Cyclist seriously hurt

Murray MacGregor – Wednesday 21st September 2022 – 8.30am.

A cyclist has suffered multiple injuries after a collision with a car.

It happened at just after 4.00pm on Tuesday afternoon at the junction of Dunstall Road and Huntingtree Road in the Hayley Green area of Halesowen.

Two ambulances were sent to the scene and were backed up by a paramedic officer and MERIT Trauma Doctor and critical care paramedic.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, crews found a middle aged man who had suffered serious injuries.

“The rear window of the car was smashed.

“The man received advanced trauma care at the scene before he was taken on blue lights to the Major Trauma Centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, where medic were on standby to receive him.”

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It was the greatest honour of my life

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 20th September 2022 – 11.30am.

Like so many people across our nation, staff from West Midlands Ambulance Service bowed their heads at 11.55am yesterday morning to remember Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Staff at Bromsgrove, Dudley and Shrewsbury were among those who marked the moment.

For four though, it was a particularly special day as they represented the NHS ambulance services taking part in the parade ahead of Her Majesty’s coffin as it was taken from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Gate as part of the Civilian Services Contingent.

Mark Hayes (Lichfield), Jo Withington (Shrewsbury), Nikki Albutt (HQ) and Adam Aston (Sandwell) are all members of the Trust’s Ceremonial Unit and spent five days in London in preparation practicing their ceremonial drill in the middle of the night before taking their place as part of the State Funeral yesterday.

In addition to the four in the parade, Operations Manager Angela Hand (Bromsgrove) and Tactical Incident Commander Tim Atherton (HQ) were part of the large contingent of ambulance staff from across the country assisting London Ambulance Service given the millions of people who were in the capital for the funeral.

Angela and Tim centre with Nick and Kerry from London Ambulance Service

Earlier in the week, two members of the Hazardous Area Response Team, Ben Pallante and Anthony Kelham also went to London as part of the mutual aid being provided to the capital’s ambulance service.

Speaking about his time in the parade, Adam Aston, said: “It has been an incredible honour to represent the entire NHS Ambulance workforce as part of the at the State funeral.”

Jo Withington added: “I have been to the Festival of Remembrance before and am a Reservist as well, but these last few days and yesterday in particular, are without question, the greatest honour of my life.”

Mark Hayes said: “It was an absolute honour and privilege to represent not only WMAS but the NHS and pay our resects to Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II.  I know I speak for all four of us when I say we did the absolute best we could to provide a truly British send off to Her Royal Highness.”

Nikki Albutt added: “It was a phenomenal experience, so spectacular, yet so sombre; it is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.  We practiced for up to eight hours a day for six days, but nothing will beat the memories we all have.”

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New dad has bike stolen while saving lives

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 30th August 2022 – 4.50pm.

A student paramedic who has just become a father for the third time has had the bike that he gets to work on, and which holds great sentimental value, stolen from Stoke Ambulance Hub.

The thieves entered the Hub, broke the lock on the bike and then rode off as an ambulance left the hub.

The incident happened at around 4.50pm on Bank Holiday Monday as Liam Ticehurst was out responding to patients on an emergency ambulance.

Looking at the CCTV, the thieves had clearly planned the theft as they went straight for the bike, a Merida Reacto 5000, which has an Ultegra group set, disk breaks and Fulcrum wheels with 25mm tyres and is worth around £2,500.

Senior Operations Manager, Nic Gunn, said: “The thieves were clearly targeting the bike as they went straight to it.  They were spotted by a member of staff who gave chase, but they cycled down Forge Lane, down onto the canal and were last seen near the Royal Mail depot.  They were wearing hoodies and had surgical masks on to cover their identity.

“I’d appeal for anyone who was driving in the area at the time and might have dash cam footage that would be useful to please contact Staffordshire Police.

“It does beggar belief that someone would stoop so low.  Stoke Hub is clearly an ambulance station, and everyone knows what our staff do and how hard they work to try and save lives, yet these people repay that hard work by stealing Liam’s bike.  It couldn’t have come at a worse time for him and his partner too.”

Liam added: “I use the bike to ride in from Leek for each shift to save a bit of cash given the rising cost of living and the arrival of my new baby daughter, who was born at the end of July. 

“The bike also holds real sentimental value to me as I bought it from money left to me by my grandmother, who passed away suddenly a couple of years ago.  As a keen cyclist, I think my nan would have liked the idea of me getting the bike and especially how I was using it to get to work.  It really is devastating that both the bike and the link to my nan have gone.”

Anyone with any information about the whereabouts of the bike or knows who might have been involved in its theft is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101 stating Log 540 of the 29thAugust.  The bike serial number is WC8201099R.

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What an amazing 11 days!

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 9th August 2022 – 12.10pm.

And with one final roar from Birmingham’s Raging Bull, it was all over, but what an amazing 11 days it has been.

A spectacular closing ceremony at the Alexander Stadium brought the curtain down on Birmingham 2022, the 22nd Commonwealth Games.  It was the biggest ever with around 1.5 million spectators, getting to see some spectacular sport.

For West Midlands Ambulance Service, it was the biggest sporting event that we have ever had to provide medical cover for, working with the medical teams put in place by the Organising Committee. 

In total, we scheduled over 23,000 hours of ambulance time including 1,766 shifts made up of 770 on ambulances and 226 commander shifts. They were supported by 160 shifts in our control room, 60 vehicle preparation operative shifts preparing up to 60 ambulances and 27 cars each day and 40 shifts in the National Ambulance Resilience Unit.

For the ambulance service, we were only called on to help 166 patients of which just 83 were taken to hospital.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “This has been a hugely successful event that has placed Birmingham and the wider West Midlands in the spotlight for all of the right reasons.  My congratulations to the Organising Committee for putting on such a well run event.

“I want to pay tribute to the hundreds of staff who gave up their time off with their families to come and work during the Games.  You have done an amazing job helping to keep the huge crowds safe.

“I am immensely proud of everything you have done to show what a wonderful city Birmingham is and indeed the wider West Midlands and what it has to offer. 

“You have interacted with the public and the Games family on a daily basis and shown what a fantastic career the ambulance service has to offer and for that I am immensely grateful.”

A gallery of pictures taken by staff at the Games can be found at https://wmas.nhs.uk/birmingham-2022/

Head of Emergency Planning and Commonwealth Games Lead for the Trust, James Williams, added: “What an incredible couple of weeks it’s been for the region. I want to say a huge ‘thank you’, to everyone in the Trust who has been involved for making the Games as successful as it has been.  It’s been wonderful to see the whole Trust getting behind the event and helping colleagues out wherever they can.

“It’s been a real morale booster for staff, not just the crews out at venues but all the backroom staff as well.  Can I also say thank you to the planning team – we started this journey as soon as Birmingham was awarded the Games in December 2017 and that really stepped up a gear in early 2021.  It has been quite a journey but so worth it.  All that effort has delivered a magnificent event, one which we can all be proud of.”

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RTC on Birmingham New Road

Murray MacGregor – Monday 8th August 2022 – 10.35am.

Four men have been taken to hospital after a two car crash on Birmingham New Road in the Ettingshall area of Wolverhampton.

It happened at about 9.00pm on Sunday night at the junction of Crabtree Close.

Three ambulances, two paramedic officers and a Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found two cars, one of which was badly damaged with debris spread over a wide area.

“There were five men in the car that was badly damaged. Four of them were treated by ambulance crews at the scene, with two taken to Walsall Manor Hospital and two to Sandwell.  The fifth travelled with one of the patients to Walsall.

“The driver of the other car had minor injuries but did not require hospital treatment.”

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Motorcyclist airlifted

A motorcyclist has been airlifted to a major trauma centre after a collision with a tractor.

The incident happened on Worcester Parkway, Pershore Road in Worcester, just to the south of the station at about 6.45pm on Sunday evening.

An ambulance, a paramedic officer, the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham and a Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found off duty colleagues already assisting the rider.

“The man had suffered significant injuries.  After being provided with considerable care at the scene, he was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham where medics were on standby to receive him.

“There were no other patients.”

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Emergency services come together

Murray MacGregor – Monday 8th August 2022 – 8.30am.

The eyes of the world will be on Birmingham for one more day as the Commonwealth Games comes to a close tonight.

While the focus has rightly been on the athletes and the fantastic crowds who have made this a most memorable event, it is only right to note the remarkable job that the organisers and the emergency services have made in order for the event to take place.

Early on Saturday morning, representatives of the police, fire and ambulance services came together to mark that work with a photo underneath the most iconic symbol of the Game.

The staff and vehicles were photographed in front of the ‘Raging Bull’, the 10m high sculpture that is drawing huge crowds to Centenary Square in Birmingham and which was such a memorable part of the opening ceremony.

WMAS Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “It seemed only right to bring the three services together in front of the symbol of the Games.

“The amount of planning and co-operation that has gone into making these games such a success cannot be underestimated.

“Together with the Organising Committee the three blue light services have ensured this has been one of the best Games ever.

“Everyone has done an amazing job and I hope all of the staff involved, who have come from every corner of our Region, have enjoyed the experience as much as the millions of fans and spectators around the world have.” 

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WMAS to step back from 111 contract

Murray MacGregor – Wednesday 20th July 2022 – 6.30pm.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is to hand back the 111 contract it provides for the majority of the West Midlands to commissioners.  The Trust has taken the difficult decision as the service develops nationally and becomes an even more important part of the NHS.

Part of this development will involve a move towards closer working between the NHS111 service across the East and West Midlands integrating the two areas into a single shared model, which mirrors the increasing collaboration across some other regions in England.

NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB), after a competitive process, have awarded the contract to DHU Healthcare, initially covering an 18-month period.  DHU already operate the East Midlands contract, are rated ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC and are a not for profit, social enterprise and community interest company.

West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “As the focus of our emergency and urgent service is based on the West Midlands only, and the move in 111 is to move to a regional basis, it makes sense to step back and allow a new 111 provider to take the service to the next level. 

“What is important is that patients will not see any change in the way they access NHS111 across the East and West Midlands.

“As a Trust we will also be able to concentrate on making the improvements necessary to improve our 999 service.  As such, we feel a new 111 provider will be able to embed the changes in telephony that are set to be introduced which will allow the 111 service to develop further.

Mr Mark Axcell, CEO Black Country ICB: “The 111 service is a hugely important part of the NHS and is constantly being developed and enhanced so that it can help more people.  We were notified by West Midlands Ambulance Service of their intention to step away from the current contract and we are now mobilising plans with a new provider DHU Healthcare to step into this contract. 

“We are confident that the new provider will be in place ahead of the winter period and that they will work with WMAS to ensure a smooth transition. Those using the NHS 111 service in the West Midlands will continue to be able to access the service as usual.” 

Stephen Bateman, Chief Executive at DHU comments: “Our 111 service has a well-deserved outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission, and we look forward to a close partnership with West Midlands Ambulance Service to transition this contract.  Our intention is to build on the exceptional service they have grown over the last three years, and to support the staff who join us.  We know they deliver compassionate, high-quality patient care and we welcome the knowledge, skills and experience they will bring to our DHU family.”

Mr Marsh added: “This change should not be seen as any reflection on our staff who continue to work incredibly hard to provide the highest quality patient care – our service is one of the highest performing in the country.  The team help thousands of people every day and they should all be immensely proud of what they have achieved.

“We understand this change will be an unsettling time for staff so we will be working with individuals and their representatives as further information becomes available about how DHU will run the contract.  We will work with them and Commissioners to minimise disruption for staff and patients alike.”

WMAS Integrated Emergency, Urgent Care and Performance Director, Jeremy Brown said: “Our 111 staff have played a hugely important role in the way the NHS responded to COVID over the last two years.

““The team answered around 2.5 million calls providing access to healthcare 24 hours a day.  I am enormously proud of the whole team and the way you have, without doubt, helped patients in all of our local communities.”

Notes to Editors

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A pin prick that could save a life

Murray MacGregor – Monday 11th July 2022 – 8.00am.

In the ambulance service, we know just how important blood can be.  Our staff deal with patients who have lost lots of it; our enhanced care teams carry it with them; and we often put calls into major trauma centres asking for blood to be ready for a patient we are taking in.

Last month NHS Blood & Transplant said that they needed one million new donors over the next five years, with a particular need for Black African, Black Caribbean and younger donors to come forward.

Well that’s exactly what staff in our control rooms did last week.  On Tuesday, NHS Blood and Transplant spent the day in Brierley Hill at one of our three call centres

The team were at Navigation Point to provide staff with an opportunity to discover what their blood type is by doing a finger prick test, as well having any questions answered about being a blood donor.  In total 43 staff registered as donors with 13 making an appointment to donate. 

The session was organised by Head of Human Resources, Lucy Mackcracken who is herself a regular donor: “For me giving blood was always something that I had been interested in doing but never really got round to.  I often put off finding out if I could give at certain times such as when pregnant or breastfeeding. 

“I think lots of people have similar questions about if they can give and what the exclusions are so an event like this was really useful to give people the facts.

“Once I had donated for the first time I found it a really easy process to use the NHS Blood and Transplant app to find and book the next appointment.” 

Head of 111 Operations, Rob Till, said: “I was delighted that so many staff were interested in donating blood and took the time out of their day to find out more information.

“When people think about ambulance staff, they often only think of the paramedics and technicians on the road, but the team in our control rooms – call takers, dispatchers and clinicians play a vital role in ensuring patients have access to blood at the scene of an incident or arrange for blood to be ready at a hospital; they also know just how important a pint of the red stuff can be for patients.

“Control room staff already regularly save lives over the phone through the likes of talking people through CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) and this is just another way that they can save lives.”

Trust Medical Director, Dr Alison Walker, who regularly responds to serious incidents as well as being an Emergency Medicine Consultant added: “I know at first hand the difference blood can make to my patients.

“If we don’t have enough blood, many operations can’t take place; people who live with conditions such as anaemia, cancer and blood disorders wouldn’t get the life saving treatment they need.  It’s why so many of our team do already give blood, like Lucy, Rob and I do.

“I’m delighted that so many staff within our control room took the opportunity to register as donors and I hope everyone will consider doing the same as it truly is a gift of life.”

What happens to a blood donation

Blood donation generally takes up to an hour and you will be doing something amazing. Once donated, blood is taken to NHSBT laboratories where it is divided into:

  • Platelets: Platelets help to stop bleeding and can be donated directly. Donors with A negative, A positive or AB negative blood are mostly needed. 69 per cent treat people with cancer, 17 per cent helps people after surgery, 8 per cent treat diseases, and 6 per cent help adults and babies in intensive care.
  • Red cells: two thirds are used to treat a vast range of conditions including sickle cell, anaemia, cancer and blood other disorders. One third is used in surgery and emergencies including childbirth.
  • Plasma: 17,000 people are treated with medicine made from plasma. Plasma can be used to stop blood loss in trauma patients and is also made into a medicine for people with weak immune systems. People can also donate plasma directly.

You can find out more about what it’s like to give blood for the first time at: https://www.blood.co.uk/the-donation-process/giving-blood-for-the-first-time/

For more information or to book an appointment to give blood, either download the app, go to www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

Pic 1: Mandy Jones Integrated Emergency and Urgent Care Tutor Mandy Jones gets a finger prick test from Priya from NHS Blood and Transplant.

Pic 2: Lucy Butler giving blood

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Kingstanding explosion update

Murray MacGregor – Monday 27th June 2022 – 9.25am.

One person has died following the explosion at a house in Kingstanding on Sunday evening.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to reports of an explosion at about 8.40pm on Sunday evening to Dulwich Road.

Three ambulances, five paramedic officers, the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic, West Midlands CARE team, and an emergency planner were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Members of the Hazardous Area Response Team worked with firefighters to search the damaged property and sadly discovered one person.

“There was nothing that could be done and the person was confirmed dead at the scene.”

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House explosion in Kingstanding

Murray MacGregor – Sunday 26th June 2022 – 11.30pm.

A man has suffered life threatening injuries after an explosion destroyed a house in the Kingstanding area of Birmingham.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to reports of an explosion at about 8.40pm on Sunday evening to Dulwich Road.

Three ambulances, five paramedic officers, the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic, West Midlands CARE team, and an emergency planner were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “One property has been completely destroyed with three others badly damaged. Cars have also been damaged.

“A man was helped from the property by people at the scene but had suffered very serious injuries.  After assessment and treatment at the scene, he was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with the MERIT team travelling with the ambulance.  His condition on arrival at hospital was described as life threatening.

“Four further men have been assessed by ambulance crews for minor conditions but have been discharged at the scene.

“Members of the Hazardous Area Response Team continue to work with specialist firefighters at the scene.”

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New volunteers recruited; but more needed across the West Midlands

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 24th May 2022 – 11.40am.

The number of volunteer Community First Responders in Highley, Shropshire is set to rise sharply after four members of the public applied for the role at an event in the village at the weekend.

A ‘come and learn’ day and information stand was part of Highley Community Day on Saturday.

The stand was staffed by CFRs from several schemes across Shropshire and Community Response Manager Cliff Medlicott. 

The stand was also visited by local MP Philip Dunne who congratulated the CFRs on their work in the community.

Cliff, said: “We are delighted that four people signed up to train as CFRs.  Community First Responders play such an important role, particularly in our rural communities.  Their ability to get to the most urgent calls (Category 1 and 2) very quickly and start providing treatment and reassurance undoubtedly saves lives.

“It was an excellent event which allowed members of the public to come and ask questions about the CFR scheme and also wider questions about the ambulance service.

“CFRs are everyday members of the public who volunteer and are trained in a number of assessments and basic lifesaving techniques including the use of a defibrillator, a device used to restart the heart of someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest. Their availability, close proximity and local knowledge of their area are among their many assets.”

Cliff added: “Volunteers come from all walks of life but must be aged 18 or over and have a full driving licence.  We provide all of the necessary training and equipment, so no previous experience is required.”

It’s not just in Shropshire that there are CFR vacancies currently open.  Head to www.jobs.nhs.uk and use the Job Reference below for the area that best suits you:

  • Staffordshire: 217-CFR10-22-23
  • Shropshire: 217-CFR12-22-23
  • Hereford & Worcester: 217-CFR11-22-23
  • Black Country: 217-CFR07-22-23
  • Birmingham: 217-CFR08-22-23
  • Arden: 217-CFR09-22-23

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Pic 1 L – R: Liz Vanegas (Cleobury Mortimer Co-ordinator); David Yates (CFR Bridgnorth); Rob Lambie (Rae Valley Co-ordinator); Cliff Medlicott, Philip Dunne MP

Pic 2 L- R: Russell Brookes (Newport Co-ordinator); David Yates (CFR Bridgnorth); Liz Vanegas (Cleobury Mortimer Co-ordinator); Rob Lambie (Rae Valley Co-ordinator); Cliff Medlicott

Alison receives prestigious medal from Royal College of Emergency Medicine

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 19th May 2022 – 2.00pm.

The Trust’s Medical Director has received a prestigious award from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) for her outstanding work over the last 17 years, but in particular during the pandemic. 

