Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 20th April 2021 – 9.10am.

Six West Midlands Ambulance Service staff from Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin have been honoured for their work over the last year (2020-21) with certificates from the outgoing High Sheriff of Shropshire, Mrs Dean Harris. 

The High Sheriff is a role that dates back to 943AD and was originally created to collect the King’s debts, maintain law and order and oversee public hangings!

Today the role is ceremonial, including supporting good works in the county and organisations including the emergency services. 

Mrs Harris, who served from April 2020 to March 2021, has now instigated three awards each for staff at Donnington and Shrewsbury Ambulance Hubs: Mentor of the Year, Student of the Year; and Outstanding Contribution Award. 

Unfortunately, the first presentations had to take place virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Mrs Harris, said: “We all know it’s been an incredibly challenging year, but even aside from the complications of a pandemic, West Midlands Ambulance Service does a fantastic job.  I’d like to congratulate the winners on their awards success, and I am delighted that there will now be an annual event supported by future High Sheriffs in Shropshire.” 

Donnington Hub

Outstanding Contribution – Chris Phillips

Chris has worked tirelessly during the year as a Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officer. The past year has seen immense pressure placed on the NHS as it responded to the global pandemic. Chris has gone above and beyond in supporting both crews and hospital staff to keep patients safe. He is passionate for patient safety and always tries to do the right thing to support staff.

Mentor of the Year – Steve O’Boyle

Steve has used his past experiences working on the Mental Health car to produce and deliver a training package for staff to help them feel more confident in dealing with a range of complex mental health issues. He has also worked hard behind the scenes to help integrate a more digital way of working into the Clinical Team Mentor team as well as the wider staff group.

Student of the Year – Katie Putwain

Katie has been consistently recognised as a very strong student paramedic from the outset. Like many others she has risen to the challenge of the global pandemic and taken on the role of Ambulance Care Assistant while the Trust responded to the pressures the NHS is under. Numerous staff have remarked that she is always a pleasure to work with.

Shrewsbury Hub

Outstanding Contribution – Heather Coghlan

Heather is a VPO (Vehicle Preparation Operative) and is responsible for ensuring the ambulances are stocked, cleaned and made ready for each crew. This is a vital role that ensures crew are able to spend more time providing clinical care, safe in the knowledge that their ambulance is fully kitted. Since the pandemic started, Heather has been extremely flexible in changing her shifts at short notice, coming in for additional hours to help support the team and has taken on extra responsibilities. Without Heathers commitment, flexibility and hard work the Hub would not have achieved so much whilst dealing with a pandemic.

Mentor of the Year – Tom Hillidge

Tom is an extremely competent clinical team mentor, who excels at nurturing new staff and ensuring they are competent and confident in their role. He will take time to use the training facilities to educate and guide younger staff, often giving up his break time to do so. He is always happy to go the extra mile in assisting staff and has organised trauma days for clinical staff to attend to improve their clinical professional development. These days have had a high take up and colleagues have benefited from the work Tom has put in running scenario’s. Not only that, Tom organised all of these events in his own time and we are proud he is part of the team.

Student of the Year – Joe Edwards

Joe was in his 3rd year at university when the pandemic struck. As part of the Trust’s organisational plans to deal with the pandemic, all students were asked if they would be willing to work for WMAS as ambulance care assistants to ensure there were as many resources as possible to treat patients. Joe joined Shrewsbury in March 2020 and has become an integral part of the team. From being a student with no clinical responsibility to becoming part of an ambulance crew must have been nerve racking yet Joe faced his fears and has done extremely well. He has been able to consolidate his knowledge and improve his clinical and communication skills, and at such a young age (21), he should be very proud of his achievements and can look forward to a great career ahead of him.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “I am delighted that the High Sheriff has instigated these annual awards, recognising the work of our staff.  As Mrs Harris says, the last year has been one like no other.

“As you can see from the citations, each of these six staff have worked tirelessly to make a difference, all contributing in their own way to saving lives and providing excellent patient care to the people of Shropshire in their hour of need.

“I cannot thank Mrs Harris enough for setting these awards up as an annual event, something which will be warmly welcomed by all of our staff in the County.”


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