, he has also worked for Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service, joining WMAS full time in 2011, having already had two pervious spells in the West Midlands.

In his role at NARU, Keith has made a significant contribution to UK national resilience by ensuring the effective ambulance response to major, mass-casualty events including London terror attacks, severe flooding and the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership, NARU is now recognised as a world-class central resource for the national management and co-ordination of the pre-hospital mass casualty response to particularly high-risk and challenging event.

Keith, who spends a large amount of his time working away from home, is popular with staff, demonstrates loyalty and compassion to those he works with and also supports many local community projects outside of work.

Speaking about his award, Keith said: “I am extremely honoured to receive this award for what is ultimately, doing a job that I love. Throughout my 39-year career within the ambulance service I have worked with some fantastic people and I fully recognise that I would not be in this position without a great deal of hard work and support from colleagues, wherever I have worked.

“I am proud to have helped so many people since I started off as a cadet aged 16 and feel privileged to have been able to continue doing so in the years that have followed.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family for their continued support, without which, I would not have been able to enjoy the fantastic career that I have.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “I have known Keith for 20 years and he deserves huge credit for the commitment he has always shown to providing and delivering the very best level of patient care.

“For him to receive the QAM is a fitting tribute to his many years of hard work in many different areas of the ambulance service and I would like to thank him for his dedication and tremendous service he has provided to patients all over the country.”


Serious RTC in Hereford

Claire Brown – Tuesday 29th December 2020 – 10.10am.

A man has been taken to a major trauma centre following a multi vehicle collision in Hereford this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to Church Road near Kenchester Water Gardens in Lyde, Hereford at 6.14am earlier today (Tuesday). Three ambulances, a paramedic officer, a critical care paramedic and a Mercia Accident Rescue Service (MARS) BASICS doctor were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Crews arrived to find a collision involving several cars and a lorry. The occupant of one car, a man, was in a serious condition and required extrication with help from the fire service. Ambulance crews found he had sustained serious injuries and worked as a team to administer trauma care to the man before he was conveyed, on blue lights and sirens, to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. The critical care paramedic travelled in the ambulance to continue treatment en route.

“A driver and passenger from a second car, both men, were out of the vehicle when ambulance staff arrived. The driver was given treatment on scene for injuries not believed to be serious before being taken to Hereford Hospital for further checks. The passenger declined assessment and was discharged on scene.”


The women working the NHS frontline

Shaunna Farley. Tuesday 22nd December. 13:25pm.

This year has been unlike any other, and it has been a particularly significant year for the NHS.

Two female members of staff have been featured in national magazines, telling all about their experiences working the NHS frontline this year.

Charlotte Stubbs, Paramedic from Dudley has been featured in an article for Stylist, a UK Health and Lifestyle magazine, the article focusses on some of the women of the NHS who will be working this Christmas Day.

While many of us tuck into turkey, many NHS staff like Lottie will be working over the festive period as unfortunately, emergency calls don’t wait until after Christmas.

When asked what working Christmas Day was like, Lottie answered: “I’ve worked most Christmas Days from the age of 17. This year I will be working across Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and the 27th of December. I’ve never minded working on Christmas Day, though, as all the patients we meet are usually so jolly and everyone is in really high spirits!”

Karina Graham, Paramedic from Hollymoor is featured in Harpers Bazaar and talks about her experiences working on the frontline throughout the pandemic.

Karina said: “Through all the difficulties Covid-19 has brought the NHS, my colleagues, whatever their role, have stood side by side supporting each other and ultimately the health system itself. I am proud of what we’ve achieved.”

You can find the full Stylist article featuring Lottie here: and you can find the Harper’s Bazaar article featuring Karina here



Shaunna Farley. Monday 21st December. 9:15am.

A man has sadly died following a collision with a car yesterday near Alcester.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called at 5:23pm to reports that a pedestrian had been involved in a collision with a car on Church Lane in Cookhill.

Two ambulances and a paramedic officer attended the scene. A GP, who came across the incident, was also on scene and stopped to provide assistance.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “When crews arrived, it was clear that the pedestrian, a man, was in a critical condition. Sadly, despite the best efforts, nothing could be done to save the man and he was confirmed dead at the scene.”


Serious RTC in Ludlow

Claire Brown – Wednesday 16th December 2020 – 9.15am.