Dr Alison Walker was one of only four recipients given medals by RCEM President, Dr Katherine Henderson, at a ceremony that took place at Central Hall Westminster, this morning.

Dr Walker was awarded the medal for outstanding contribution to RCEM, following the vital link and support she provided between emergency medicine and the ambulance services.  Alison’s work in this area has helped build stronger mutual respect and communications.

RCEM Vice President, Dr Adrian Boyle, said: “Alison has always had a cool head during several pandemic related crises. Her calm and collaborative approach, combined with complete integrity is an inspiration to us all.” 

The citation which was read out said: “Alison Walker has been a vital link between emergency medicine and ambulance services for many many years. This support has been particularly important during the pandemic and has resulted in a much stronger relationship and partnership between those organisations.”

Dr Walker, added: “I am clearly very honoured to receive the medal.  I have been able to work with many people within the ambulance and emergency medicine sectors over the years and together we have been able to make some very important changes that are helping patients. 

“As well as my work with West Midlands Ambulance Service, I work as an ED Consultant myself and there is so much crossover between the two sectors that it is vital that we work together, so it is nice that all the hard work, that so many have put into this field, is being recognised.”

Note to Editors

Dr Walker is pictured with Dr Henderson from RCEM

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Fire in 16 storey block of flats

Murray MacGregor – Sunday 17th April 2022 – 12.22am.

Four people have been assessed by ambulance crews after a fire on the 15th storey of a 16 storey block of flats.

The fire broke out in Nauls Mill House on Middleeborough Road in Coventry at around 8.50pm on the evening of Saturday 16th April.

Four ambulances, four paramedic managers, the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), The Air Ambulance Critical Care Car and an emergency planning manager we’re sent to the scene.

A West Midlands AMbulance Service spokesman said: “Paramedics from the HART team have been working with firefighters inside the block of flats as residents have been evacuated.

“In total four patients were assessed and treated at the scene before being discharged with minor injuries.

“Although the fire is now out, ambulance staff continue to work with firefighters to ensure all residents are accounted for and there are no other casualties.”

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Man dies after two car collision

Murray MacGregor – Monday 14th March 2022 – 8.00am.

One man has died and two others have been injured after a collision between two cars.

It happened on the A4041 Queslett Road in Great Barr, beside the Asda Supermarket at around 3.40am on Sunday morning.

Two ambulances, two paramedic officers and the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found two cares with significant damage. 

“The driver of one of the cars, was initially trapped.  As he was being freed, he was complaining of a medical condition but had also suffered multiple injuries. 

“Sadly, his condition deteriorated rapidly and despite advanced life support being carried out, he was confirmed deceased at the scene.

“The two men in the other care were assessed by ambulance staff before being taken to Sandwell Hospital as a precaution; their injuries are not believed to be serious.”

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Crash on M6

Murray MacGregor – Monday 28th February 2022 – 10.55am.

One man has died after a crash on the M6 this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called at 7:13am to reports of a three vehicle RTC between junctions 4 and 3a.

Two ambulances, a paramedic officer, the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car and a BASICS Emergency Doctor were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival crews found a car, a van and a lorry had been in collision.  The driver of the car was the only person injured.

“The middle-aged man received advanced life support at the scene of the incident.  He was then taken on blue lights to University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire; the critical care paramedic from the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car travelled with the crew.

“Unfortunately, the man was confirmed dead shortly after arrival at A&E.”

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Serious RTC in Telford

Murray MacGregor – Monday 14th February 2022 – 8.00am.

One woman has died and a child has been taken to hospital in a critical condition after a two car crash on Saturday night in the Telford area.

The incident happened on the A518 New Trench Road at Lilleshall at around 6.20pm.

Five ambulances, five paramedic officers, the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car, the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care practitioner were dispatched along with the crew from the Midlands Air Ambulance at Cosford who responded in a car.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found a very serious collision between two vehicles with one having left the road.  Two bystanders, one an off duty paramedic, were providing basic life support to a toddler in one of the cars.

Two adults, a man and a woman, were also trapped in this car.

Sadly, the only occupant of the other car, a woman had suffered very serious injuries and despite best efforts, could not be saved and was confirmed dead at the scene.

The youngster was quickly extricated from the car and was taken on blue lights to Princess Royal Hospital where her condition was stabilised.  She was then transferred on blue lights, with the MERIT team travelling, to the paediatric major trauma centre at Birmingham Children’s Hospital where she arrived in a critical condition.

The man and woman from the car both suffered multiple injuries.  After being freed, they were taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Royal Stoke University Hospital – their conditions were not believed to be life threatening.

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Nan always comes to our rescue, be kind when she comes to yours

Murray MacGregor – Monday 7th February 2022 – 5:30pm.

Children of NHS staff across the Black Country and West Birmingham have made a plea to patients and relatives to treat healthcare professionals with respect.

The initiative sees photographs of the youngsters, asking anyone who uses NHS services to keep their relatives safe.

The children are dressed up in the uniforms of the professions of their parents or grandparents, including a nurse, paramedic, allied health professional, doctor, porter and receptionist.

It is hoped that seeing the children will bring home the message that there is a story and family behind the uniform of every single member of staff.

West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “It is simply not acceptable that staff, who are already doing an incredibly difficult job, should be subjected to this sort of abuse.

“Our ambulance crews and call centre staff should be able to do their job, helping people in their hour of need, without the constant fear of violence or aggression.

“Like all NHS staff, our crews and call handlers dedicate their lives to caring for patients and doing everything they can to help people, so it is both appalling and deeply distressing that they should end up being attacked or verbally abused by so many people.

“It is so important that everyone remembers that these staff are real people, with real lives, just the same as you and me – there is a life behind their uniform and they deserve our respect.”

Deborah’s story

Deborah Darley, 57, has been a paramedic for the West Midlands Ambulance Service for almost 19 years. Five years ago, she was assaulted by a patient whilst on a call out which resulted in her having a cast on her arm for more than six weeks.

She’s now passionate about raising awareness of the importance of protecting staff against abuse in the workplace, and her grandchildren, Meg (12) and Mollie (6), are pictured in one of the campaign posters.

Deborah said: “I become a paramedic just before I turned 38, so came into the profession a bit later than most people. I left school many years ago and so starting a new career at that age was a really big thing for me to do and I was really proud of myself.

“I absolutely love being a paramedic and feel so passionately about helping others. I’m not the type of person who gives up easily and I like a challenge, but I have been subject to abuse on the job and it does take its toll.

“Over the years I’ve been verbally assaulted, punched, pushed, bitten and spat at. However, in 2016 I was on a call out with a colleague and was seriously assaulted by the patient we were trying to help. This resulted in having my wrist in a cast for over six weeks ‒ I had soft tissue damage and it took months to fully recover.

“Being able to use your hands is a vital part of the job and the injury could have been career-ending for me. I worked extremely hard to get where I am and to face having to give up a career I loved was daunting.

“After the assault, the severity of the situation hit me like a tonne of bricks. My parents, my daughters and my grandchildren were all so worried about me going back to work and it created a ripple through the family. You hear about these types of things in the news but I never thought it would happen to me.

“To my grandchildren, I’m just their nan. They don’t understand why somebody would want to hurt me, especially when I’m just doing my job. My granddaughter Meg actually wrote about the incident for a piece of homework at school and won a literacy award.

“Once I got over the initial shock of the attack, I was pretty angry. I thought, I’m not there to be treated like that, I’m just trying to help people.

“Despite what happened I still love my job and if anything, it made me more determined to carry on. My thought process was, who is this person to stop me from doing my job that I’ve worked so hard to get.

“As a paramedic, you never know what you’re going to get when you go on a call out. In the current climate, I know people have a lot going on and tolerance levels are a lot lower, which is something I always take on board. But ultimately, we’re just there to help people and do our job.

“I always say to people, remove the uniform and boots, and I’m just human like you, with parents, children and grandchildren. I’m there to do my best and if you hurt me, I can’t help you.

“That being said, I’ve met some fantastic people over the years and it’s been an absolute privilege to help them. If someone has called for an ambulance and needs emergency assistance, the situation isn’t going to be nice, but I honestly feel so lucky to be in a position to support people in their time of need. For me, that’s priceless and you wouldn’t get that in another job.

“I feel so passionate about the safety of NHS staff and felt this campaign was a positive way to highlight this. The sad reality is that many of my colleagues have been assaulted whilst at work and it’s just not acceptable. If it can happen to me as a grandmother, it can happen to anyone, and it has to stop.”

Busiest New Year’s Eve ever for WMAS

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 4th January 2022 – 2.20pm.

After one of the busiest Christmas periods ever, there was no let up for West Midlands Ambulance Service with our busiest ever New Year’s Eve.

The whole 12-hour period was busy.  The Trust took 1,281 calls from 6.00pm to midnight.  The previous busiest year for this period was 2017-18 when the Trust took 1,066 calls

After midnight, the Trust took 1,721 calls, which was the busiest since 2007-08 when it took 1,570 calls

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “I would once again pay tribute to the astonishing efforts of our staff who continue to work so incredibly hard.  Thousands of our staff were working while much of the UK was celebrating the start of a new year.

“Again, the staff in our control rooms were particularly busy.  They are the front door to our service and play a vital role in triaging the calls that come in.

“Given what an important role they play, it is disappointing that so many of them reported being abused over the phone by callers.  All they are trying to do is find out as much detail about the patient as possible; it doesn’t delay the arrival of an ambulance – it just means the crew are better prepared for the situation they respond to.

