Ambulance Staff Celebrated at Awards

SWASFT Paramedic Mike Merrett (centre)

The heroic and tireless efforts of staff and volunteers to deliver outstanding patient care have been recognised at a South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWASFT) awards ceremony.

The annual staff awards acknowledge those who have gone above and beyond expectations, and the dedicated service of long-standing members of staff.

Around 200 SWASFT staff and volunteers, and members of the public, who played vital roles in responding to emergency situations, came together for the event near Bristol on Friday 16 November.

SWASFT Chief Executive, Ken Wenman, said: “3,000 times a day, within the largest ambulance service in England, our people are saving lives, reducing peoples’ suffering and pain, and dealing with the social and mental health needs of our communities. I am personally thankful to them all.”

Among those staff who accepted awards were Stroud Paramedic Mike Merrett for 50 years’ dedicated service and Trowbridge Paramedic Steve Arnold for 40 years’ devoted service.

SWASFT Paramedic Mike Merrett (centre)
SWASFT Paramedic Mike Merrett (centre)

SWASFT Chairman, Tony Fox, said: “We are saying a huge and much-deserved thank you to staff and volunteers for their commitment, dedication and professionalism throughout the year.

“I continue to be overwhelmed by the level of care and compassion given to patients and their families often at times of great distress.”

Kevin Steele, 67, from Bournemouth, gave a speech thanking SWASFT staff and members of the public for saving his life when he had a cardiac arrest while driving.

Patient speaker Kevin Steele, who survived a cardiac arrest
Patient speaker Kevin Steele, who survived a cardiac arrest

He said: “I would be dead without the actions of everyone involved. Thank you so much. You’re all superheroes.”

He marked the anniversary of the incident in November 2017 by hosting CPR training at his home.

Best friends Owen Bailey and Owen Paulley, aged 13, were commended for helping a mum when her ten-month-old baby girl was swept into the sea at Weymouth.

Owen Paulley (left) and Owen Bailey with Ken Wenman. The teenagers aided a mum when her baby was swept into water at Weymouth Harbour
Owen Paulley (left) and Owen Bailey (right) with Ken Wenman. The teenagers aided a mum when her baby was swept into water at Weymouth Harbour

The best friends, with the assistance of another passer-by, aided the mum after she dived into the water at the harbour to rescue her infant.

The duo, who had been fishing when the incident happened in August, used their rods to retrieve the mum’s possessions from the sea.

The mum and baby were taken to hospital as a precaution, but the mum only sustained minor injuries and the baby was unharmed.

Owen Paulley said: “I heard a splash and turned round, and the mum was in the water. We ran over to help and stayed with her until the paramedics arrived.”

Owen Bailey’s mum, Katy, said: “They didn’t realise they were doing anything special. They just did it. And they didn’t even mention it when they got home.”

Lee Tapper and off-duty firefighter Simon Green were also recognised for their heroic efforts when they were the first people on the scene of two separate emergencies in Pewsey, Wiltshire.

Getting energy where it’s needed most with the FAST FOLD system

Renovagen Ltd has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund FAST FOLD portable solar power systems which will be donated or loaned free-of-charge to disaster relief and humanitarian charities and NGO’s. These self-sustaining renewable energy systems, which can be moved by hand and deployed extremely quickly, will reduce their dependency on fuel supplies for provision of essential life-saving power.

The FAST FOLD system consists of an Energy Hub with AC power output and up to 10kWh of energy storage housed in a robust “peli case” for outdoor use, plus flexible folding solar photovoltaic mats of up to 1.6kWp each in capacity which can be deployed in seconds by two people. It is much smaller, lighter and quicker to set up than other multi-kW portable off-grid renewable energy systems – and with single button operation is much easier to use – so it’s ideal for use by workers or volunteers at sites which are remote or have been cut-off from fuel supplies and heavy transport infrastructure. The FAST FOLD provides enough power for communications, medical equipment, lighting, water purification, laptop computers, mobile device charging and other essential equipment which disaster relief personnel rely on to deliver an effective response.