An RTC last night left a car on its roof and saw ambulance staff provide treatment to two men in Ludlow.

The incident happened in Sheet Road, Ludlow at 10.23pm (Tuesday). Two ambulances, a paramedic officer, a BASICS emergency doctor and a MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic attended.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “When ambulance staff arrived, they found a car on it’s roof in a hedge. The passenger, a man, had managed to self-extricate from the vehicle and was assessed but found to have suffered no apparent injuries but was conveyed to Hereford County hospital for further checks.

“The driver, a man, was trapped and had sustained serious injuries. Ambulance staff and fire colleagues worked together to carefully extricate him from the vehicle and onto the ambulance where the team administered trauma care to stabilise his injuries. The man was then taken on blue lights to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham; the MERIT team travelled in the ambulance to continue treatment en route.”


Cyclist dies after RTC with van

Jordan Eggington – Monday 14th December 2020 – 3.40pm

A man has sadly died after coming into collision with a van whilst on his bike in Herefordshire this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called at 10:25am to the collision at Coppice House in the Tedstone Delamere area. We sent the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham and two land ambulances to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “When crews arrived, they found the cyclist in a critical condition with bystander CPR already in progress.

“Crews continued to administer basic life support to the patient, but sadly despite the best efforts of the bystander and crews, nothing could be done to save the man and he was confirmed dead at the scene.”


Two fatally injured in single vehicle RTC

Jordan Eggington – Monday 14th December 2020 – 8.25am.

A man and woman have sadly died after the car they were travelling in came into collision with a wall at the weekend.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called at 1:44am yesterday (Sunday) to reports of a single vehicle RTC on Warwick Road in Solihull. Four ambulances, three paramedic officers, the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance Critical Care car and the MERIT trauma team attended the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “When crews arrived, it was clear the two rear passengers of the vehicle, a man and woman, were in a critical condition.

“The Air Ambulance Critical Care team attended to the woman, whilst the critical care doctor and paramedic from the MERIT team treated the man. Both were given advanced trauma care on scene, but sadly despite the best efforts, nothing could be done to save them, and they were both confirmed dead at the scene.

“The other two occupants of the car, both men, were treated by ambulance crews for serious injuries and they were taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on blue lights and sirens for further treatment.”


Study into heart attacks could save hundreds of lives

Murray MacGregor – Monday 14th December 2020 – 6.00am.

A study that is looking to see if more heart attacks can be identified and earlier could lead to hundreds of lives being saved across not just the UK, but around the world.

The research being carried out by West Midlands Ambulance Service and two other ambulance services is being funded by the British Heart Foundation and will try to establish the best way to diagnose people having a heart attack.

In the UK there are nearly 200,000 hospital visits each year due to heart attacks: the equivalent of one every three minutes. In the 1960s more than 7 out of 10 heart attacks in the UK were fatal, however, advances in treatment mean that today at least 7 out of 10 people survive.

A heart attack, which is different to a cardiac arrest, happens when there is a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of your heart muscle. Heart attack symptoms vary from one person to another. The most common signs are pain or discomfort in the chest. But other symptoms can include pain in the arm, neck, and jaw, or feelings of sickness, light-headedness or shortness of breath.

Now, frontline ambulance crews from West Midlands, South Western and the Welsh Ambulance Services will work with researchers at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, Swansea University and the University of Leeds to identify if there are additional times when ambulance crews should perform an ECG (electrocardiogram) test.

Currently a pre-hospital ECG is performed on patients complaining of acute chest pain.  The device measures electrical activity in the heart through a series of wires attached to the patient’s chest.

Research Paramedic Josh Miller, said: “Data already shows that in about a third of cases, when a patient is having a heart attack, they haven’t had an ECG done by the ambulance crew because the patient didn’t show any of the classic signs – chest pain or pain in the arm, neck, and jaw, or feelings of sickness, light-headedness or shortness of breath.

“Earlier studies show that this is more common in older people and particularly women.  Because of this, the study will look to see if there are other atypical signs that ambulance staff should be looking out for. 

“This is important because if an ECG was done on these patients they would get the specialist treatment they need more quickly, which might result in the crew bypassing the local hospital and going straight to a specialist centre, which means more patients will survive.