“As we move into what is traditionally, the busiest period the year for the NHS, it is more important than ever that we all play our part in using the health service responsibly. 

“I would ask everyone to consider using 111 online in the first instance unless it is a life-threatening emergency.  We will continue to prioritise patients so that we get to those in most need first.

“I would also urge everyone who has not yet had their booster jab to get it as soon as possible.  Doing so is the best way of avoiding catching corona virus, and by doing so, you will be reducing the pressures on the NHS.” 

ENDS

Your ambulance service needs you

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 4th January 2022 – 12.05pm.

At a time when the country is seeing higher rates of COVID-19 infections than at any time during the pandemic, West Midlands Ambulance Service is putting in place additional measures to ensure we can continue to get to those most in need of help quickly and save as many lives as possible.

Although the Trust has been able to recruit hundreds of additional staff in both our control rooms and on our ambulances using funding provided by NHS England in the summer, we want to go further still.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “We are once again, looking for any staff who retired within the last two years or are working in the private sector for the likes of events medical companies who would like to come back into the NHS family to get in touch. 

“We are particularly looking for people who worked on an ambulance or in one of our control rooms to contact us.  We have already had former members of staff get in touch who went on a career break offering to come back, which we welcome.

“Over the last couple of years, we know that several staff have retired from our service after giving many years of outstanding care to the public.

“We would like those colleagues to consider returning to WMAS so that we can increase the quality and amount of care that we can provide the public in these challenging times.”

Paramedic Rich Jones was one of those who answered a similar call in March 2020.  He said: “I saw the situation that the country faced then and with Omicron as it is, we all need to do our part to help the country.  When I came back, I realised how much I had missed it.  If you’ve ever worked for the ambulance service, you know how much your work means to patients.

“Coming back in this way means you can fit the shifts in around your ‘new’ life.  I do it part time because it fits around my other roles.  In fact, it works so well that I’ve stayed working part time ever since and would urge others who are in a similar position to give it a go too.”

Mr Marsh added: “Across our country, we see the incredible efforts that so many people are going to, to help others, such as the ‘army’ of people vaccinating and ‘boosting’ Britain.  There is no question that getting vaccinated and your booster is the best way we can tackle the Omicron variant.

“For those who have retired, I know how much the time you spent with us meant to you; many of you have told me that when we have spoken.  I wouldn’t ask you to re-join if I didn’t think it was the right thing for the public of the West Midlands and our patients.”

For those interested in re-joining the Service, please email Recruitment Manager Louise Jones at louise.jones@wmas.nhs.uk in the first instance, letting her know your previous role.

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Sharp rise in 999 call numbers

Murray MacGregor – Wednesday 29th December 2021 – 1.00pm.

It was a busy weekend for the hard-working staff at West Midlands Ambulance Service with a sharp rise in the number of 999 calls compared to previous years.

Over the five days from the 24th to the 28th of December, the Trust took no fewer than 22,826 emergency calls.  This compares tot 19,467 for the same dates in 2019 and is equivalent to a 17.3% increase.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “I would like to thank the many thousands of staff who worked over the Christmas period while most people were enjoying time with their family and friends.

“It is not just the staff on the road who worked so hard; I want to particularly note the work of the staff in our control rooms.  These staff are at the forefront of everything that we do, finding out where we are required but also what is wrong with the patient so that our ambulance crews know what they are going into.

“The task at hand for our call handlers and dispatchers is often just as difficult as that experienced by our road staff; they all work exceptionally hard.

“I also want to thank the staff who support these staff, be it the vehicle preparation operatives who clean, fuel and restock the ambulances; the fleet mechanics who make sure we always have ambulances available but also the managers who look after the staff – it is a real team effort.”

If you fancy the challenge of joining such a fantastic team, we are currently recruiting to a wide range of job roles.  You can find full details at www.jobs.nhs.uk – positions include:

Student Paramedics                    Ref no: 217-VN323-21-22

Call Assessor Brierley Hill            Ref no: 217-VN345-21-22

Call Assessor Stafford                  Ref no: 217-VN346-21-22

Fleet Mechanic Stafford               Ref no: 217-VN328-21-22

Fleet Mechanic Willenhall            Ref no: 217-VN329-21-22

Fleet Mechanic Sandwell             Ref no: 217-VN330-21-22

VPO Worcester                             Ref no: 217-VN359-21-22

VPO Regional Reserve list            Ref no: 217-VN358-21-22

The public can assist the ambulance service by using 111 online for urgent advice and only calling 999 in life threatening cases.  Also, please do not call back to see where the ambulance is or if there is an ETA – only call back if the patient’s condition has worsened or you no longer need an ambulance.

Note to Editors

We have compared the data to 2019 as in 2020, much of the West Midlands was in some form of lockdown and therefore the data may not be comparable

ENDS

Trust welcomes introduction of ‘Harper’s Law’

Murray MacGregor – Wednesday 24th November 2021 – 9.55am.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is welcoming the Government’s announcement that it intends to introduce Harper’s Law, which will see the introduction of mandatory life sentences for those who kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “Our ambulance crews go above and beyond every single day, often in very difficult circumstances, but the appalling reality is that on average, at least one member of our staff is physical assaulted every single day and last year, two were stabbed. 

“All too often our staff are left feeling let down by the justice system when people convicted of assaulting them receive disappointingly light sentences, so anything that provides our staff with more protection can only be a good thing.

“It is imperative that the wider judiciary be more consistent in applying tougher sentences to perpetrators who are convicted of any form of violence, aggression or abuse towards our staff, not just those that result in a death.

“Violence and aggression towards anyone is unacceptable, but emergency services workers need particular additional protection due to the nature of their work on the frontline” 

Thanks to funding from NHS England, the Trust started rolling out the use of body worn cameras for all frontline staff in October.  The cameras do not record all of the time but are switched on when staff become concerned for their safety.

The Trust is also undertaking a three-month trial to examine the viability of providing stab proof vests to staff.  The trial is taking place at Willenhall Hub with 22 volunteers taking part.

Willenhall-based paramedic Deena Evans was one of those stabbed last year and is taking part in the trial.  She said: “It’s a shame it’s come to this, but I couldn’t be more relieved!  I feel less anxious about working frontline shifts wearing it.” 

Note to Editors

The change in law extends mandatory life sentences to anyone who commits the manslaughter of an emergency worker on duty unless there are truly exceptional circumstances. Courts must already impose life sentences for murder.  The change in law follows the tireless campaigning of PC Andrew Harper’s family.  PC Harper, died in 2019 while investigating a robbery.  The Government says it hopes the change to the law will be made as soon as possible.

Each volunteer taking part in the stab vest trial will complete a questionnaire at the end of the period trial and the results will be evaluated and presented to the Trust Board. 

Ends

WMAS to receive £5½ million in additional funding

Murray MacGregor – Wednesday 14th July 2021 – 11.30am.

NHS England has announced an additional £55-million of funding for the ambulance sector to boost staff numbers ahead of winter.

In the West Midlands, that equates to £5,686,000 of extra funding, and comes at a time when the service has never been busier. 

On Monday this week, the Trust received 6,406 emergency calls in a day – that is 600 more than the previous record set last week and far busier than any New Year’s Eve, traditionally the busiest day of the year.  Nineteen of the 20 busiest days ever have come in the last month.

The funding is specifically designed to increase the number of 999 call handlers; put additional crews on the road; provide additional clinical support in control rooms; extend the availability of hospital ambulance liaison officers (HALO) at the most challenged acute trusts and increase the number of emergency ambulances available for the winter.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “This additional funding is very welcome when all ambulance services are under immense pressure. 

“We have already started recruiting for additional call handlers and will work up other schemes that will allow us to make progress on meeting other key standards as soon as possible.

“At the start of the pandemic we were able to recruit hundreds of extra staff who played a key role in our ability to handle the rise in COVID-19 call numbers.  

“We had people from all walks of life join us as call handlers; hundreds of students worked on our ambulances and helped to prepare the vehicles.

“Speaking to those staff, I don’t believe any of them would say that they weren’t proud to have helped keep our nation safe.

“Working for the NHS is a real privilege, and I would encourage anyone who wants a great career to think about joining us.”

All vacancies within the Trust are advertised on NHS Jobs: www.jobs.nhs.uk

Ends

Van driver seriously injured

Murray MacGregor – Monday 5th July 2021 – 8.00am.

A van driver has suffered serious injuries after an incident involving the van and two lorries.

It happened at just before 3.30am this morning (Monday) on the northbound M6 motorway between the slip roads at junction eleven.

An ambulance, two paramedic officers and the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found the van on it’s side and a lorry facing the wrong way.  Ambulance staff were told that the second lorry had rear end damage.

“The van driver was rapidly extricated by ambulance and fire crews and assessed on the ambulance.

“He was treated at the scene but his condition was sufficiently serious that he was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with the doctor and critical care paramedic travelling with the ambulance; medics were on standby at the hospital to receive him.

“Neither of the lorry drivers were injured.”

Ends

Motorcyclist airlifted with serious injuries

Murray MacGregor – Monday 28th June 2021 – 10.10am.

A woman motorcyclist has suffered serious injuries after a collision with a car on the southbound M5. 

It happened on the southbound carriageway between junctions five and six near Oddingley in Worcestershire at around 5.30pm on Friday afternoon.

An ambulance, a paramedic officer, the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car from Worcester and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman, said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found the middle aged woman on the carriageway with serious multiple injuries.

She was treated at the scene, before the air ambulance, which had initially landed in a field next to the motorway was repositioned onto the northbound carriageway.

“The woman was then airlifted to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham where medics were on standby to receive her.

“There were no other patients.”

Ends

Fatal crash involving a motorcycle

Murray MacGregor – Monday 28th June 2021 – 9.00am.

A motorcyclist has died after a collision involving a motorcycle, a quad bike and a car.

It happened on Birmingham Road in West Bromwich at around 9.45pm last night (Sunday) close to the Screwfix store and not far from the West Bromwich Albion ground.

Three ambulances, a paramedic officer and the MERIT Trauma doctor and critical care paramedic were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found an off-duty A&E doctor carrying out resuscitation to the rider from the motorcycle.

Ambulance staff immediately took over and provided advanced life support but sadly, it wasn’t possible to save the man and he was confirmed dead at the scene.

A woman passenger from the car involved was also assessed but was discharged on scene with advice.

There were no other patients.

Ends.

Pedestrian injured after collision with lorry

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 3rd June 2021 – 11.20am.

A pedestrian has suffered potentially serious injuries after a collision with a lorry. 

The incident happened on Warren Lane in Branston, Staffordshire at just before 9.00am this morning, Thursday.

An ambulance, a paramedic officer and two air ambulances (Midlands Air Ambulance from Staffordshire and the Derbyshire Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance) were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Initial reports suggested that the pedestrian was in a serious condition.

“The man was quickly taken on board the ambulance where he was fully assessed by the ambulance staff on scene.

“After treatment, he was taken by road ambulance to the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, a major trauma centre, with the doctor and critical care paramedic from the DLRAA aircraft travelling on board.

“The man driving the lorry was shaken but otherwise unhurt.”

Ends

(Library picture)

Trust to roll out body worn cameras to protect staff

Murray MacGregor – Wednesday 2nd June 2021 – 6.00am.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is to roll out body cameras for all frontline emergency staff after over 1,100 were assaulted last year.

In total, 1,162 physical attacks were recorded on WMAS staff last year (2020-21), with a further 2,181 cases of verbal abuse.

The shocking figures are made even worse by the rate of increase in attacks over the last five years.  Physical attacks have risen by over 60% in that period while verbal assaults have more than doubled.

Funding of almost a million pounds from NHS England has allowed the Trust to purchase 1,288 cameras which will be sufficient for each frontline ambulance crew member to wear one.

WMAS ran a pilot using 30 cameras in the autumn of 2019 which fed into the decision by NHS England to roll the cameras out across the country.  In over 36,000 hours of use, there were only three activations by staff, and only one of those related to violence.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “The safety of my staff is of paramount importance to me.  If they are injured, they are not available to respond to patients.

“The cameras will allow staff to record incidents where they feel at risk with any recordings being able to be given in evidence should an actual assault occur. 

“Hopefully, they will never have to be used, but if they are, the evidence will hopefully increase the rate of successful prosecutions and subsequent sentencing.  All too often my staff feel let down by the judicial system and this important step will help to redress that situation.”

All ambulance staff will be able to wear the cameras while they are on shift.  They do not record all of the time and are instead switched on by the member of staff if patients or the public became aggressive or abusive.  Once the device is recording, it will display red lights to show that it is recording. 

In 2017, Paramedic Neil Vann from Coventry was knocked unconscious by a patient who he was trying to help.  The man was subsequently jailed for six months, but Neil says having the camaras might have made the situation very different: “The cameras are there to protect us in case things turn nasty.  I hope I never have to switch it on, but given what happened to me, it is nice to know that I have the chance to record what happened so that a court can see.

“The vast majority of people probably won’t know they are even there – they won’t be switched on in 99.9% of occasions, but they are there just in case.  I feel sure that had I had a camera when I was assaulted, my assailant might have thought twice about attacking me.”

Bee Knight who is based at Shrewsbury Hub, added: “When I was attacked in May last year, I suffered a wrist injury that left me in plaster for 10 days and a brace for five weeks.  That was seven weeks that I wasn’t able to help patients during the COVID-19 pandemic when we needed every member of staff available.

“Having been through that, having a camera that I could switch on would make me feel much safer.  It would allow a court to see the actions of the offender and judge for themselves what happened.”

Senior Operations Manager, Graeme Jones, ran the Trust’s pilot project in 2019.  He said: “The staff involved in the initial trial reported that the cameras made them feel safer and were useful in de-escalating situations where a patient or member of the public started to become aggressive; just saying that they were going to turn on the camera often calmed situations down very rapidly. 

“The fact that after hundreds of shifts we hadn’t caught any footage is probably the best result we could have hoped for; clearly it is much better for people not to be hurt than for us to have to use footage as part of a prosecution.”

Prerana Isaar, Chief People Officer for the NHS, said: “Every member of our dedicated and hardworking NHS staff has the fundamental right to be safe at work and it is our priority to eliminate violence and abuse, which we will not tolerate.

“As well as reducing the number of incidents towards our staff, these cameras are a vital step towards ensuring our people feel safe too.”

Statistics showing the rise in violence against staff:

Physical AssaultsVerbal Assaults
2020-211,1622,181
2019-209441,536
2018-198641,268
2017-188201,070
2016-177241,050

Ends

Technology rollout will save lives and improve patient care

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 18th May 2021 – 12.10pm.

Thousands of ambulance staff across the West Midlands are set to start using iPads to improve the care they give to patients thanks to new funding from NHSX.

The cash which is part of a national roll-out will see the all patient facing staff receiving one of the tablets so that they can access a patient’s medical record while they are treating their patient.

While ambulance staff will always ask patients and their family about on-going medical issues, the funding from NHSX will mean staff have individual access to the patients’ care records (patient history and GP records) which could potentially help save their life.

In addition, the technology will allow the staff to better support care as well as increase the level of video conferencing with other healthcare professionals so that patients can be kept away from A&E unless it is absolutely necessary.  If taking a patient to hospital, the clinicians in A&E will be able to see real time updates on patients being bought and patient detail handovers will occur digitally.

The project which has been piloted in other areas of the country has already shown that access to the additional information and NHS systems improved decision making and ultimately care given.

WMAS Chief Executive Anthony Marsh, said: “We have been using tablets and an electronic patient record for the last five years, but these iPads will take this to the next level with access to information that staff at the scene of an incident have not previously had access to.

“Already my staff access care records in about 60% of cases but the personal issue iPads means that it will be even easier for the crew to see the patient’s history.  This will allow staff to provide better care such as diverting more patients directly to where they may be getting ongoing specialist care instead of first taking them to A&E.  In many cases we expect patients to be able to remain at home with additional support coming from primary care, which we know patients will feel happier about, particularly since the pandemic started.

“There is no question that technology is already making a huge difference to our work and this investment by NHSX will only enhance that.” 

WMAS People Director, Carla Beechey added: “As these iPads will be personal issue, a key benefit will also be that staff are able to access e-learning tools and online training resources for professional development.  Although they will continue to have access to computers at work, many staff will prefer to complete such studying in the comfort of their own homes at a time that is right for them.

“I also see this roll out as a key development for improving the support we can provide to staff to aid their health and wellbeing.  They will now be able to access our online support services at any time.  Equally, it will help us to improve our internal communications and even allow individuals to complete their annual staff survey.” 

NHSX is working with Trusts and Apple to ensure each device is set up to include information governance and IT security and an ongoing support package. 

NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said: “Ambulance crews have been at the forefront of the pandemic, routinely dealing with life and death situations and often first on scene to treat and diagnose critically ill patients. 

“These devices are another tool for our highly skilled paramedics and ambulance technicians as they continue to respond to the country’s most critically ill and injured patients.  It is another example of the health service innovating and harnessing technology to improve patient care as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.”

Ends

Work begins on biggest ambulance hub of its kind

Murray MacGregor – Wednesday 12th May 2021 – 6.00am.

Work has begun on a multi-million pound ambulance service hub for West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) in Sandwell.

Leading property developer Stoford is delivering the 76,000 sq ft purpose-built hub, the largest hub of its kind in the country, which will eventually house about 350 operational ambulance staff working 24 hours a day.

Contractor McClaren Construction is now on the seven-acre site in Shidas Lane, Oldbury, and aims to complete the hub, which will also include a facility for the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), fleet maintenance and vehicle preparation areas, the Trust’s Education and Training Academy and central stores, next spring.

It will be open in time for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which kicks off in July 2022, and will be used as a staging point for the Trust’s preparations for one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

Craig Cooke, WMAS Director of Strategic Operations, added: “This is an important hub for the Service not just for the Commonwealth Games but for our ongoing ability to deliver high quality care to the people of Birmingham and the Black Country.

“It will also see a major upgrade in our central stores facility, which has played such a vital role during the pandemic, but also a big step forward in facilities for our Education & Training team and the Hazardous Area Response Team.

“Talking to staff, they are excited to see the new building developed and we will be working with them to ensure it fully meets their needs.”

Tony Nash, Director at Stoford Developments, said: “This is a significant development for West Midlands Ambulance Service and an important national infrastructure project, so we’re pleased to have made a start on delivering the scheme, just a short time after we received planning approval.

“As a former quarry site that was undeveloped for 15 years, it is a technically challenging building project, so receiving financial support from the West Midlands Combined Authority to make it viable has been crucial in getting it ready for development.”

The development is the first of its kind for funding partner Assura, as it continues to expand the range of local healthcare infrastructure it supports for primary care networks and NHS Trusts.

Jonathan Murphy, Assura CEO, said: “This hub will provide a much-needed new base for emergency health services in the West Midlands. We are particularly proud to be playing our part in such an important piece of the health infrastructure that will sit around the Commonwealth Games, at a time when the eyes of the world will be on the region.”

WMAS serves a population of 5.6 million people and covers an area of more than 5,000 square miles, comprising Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and the West Midlands.