“In this study we will be looking back at the medical records where we know the patient had had a heart attack to look at whether an ECG was done by the ambulance crew, and if not, if there is an indication as to why they didn’t do one.

“We will also hold focus groups with paramedics to understand better their decision making processes on whether to do an ECG.”

As for what the outcome of the study might be, Josh says, there will be no immediate changes for ambulance crews but the study could lead to significant developments worldwide: “We might need to change our advice to ambulance staff as to when they choose to do an ECG so that they do an ECG more often and therefore pick up more heart attacks. 

“The second area that might change is around ambulance workforce provision; currently, not all ambulance services in the world have a paramedic on every ambulance, as is the case in the West Midlands.  By having a paramedic on board would mean that there is someone who is trained to interpret an ECG which would allow them to identify if there is a heart attack ongoing which would lead to the patient getting taken straight to a specialist centre.”

Josh says, when you talk to patients who have had heart attacks, many were absolutely stunned that that is what was happening.  Pam Smith from South Staffordshire had been moving bales of hay just before she dialled 999 thinking she had bad indigestion.

Naresh Sabharwall from Stourbridge says he had a bit of a headache but had no pain.  Thankfully, he got help from a local shopkeeper after he suffered a massive heart attack that ended up in him going into cardiac arrest.

It’s not just members of the public who don’t recognise they are having a heart attack.  Retired GP, Dr Richard Johnson from North Worcestershire didn’t realise until he saw the ECG that the ambulance crew carried out on him.  He ended up being blue lighted straight to theatre for emergency surgery.

Tom Quinn, Professor of Cardiovascular Nursing who is leading the project, added: “Ambulance staff play a crucial role in early assessment of patients with a suspected heart attack.  Previous research has shown that people receiving the test were more likely to survive. 

“There could be a variety of reasons why around a third of heart attack patients don’t get an ECG from ambulance crews; for example, we know that women and older people are less likely to receive one, perhaps because of cultural issues, not wanting to overplay the seriousness of the situation or because some heart attack patients do not report ‘classic chest pain’ type symptoms.

“By looking at nationwide data on the treatment of heart attacks and by speaking to ambulance crews working on the frontline we hope to develop a clearer picture of when these ECGs should be used.  We can use this knowledge to empower ambulance crews, help them make the most effective decisions and ultimately save more lives.”

Lee Kettle, from the British Heart Foundation, said: “This research really could lead to hundreds of lives being saved.  We see this as a chance to empower ambulance staff so that they have the data and research which will give them the confidence to carry out more ECGs and therefore identify more heart attacks.”

Please note that the videos were filmed prior to COVID-19 pandemic


Haulage Company Honours Key Workers

Shaunna Farley. Thursday 10th December. 12pm.

A family-run business in the Black Country is honouring key workers of the region, by naming their new fleet of lorries after them.

The logistics industry kept the country moving during this year’s unexpected challenges, alongside the NHS, which is why BJS Haulage in Wednesbury has chosen to make this generous gesture.

Eight individuals who have been recognised for their hard work this year, including two from West Midlands Ambulance Service and the Intensive Critical Care Team from Royal Wolverhampton Hospital have been honoured.

Mark Barratt, Clinical Team Mentor based at Sandwell Hub is one of them; Senior Operations Manager, Rich Barratt, said: “Mark is known for his exceptional dedication and mentorship style towards students. His colleagues also recognised how he goes the extra mile to support them during times of personal need, as well as while on shifts.”

A second lorry will be named after the late John Mallinson who was a Call Assessor based at Navigation Point who sadly passed away in September.

John joined the Trust as a 111 call handler in March this year. Tragically, John fell ill in September shortly after completing his dual training. He was rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery, but his condition deteriorated and he died aged just 31 years old.

Head of 111, Rob Till, said; “Staff in the 111 call centre were unanimous in wanting to put John’s name forward for this honour. Despite his short time with us he undoubtedly touched the lives of so many people with his caring nature and desire to help. His family live locally so they can look out for his name on the lorry. I think that is a very fitting tribute to someone who came to help the NHS in our hour of need.”


Man dies in Tamworth RTC

Claire Brown – Tuesday 8th December 2020 – 11.50am.