The hub will achieve the BREEAM Excellence rating and will accommodate 365 parking spaces, including ten disabled spaces and 70 ambulance spaces.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Mian picture (L-R): Craig Cooke, WMAS Director of Strategic Operations; Tony Nash, Director at Stoford Developments; and Jonathan Bishop, Bishop Property Consultants.

Stoford Developments is a privately owned company established in 1996 to specialise in occupier-led property solutions for business. The company is involved in a diverse range of commercial property developments across the UK. The company’s innovative approach to procurement ensures that it is highly competitive, delivering a quality product on time and on budget. For more information visit http://www.stoford.com.

Assura is a real estate investment trust and long-term property partner to more than 590 primary care buildings across the country, in which more than 500 GP practices operate and from which more than five million patients are served. The Assura Community Fund is supporting health-improving projects in the communities surrounding those buildings.

Media:

For more information please contact Jayne Howarth, senior PR account manager, Barques, 0121 233 2080 or the WMAS Press Office on 01384 246 496.

STAFF RECOGNISED BY OUTGOING SHROPSHIRE HIGH SHERIFF

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.”

Ends

Largest Ambulance Hub of its kind gets the go-ahead in time for the Commonwealth Games

Murray MacGregor – Monday 19th April 2021 – 6.00am.

Stoford Developments is set to begin work on a multi-million pound ambulance service hub for West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) after Sandwell planners approved the scheme.

The 76,000 sq ft hub, will be the largest hub of its kind in the country and will see a significant increase in ambulance operational capability for Birmingham and the Black Country.  The project, which will open in time for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022, will be used as a staging point for the Trust’s preparations for one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Once fully open it will house around 350 operational ambulance staff working shifts and replaces a much smaller facility in West Bromwich.  In addition, it will include a facility for the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), as well as fleet maintenance and vehicle preparation areas, the Trust’s Education and Training Academy and central stores.

Built on derelict land off Shidas Road, Oldbury, it will achieve the BREEAM Excellence rating, which rates a building’s environmental, social and economic sustainability performance.

Birmingham-based Stoford Developments was appointed by WMAS to deliver the scheme following a competitive tender, with the developer putting forward proposals to build on former quarry and which had been earmarked originally for industrial units.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “This is a hugely important development for not only West Midlands Ambulance Service, but also for the people of Birmingham and the Black Country.  It is a significant investment that has taken over two years of work to bring together.  We are delighted to be working in partnership with Stoford Developments to bring this new facility online in time for the Commonwealth Games, an event that will let the world see all that is good about our country’s second city.”

Tony Nash, Director at Stoford Developments, said now the planning committee had formally given it the go ahead, he hoped work could start on site this month (April), with an estimated completion date of spring 2022.

“WMAS was looking for a strategic location in the Sandwell or Oldbury area, close to the M5, for its new facility and the land we proposed was ideally situated for its needs,” he said.

“The site has many technical challenges having remained undeveloped for 15yrs and grant funding from West Midlands Combined Authority has made the project viable.

“We’re looking forward to getting started in this national infrastructure project and delivering a facility that achieves BREEAM Excellent in design and construction.”

WMAS Director of Strategic Operations, Craig Cooke added: “At seven acres, this is a significant investment that will bring real benefit to the area.  The new Hub will enable us to improve the level of care we provide to the local population.  It is also good news for our staff as it will allow us to not only increase numbers, but also provide them with an excellent facility which is purpose built for their needs.

“This project also has national merit as it allows us to provide a much better base for our Hazardous Area Response Team who provide care in a wide range of specialist areas such as water rescue, hazardous substances and collapsed buildings amongst many others.

“I’m also delighted that we are investing in our Education & Training team.  We currently have over 700 students working with us and providing them with even better facilities will only help to ensure that we maintain our position as being the only ambulance service with a paramedic on every vehicle.

“Over the last year our central stores team has performed magnificently ensuring frontline staff have the necessary protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This new facility will continue our record of making it one of the most efficient systems in the country which will ensure our staff always have the right equipment when they need it so that they can provide excellent care to patients.”

This challenging site has been made possible with the financial support of the West Midlands Combined Authority, bringing jobs and major investment on what was a waste site in the heart of Oldbury.

WMAS serves a population of 5.6 million people and covers an area of more than 5,000 square miles, comprising Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and the West Midlands.

Stoford Developments has appointed McLean Construction to build the hub, which will also accommodate 365 parking spaces, including ten disabled spaces and 70 Ambulance spaces.

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Two children taken to paediatric major trauma centre

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 15th April 2021 – 10.05am.

Two children have been taken on blue lights to the region’s paediatric major trauma centre after a two car collision that left six people hurt.

The incident happened at just before 10.00pm last night, Wednesday, on Lichfield Road, just after the canal bridge and close to the junction with Lewis Grove in Wolverhampton.

Three ambulances, two paramedic officers and the MERIT Trauma Doctor and Critical Care Paramedic were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found two cars that had suffered significant damage.

“There were four people in the first car, two adults and two children.  A teenage boy had suffered the most significant injuries.  He was treated at the scene before being taken on blue lights to Birmingham Children’s Hospital with the doctor travelling with the crew. 

“A younger boy also suffered potentially serious injuries and was taken to the same hospital with the critical care paramedic travelling with the second ambulance.  The two adults in the car, a man and a woman, were assessed at the scene but had only minor injuries.

“There were two women in the other car.  Both were treated for less serious injuries but were taken to New Cross Hospital for further assessment and treatment.”

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Two taken to major trauma centre after RTC

Murray MacGregor – Monday 8th February 2020 – 8.30am.

Two women have been taken to a major trauma centre after a single vehicle crash in the early hours of this morning (Monday).

The crash happened on the A41 outside Dovecote Bletchley Court close to the dual carriageway at around 4.10am.

Two ambulances, a paramedic office and the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found a car that had rolled over but had ended up on its wheels.

“The front seat passenger was trapped so they immediately requested the fire service be responded.

“The woman was trapped for a little over half an hour while ambulance staff worked with firefighters to extricate her.

“The woman had suffered multiple injuries.  After treatment at the scene, she was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Royal Stoke Uiversty Hospital where medics were awaiting her arrival.

“The driver, also a woman, had suffered less serious injuries but due to the level of damage to the car, was also taken to the same major trauma centre as a precaution.”

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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

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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.”

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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.”

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Trust welcomes tough sentence

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 24th November 2020 – 4.00pm.

A student paramedic who had his jaw broken so badly that it needed a metal plate inserted says he hopes a tough sentence will serve as a warning to others who attack emergency services staff.

Chris Cooling, 40, was part of an ambulance crew that was called to treat Jamie Davies in Winifred Avenue, Earlsdon, Coventry, after he reported having breathing difficulties.

Davies, 21, proceeded to attack Mr Cooling punching him in the face breaking his jaw.  Davies was charged with causing grievous bodily harm and today was jailed for seven years and two months after entered a guilty plea at Coventry Crown Court.

Mr Cooling has yet to return to operational duties due to ongoing pain in his jaw and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He said: “I am extremely happy with the outcome of the court case and hope that it serves as deterrent to others.

“This incident has had a massive impact on me; I have so far lost seven months of my life to this attack and I am not yet able to resume my career, a career that I love.  This court case has re-opened old wounds and I fear I will always have to live with the fear of something like this happening again. 

“Like my colleagues, I come to work to help people.  Whilst I suffered particularly severe injuries many others have also been attacked.  It is sentences like this that will make people stop and think before they do something similar, yet too often the sentences do not reflect the effect such incidents have on us.

“I would like to thank West Midlands Ambulance Service for their support throughout and also to West Midlands Police for their quick response and the Crown Prosecution Service for putting such a strong case together.”

Coventry Senior Operations Manager, Dan Swain, added: “This sort of attack cannot be allowed to happen again and I am so pleased that the Judge took such tough action.  I have accompanied too many staff to similar trials and never seen such a strong outcome.  I really hope that it makes the point that this sort of attack is not acceptable and that other members of the judiciary follow this lead.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “When I heard about this assault on one of my crews, I was horrified.

“The length of time that it has taken Chris to recover is a sign of just how serious this assault was.  Not only has it been awful for him, but it has robbed the public of a hard working member of NHS staff at a time when the health service is under immense pressure.

“I am determined that we will work with police colleagues to bring anyone who attacks my staff to justice.”

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Peer support saved my life

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 24th November 2020 – 8.00am.

“I would be dead now if it wasn’t for SALS; they saved my life and have changed my life.”  The words of a paramedic after being helped by the Trust’s Staff Advice and Liaison Service, SALS. 

SALS is a peer support network in West Midlands Ambulance Service that provides signposting, advice and a listening ear to all members of staff.  They develop safe, confidential, non-stigmatising services for staff to turn to when they are struggling and need help.  It includes confidential advisors who are able to facilitate Social, Emotional, Educational Support meetings in the event of a particularly distressing incident.

Today, Elaine Weaver, who co-ordinates the scheme has been revealed as one of ten nominations who have been chosen as regional champions for the prestigious NHS Parliamentary Awards in ‘The Wellbeing at Work Award’.  The Awards give MPs and NHS leaders the opportunity to honour health and care staff who have helped to improve treatment for patients.

With the mental health of staff being recognised as a national imperative, the SALS team, which is co-ordinated by Elaine is helping around 1,000 staff a year. Their work includes supporting staff after a traumatic case, helping them cope with bereavement and work related stress. 

Elaine has worked for West Midlands Ambulance Service for 27 years as a Capital Accountant.  She became a SALS Advisor 10 years ago and took on the lead role three years ago.  SALS now boasts over 40 trained peer advisors who are available 24/7 for staff when they need that help. 