One man has sadly died, and three other people have received treatment following a road traffic collision in Tamworth this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service received several calls reporting a collision involving a stationary car and a van on the westbound carriageway of the A5 near Tamworth at 8.54am (Tuesday). Three ambulances, three paramedic officers, the Midlands Air Ambulance from Tatenhill and The Air Ambulance Service critical care car with a BASICS doctor and critical care paramedic on board attended the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “The first ambulance crew arrived to find the driver of a car, a man, in a critical condition being cared for by a private ambulance crew. The two crews worked together to administer basic life support to the man before being joined by other WMAS colleagues. Sadly, despite the best efforts of everyone on scene, nothing could be done to save the man and he was confirmed dead on scene.  

“The passenger of the car, a woman, was trapped and required assistance from the fire service to extricate her. The woman had sustained injuries not believed to be serious and, once released, was given treatment on scene before being conveyed to Heartlands Hospital.

“The driver and two passengers from the van, a man and two teenage boys, were described as walking wounded and were taken to Good Hope Hospital for further checks.”


Three injured after two car crash

Murray MacGregor – Monday 7th December 2020 – 10.45am.

Three people have been taken to hospital, one by air after a serious crash on Saturday afternoon.

The collision happened close to the junction of the A46 Evesham bypass and The Link at around 2.20pm.

An ambulance that was taking a patient to hospital came across the incident and stopped to provide care until a further two ambulances, a paramedic officer, the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham arrived at the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, crews found two cars that had suffered significant damage. The drivers of both cars were trapped in their vehicles.

“The driver of the first car was trapped for almost an hour.  He had suffered multiple injuries.  After assessment and treatment at the scene, he was airlifted to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with potentially serious injuries.

“There were two people in the second car.  The driver was trapped for around 40 minutes.  He too was assessed and treated at the scene.  He was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with potentially serious injuries.  A critical care paramedic travelled with the ambulance crew.

“The front seat passenger in the car, a woman, had been able to get out of the vehicle herself.  She had suffered less serious injuries and was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital by ambulance.”


Fatal crash in Coventry

Murray MacGregor – Monday 7th December 2020 – 8.40am.

An elderly woman has died after a collision between a car and a lorry.

The crash happened on London Road in the Willenhall area of Coventry at around 2.45pm on Sunday afternoon.

Two ambulances, two paramedic officers and The Air Ambulance Service Critical Care Car attended the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The Critical Care Car arrived very quickly from its base at Coventry Airport.  On arrival, they found a car that had suffered significant damage.

“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the medics and ambulance staff, nothing could be done to save the woman, who was the front seat passenger, and she was confirmed dead at the scene.

“The driver of the car was able to get out of the vehicle himself.  He was assessed and found to be unhurt and was discharged at scene.”


PTS Mohammed is Birmingham Ladder Apprentice of the Year

Claire Brown – Friday 4th December 2020 – 9.00am.

A member of staff from the Trust’s Patient Transport Services has been named Birmingham’s Apprentice of the year.

Mohammed Islam, who works as part of the Trust’s High Dependency team based at Gravelly not only won the Health, Education and Care category at last Friday’s  Awards virtual ceremony, but also went on to be named Birmingham Apprentice of the Year.

The Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards is hosted by Birmingham Live in partnership with the Ladder for Great Birmingham and celebrates apprentices working in different sectors as well as employers and training and education providers. This is the second year of the awards and is the second year in a row that a member of staff from the Trust has scooped the top prize after Kevin Naylor was named the top apprentice in 2019.

Mohammed joined West Midlands Ambulance Service in 2018 as Patient Carer and expressed his interest in undertaking the Advanced Apprenticeship in Healthcare support services. Despite the pandemic, Mohammed  has not only completed his diploma in Healthcare support services as well as additional qualifications in Maths and English, he has also been supporting the Trust’s response to COVID-19 by working on the high dependency team transporting patients to and from hospital requiring more specific care. 

Talking about his awards, Mohammed said: “I am honoured to have been awarded the Apprentice of the Year and Health Education and Care awards. I did not expect to win, given the high level of competition on the night. I could not have won the award without the support of family, my managers and my course tutor. I am very grateful to everyone who has taken the time to nominate me.

I am very pleased to have achieved my awards.”

Carla Beechey, the Trust’s Head of Human Resources, said: “Very many congratulations to Mohammed on his fantastic achievement and to all those that have supported his learning during his apprenticeship.”