Elaine said: “My talents for problem solving and critical thinking, empathy and understanding of issues faced by ambulance staff have helped me mould the SALS team to the strong peer support team it is today.

“Building on experience, I have utilised connections to community charities and internal avenues to tackle problems faced by members of staff. I am proud to have forged connections with other Ambulance Services, holding a national peer support forum and assisted other services in the creation of their peer support network.

“I am particularly proud that I was nominated by a number of our SALS Advisers unbeknown to me.  In their words, it is my passion, caring nature and support for them and my colleagues across the Trust in their hour of need that they put me forward.”

Paramedic Debbie Styzaker, who is one of the SALS Advisors, added: “Elaine has almost single handily bought SALS into its current position.  She works endlessly for SALS and is always ready to help any of the advisors.  I have known her to be contactable morning, noon and night; she is a wonderful asset not only to us SALS advisors but also to WMAS staff.”

The Trust supports this work by providing facilities and training for the SALS team.  Recently, it also employed two mental wellbeing practitioners to support the work of SALS so that even more staff can access the wellbeing support that they need.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “I am immensely proud that Elaine will be representing the Midlands in the national finals; she would be a very worthy national winner. 

“The work the SALS team do means many staff, who might otherwise have spent time off work dealing with issues, are helped at an early stage allowing them to come to terms with the issue and return to work in a more comfortable and confident manner.  Not only does that help the individual, it helps patients too.

“While the figures for the number of staff they help may seem high (1:7 staff accessing the service) they are reassuring to me, because I know that individuals are getting the support that they need as they deal with the challenges of the job and also their home lives.

“With the impact of corona virus on the mental wellbeing of staff still relatively unknown, it seems inevitable that the SALS team will only get busier over the coming weeks and months.”

Dr Nigel Sturrock, Regional Medical Director at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “I was impressed by the high standard of all entries from the Midlands and choosing between the dozens of teams and individuals who all go above and beyond, to go forward and represent our region, has been incredibly difficult. I wish our champions the best of luck in the national heats and will be rooting for them on the day.”

Elaine and the other regional champions will now go head to head with other winners from across the country to be judged by a national panel made up of senior leaders representing staff and patients, for the chance to win the prestigious national award which will be presented at a special ceremony in the House of Commons on the 7 July 2021.

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Somewhere to Reflect, Remember and Reminisce

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 5th November 2020 – 4.30pm.

As we approach Remembrance Day, hundreds of staff within West Midlands Ambulance Service will have somewhere that they can pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but also remember their own colleagues who have passed away.

Thanks to a donation from the NHS Charities Together, every WMAS site that can, is developing or upgrading a remembrance garden.

The idea is to provide each one with an outdoor area which is away from the hustle and bustle of everyday work; somewhere where colleagues can take time for quiet reflection.

To date, NHS Charities Together has donated £127,000 to the Trust to enhance the well-being of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID-19.  The board and trustees and management of the charity has agreed to spend the funding for a remembrance garden at each site and also purchase benches for these sites so that staff can socially distance more easily during their downtime.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “We are tremendously grateful to NHS Charities Together for such a generous donation which I know has been welcomed by our staff.

“The development of the gardens is being led by the staff at each site to look at what they would like to achieve so that it is personal to them.  A number of sites such as those at Dudley, Erdington and Willenhall have already made excellent progress, often with the support of local suppliers who have provided services free of charge.  For example, at Willenhall, Whiting Landscape provided their assistance free of charge, which is both incredibly generous and very much welcomed. 

“This has been a year like no other due to COVID-19, but I have no doubt that the development of these gardens will make a difference to our staff and allow them time to reflect, remember and reminisce.”

NHS Charities Together is membership organisation representing, supporting and championing NHS Charities.  It provides a forum for nationwide fundraising and advocacy campaigns and gives over £1million every day to support the NHS and it’s staff so that they can enhance patient experience and care.  You can find out more about NHS Charities Together at www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk/

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Just the 1.4 million calls answered!

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 5th November 2020 – 12.45pm.

A year ago to the day, West Midlands Ambulance Service took it’s first 111 call.  Today, 1.4 million calls later, staff are celebrating an incredibly successful first year. 

The Trust provides the service across the West Midlands (excluding Staffordshire) from a call centre in Brierley Hill. 

No-one could have foreseen the year that has just happened: as well as the many improvements implemented, the effect COVID-19 has had on 111 has been immense. The challenges and successes were heavily featured on the Channel 4 programme Paramedics: Britain’s Lifesavers back in the summer.

Head of 111, Rob Till, said: “We initially played a crucial role in arranging test appointments and providing results before testing was moved online.  More recently, we have become a gateway to many other NHS services such as urgent treatment centres and for GP appointments and that will continue over the coming months.

“In the last 12 months we have recruited 739 new call handlers and clinicians.  This means we are always one of the top providers for answering calls quickly. We also now have GP’s, advanced nurses and paramedics, dental nurses, mental health nurses and pharmacists giving specialist advice to patients, 24 hours day. 

“Having such a dedicated team meant we were able to maintain a great service to patients throughout the challenging COVID peak and continue to assist other 111 areas with their calls when necessary.

“Our staff have done an amazing job and we are in a really strong position ahead of the most challenging winter the NHS has ever faced.” 

Paul Maubach, Chief Executive of the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Groups, who commission the 111 service, said: “I want to thank the staff who work within 111 for the exceptional efforts they have put into running this service during one of the most challenging periods the NHS has ever seen.  The fact that you have been able to answer so many calls, help patients and provide a great service is testament to your hard work. 

“111 has proved itself to be a vital part of the NHS and with the developments that are coming over the next 12 months I am in no doubt that you will continue to provide a great service for patients and continue to be a crucial part of the NHS.”

WMAS Integrated Emergency and Urgent Care Director, Jeremy Brown, added: “I am always very proud when our commissioners remark on what a great service the staff are providing.  When you consider the level of recruitment and our response to COVID-19, they really have been exemplary. 

“The future also looks exciting with the full integration of the 999 and 111 services which will benefit staff and patients.  We are already seeing an increase in the number of ambulance crews accessing the specialist advice available from the advanced clinicians in the 111 call centre, which is helping to reduce the number of patients being taken to A&E.  We also expect to see the further development of video triaging, which is already benefitting patients. The next year looks just as exciting as the first.” 

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh commented: “This has been a real success story despite the extraordinary challenges that the 111 service has faced.  With the developments coming, we will create an even better service. Congratulations to everyone in 111.”

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Man injured by own car

Murray MacGregor – Monday 2nd November 2020 – 5.25pm.

A man has suffered potentially serious injuries after being run over by his own car.

The incident happened in Warren Farm Road in the Kingstanding area of Birmingham at around 2.50pm on Monday afternoon.

An ambulance, a paramedic officer, the Midlands Air Ambulance critical care car and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, crews were told that the man had tried to stop his car rolling backward but it had rolled over him.

“Bystanders were able to free him before ambulance staff arrived eight minutes after the 999 call.

“The man had suffered potentially serious injuries.  After being treated at the scene, the middle aged man was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with a critical care paramedic travelling with the crew.”

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Boy badly hurt after collision

Murray MacGregor – Monday 26th October 2020 – 2.10pm.

A teenager has received potentially life changing injuries after a collision with a car on a car park off Bath Road in the Longton Area of Stoke. 

An ambulance and a paramedic officer were sent to the scene after a 999 call at just before 6.30pm on Sunday evening. 

The boy suffered multiple injuries.  After assessment at the scene, he was taken on blue lights to Royal Stoke University Hospital where doctors were awaiting his arrival. 

There were no other patients.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101, or via social media, quoting incident number 602 of 25 October or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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Two pedestrians hurt in collision involving a van and a wall

Murray MacGregor – Monday 26th October 2020 – 12.25pm.

Two pedestrians have been hurt, one seriously after a van collided with them and a wall. 

The incident happened in the car park of Dunelm Mill in Bilston Road in Wolverhampton at around 2.20pm on Sunday afternoon.

Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford with a doctor and critical care paramedic on board were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance crews found the man and woman at the base of a collapsed wall beside a van.

“The man had suffered serious injuries and after assessment at the scene, was airlifted to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

“The woman who was with him was also assessed and treated at the scene before being taken to New Cross Hospital by ambulance.

“Two other people who witnessed what happened were also assessed but were discharged at the scene.”

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Five hurt in weekend crash

Murray MacGregor – Monday 26th October 2020 – 9.55am.

Five people have been hurt, two seriously, after a single vehicle crash.

The incident happened near St Nicholas Church on Oldbury Road in Bridgnorth at just after 11.00pm on Saturday night.

Five ambulances, three paramedic officers the MERIT Trauma Doctor and critical care paramedic and a further BASICS doctor were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance crews found a car on its roof with damage to all four sides.

There were five patients in total:

A woman in the rear seat was trapped for around half an hour.  Firefighters worked with ambulance staff to extricate her.  After being assessed at the scene, she was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with the MERIT trauma doctor travelling with the ambulanc crew.

“The driver of the car, a man was taken to the same hospital with the other doctor travelling with that ambulance crew.

“A second rear seat passenger was assessed at the scene.  He was taken on blue lights to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.  The third person in the rear of the car had been able to get out of the vehicle himself but was taken to the same hospital.

“A teenager in the front passenger seat was assessed and treated at the scene before being taken to Russell Hall Hospital for further treatment.”

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Fatal crash in Herefordshire

Murray MacGregor – Monday 28th September 2020 – 2.25pm.

A driver has died after the van he was in collided with a barrier outside the Weston Cider plant in Much Marcle near Ledbury.

The initial call came through at just after 10.30 this morning, Monday.  An ambulance, a paramedic officer, the Midlands Air Ambulance from Strensham with a doctor and critical care paramedic on board were sent to the scene along with a second BASICS emergency doctor.

 A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, crews found the man trapped in his van.

“Ambulance staff worked with firefighters to rapidly extricate the man from the vehicle and immediately started advanced life support.

“Sadly, despite best efforts, it was not possible to save him and he was confirmed dead at the scene.”

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Three hurt after early morning collision

Murray MacGregor – Monday 28th September 2020 – 9.30am.

Three people have been taken to hospital with potentially serious injuries after a collision in Birmingham early this morning, Monday.

The crash between a car and a van happened at the junction of Pershore Road and St Stevens Road in the Stirchley area at 5.25am.  The car ended up against a building.  Both vehicles had suffered significant damage.

Three ambulances, two paramedic officers and the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic were sent to the scene.  An off-duty member of ambulance staff en-route for a day shift came across the incident and also assisted at the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “There were two male teenagers in the car.  The first was helped out of the vehicle by bystanders.  He was treated at the scene before being taken on blue lights to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

“The other teenager was initially able to get out of the vehicle himself.  He was also assessed and treated at the scene before being taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“The van driver, a middle aged man, was helped from the wreckage of his vehicle and was treated for significant injuries before also being taken on blue lights to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.”

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Picture courtesy of West Midlands Police Force Response Unit (@ResponseWMP)

Thank you for saving Dad’s life

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 10th September 2020 – 11.10am.

THANK YOU FOR SAVING DAD’S LIFE

If you’ve ever wondered just how important knowing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and having a defibrillator close at hand is, then ask John Walton.

The cardiac arrest that he suffered was captured by film crews who were following critical care paramedic Aidan Brown for the Channel 5 programme Ambulance: Code Red.

On 16th January this year, John suffered a cardiac arrest while playing squash with his friend of 40 years, Clive Fletcher.  

Fortunately, Clive new how to do CPR and immediately started helping his friend until the staff at the Bert Williams Leisure Centre in Bilston took over and used the defibrillator they have at the centre on John. 

Two ambulance crews, a paramedic officer and Aidan on the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car were all sent to the scene. 

The incident was shown on Episode two of the programme which went out on Monday evening. 

Off the back of the programme, John’s daughter Georgia posted a picture on her Instagram account of her and John along with his son Chris and wife Di, thanking everyone for saving her Dad’s life.

She said: “Thank God he was somewhere that had access to a defib otherwise it could’ve been a completely different story! 

“We are so grateful that he is here to tell the tale.  The chances of survival for an out of hospital cardiac arrest is less than 1 in 10 so he is so so lucky. 

“A massive thank you to Clive, the leisure centre staff, the team from WMAS and Midlands Air Ambulance along with the staff at New Cross Hospital for looking after him through his surgery, where he had four stents fitted! 

“When we watched the programme it was hard viewing but it was a lovely touch to see CCP Aidan thank the leisure centre staff as they took Dad to the ambulance.  Really lovely.” 

Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, Nick Henry, said: “Aidan was absolutely right; the quick reaction of Clive and the leisure centre staff absolutely saved John’s life.

“For every minute after a cardiac arrest where no-one is doing CPR, the person’s chance of survival drops by 10%!  It is therefore absolutely vital that someone starts CPR as soon as possible. 

“Equally, having the defib close at hand will make a massive difference too.  It’s one of the reasons we want to see numbers of publicly accessible defibs rise as much as possible.

“John is now getting to spend time with his family because some started CPR quickly and a defib was close at hand.  Think how many more lives could be saved if everyone knew CPR and there were many more publicly accessible defibs around our villages, towns and cities.”

Ambulance: Code Red is aired on Channel 5 at 9pm on Monday evenings.

Take Off for Ambulance: Code Red on Channel 5

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 27th August 2020 – 2.10pm.

They go to some of the most serious and time critical cases in the West Midlands and now you can see how they work with ambulance crews to save lives.

On Monday evening at 9.00pm on Channel 5, the critical care paramedics and doctors who work with West Midlands Ambulance Service and Midlands Air Ambulance will be featured in a brand new series called ‘Ambulance: Code Red’.

Filmed before the corona virus pandemic, the series follows the staff as they support the ambulance crews at the scene.  It looks at the critical care paramedics who operate on a car during the day and then the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic team who fly on the Midlands Air Ambulance based at RAF Cosford during the day and operate on a rapid response vehicle at night.

In the first episode, the teams work to treat a man who suffered a fit and went into cardiac arrest; a child who has been knocked over by a car; a woman who has been thrown from her horse onto a concrete path; an elderly woman who has fallen over in her home badly breaking her ankle; and a car that somersaulted and collided with a lamppost.

West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “This programme gives a real insight into the support that our CCPs and doctors can give to our ambulance crews who are dealing with some of the most complex patients.

“It demonstrates how they work with the crews on scene to use their enhanced skills to benefit patients.  Without the work of the staff on scene, the teams wouldn’t be able to use those skills, so it really is all about working together.

“The teams provide critical care at the scene that save lives, brains and limbs, including pre-hospital surgery and pre-hospital anaesthesia.”

Critical Care Paramedic Tom Waters, who is featured throughout the series added: “It’s a really challenging role but really rewarding.  We work with the staff in our control rooms to make sure patients get to the specialist care they need for example major trauma centres and cardiac care units, often bypassing the local hospital.

“Our role is very much to work alongside ambulance crews, not take over from them.  By working with them, we are able to ensure patients get the best are possible.”

Ian Roberts, Air Operations Manager for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said: “Ambulance Code Red shows a unique insight into the work of a critical care team within the Midlands.

“The pre-hospital doctors and critical care paramedics on-board the helicopters and critical care cars bring specialist skills, advanced medicines and procedures to an incident scene and work together with colleagues in the ambulance service to give the patients the very best chance of recovery and survival.”

Notes to Editors:

About Midlands Air Ambulance Charity:
COVID-19: During the continuing coronavirus pandemic, we have been working with the regional NHS community, including West Midlands Ambulance Service, providing clinical resource and specialist medical equipment to support frontline services.

Who are we? Midlands Air Ambulance serves the largest air ambulance region in the UK. This includes the communities of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire; representing a population in excess of six million.

What do we do? The charity responds to an average of 3,000 missions each year. We re a helicopter-led service with over 2,000 of deployments being air missions. Were also have a fleet of Rapid Response Vehicles and two critical care cars. On average Midlands Air Ambulance Charity is one of the longest established and busiest air ambulance operators in the UK.

Our lifesaving service: The three air ambulance helicopters are based at Cosford airbase, near Shifnal Shropshire (covering Shropshire and the West Midlands), Tatenhill airbase, near Burton-on-Trent Staffordshire (covering Staffordshire and the West Midlands), and Strensham Services on the M5 in Worcestershire (covering Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire).The charity’s three aircraft each carry a crew comprising a pilot, two paramedics or flight doctors plus full life-support medical equipment. The two critical care cars are based in Oldbury, West Midlands (serving the Birmingham and Black Country areas) and the charity’s Worcestershire airbase at Strensham. The charity’s cars each have one critical care paramedic on-board with full life-support medical equipment.

The Golden Hour: If a patient receives definitive care within 60 minutes of injury, their chances of survival are dramatically increased. All areas of the region are accessible in 19 minutes and 90% of the region is accessible within eight minutes.

The cost: Each year it costs in excess of £10 million just to keep the three charity helicopters operational. Each air ambulance mission costs £2,500 on average and each critical care car mission costs £224, which is entirely funded by the generosity of the general public and local businesses
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Stoke Hub kick off in style

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 13th August 2020 – 10.00am.

With football well and truly back, the West Midlands Ambulance Service team from Stoke Hub are set to take part in a new emergency services football league at a new stadium and in new kit.

The team will be playing their fixtures at the Emerys Stadium in Smallthorne, which is also the home of Stoke City Ladies FC.

Although the coronavirus pandemic put training on hold for a few weeks, the squad, which has been playing together for over 10 years, is stronger than it has ever been.

This year, they are delighted to be playing at a new ground.  Jonathan Goodwin, general manager of Emerys, said: “We like to support local people – especially those who are making a difference and supporting others in the community.”

As well as the support of a new ground, the team will be starting their season in a new strip, sponsored by Stafford based inflatable and aerial marketing company Bloon.

WMAS Stoke FC Manager, Paramedic Matt Harrison, said: “We’re very grateful to Mick Clewes, who is Chair of the ground, for his support. I met Mick when a colleague supported him through a medical emergency and he offered the club’s services for our home ground.

“Emerys sponsorship, along with that from our kit sponsor Bloon will give us an identity this year, making us feel part of a team as well as taking us to a higher level with our fundraising support for the community.”

Over the last ten years, the team has raised over £50,000 for charity including raising money in memory of midwife Samantha Eastwood and Phil Nadine who was a staff nurse in A & E at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Matt added: “The team gives staff at Stoke Hub the chance to socialise and focus on something outside of work, with the importance of fitness as well.

“Training has been going well ahead of our first match on 1st September.”

WMAS Stoke

Pictured from left to right Andy Thyes, Mick Clewes, Jonathan Goodwin, Matt Harrison and Martin Wilshaw.

You can follow WMAS FC Stoke on their facebook page (@WMAS_fc_stoke), on twitter (@wmasfcstoke) and Instagram (@wmas_fc_stoke)

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