FAST FOLD solar deploys by hand in seconds
FAST FOLD solar deploys by hand in seconds

The system has been developed at Renovagen’s facility in Milton Keynes (United Kingdom), where units are also being assembled for initial orders from non-governmental and governmental organisations, charity and rural electrification projects. Renovagen previously developed the larger RAPID ROLL portable solar power system with a solar field that “unrolls like a carpet” and was successful in equity crowdfunding, raising 262,000 GBP in 2014 and 985,000 GBP in 2016 to support the development of these products.

The Indiegogo campaign, with an initial target of 50,000 USD, aims to galvanise public support for the use of smarter and more effective technology in disaster relief and humanitarian operations, in the context of an increasing number of disasters around the world every year.

John Hingley, Managing Director of Renovagen Ltd said “8.7 million displaced people currently live in temporary camps, and 80% of them don’t have access to electricity. Up to 200 natural disasters affect 160 million people worldwide every year and the majority of these involve power outages of some degree. We want to help address many of the problems encountered in running essential equipment in areas without access to fuel for generators or electricity – which in many cases can be life-saving”.

A number of high-profile NGO and charity organisations, listed on the Indiegogo campaign, have indicated their support and wish to receive FAST FOLD equipment funded in this way. Renovagen hopes to exceed the initial target by many multiples in order to deliver many more FAST FOLD systems to a range of NGO’s and charities.

Safety & security in world’s tallest modular towers.txt

Crime prevention principles developed by Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, will be incorporated into the world’s tallest modular towers, soon to be built in south London.

Croydon is set to surpass New York as home to the world’s tallest modular towers, as 101 George Street sees the construction of a 38-storey and a 44-storey tower, scaling 135 metres and providing 546 new homes. Modules will start being craned in March 2019, with completion of the development due in May 2020.

Modular Tower

The architecture draws influences from the mid-century context while using the best of modern manufacture to create the world’s tallest modular building. The façades respond to variations in orientation, views and privacy that vary across the building and each tower has its own identity through subtle variations in proportion and material.

The homes in the towers have been designed specifically for rent and will be professionally managed onsite offering residents a 24/7 service. All homes will benefit from access to shared amenities including a podium garden, roof top gardens at the top of each tower, panoramic viewing walkway, gyms, residents lounge and private dining / event rooms.

The development will provide a new civic space for Croydon at ground level- a ‘woodland winter garden’ that will offer a new green space to George Street and create a gateway to the emerging cultural quarter. The ground floor also incorporates a new art gallery space, a café and some flexible spaces which will incorporate a wide range of possible uses including business incubator spaces and artist’s studio spaces.

An SBD trained Designing Out Crime Officer from the Metropolitan Police worked with the architects at HTA Design LLP to develop the SBD principles considered in the planning application and incorporate SBD crime prevention techniques and security into the development in order to minimise the opportunities for crime.

These measures include the built environment, such as creating natural surveillance from the properties, through to the doors, windows and locks which meet Police Preferred Specification Standards. Other measures include:

  • External lighting on all street frontages, pedestrian areas and routes
  • CCTV security surveillance
  • Secure maintenance and bike store access
  • Planting edges kept to low level to avoid blind spots
  • Robust street furniture

    These measures combine to make the properties more robust and less attractive to opportunist criminals.

    The development will be the tallest modular towers in the world surpassing the current tallest prefabricated building in the world, a 32-storey block in New York. Europe’s tallest modular tower currently is a 29 storey building in Wembley.

    The scheme will be delivered in 24 months, from construction starting, to residents moving in to their new homes.

    The scheme will be built using offsite technology, with nearly 1500 modules manufactured and installed by Vision Modular Systems from their purpose-built manufacturing facility in Bedford, where the majority of the fit out is installed including windows, electrics and plumbing before the module is transported to the site in Croydon.

    This approach saves vital time during the construction process and dramatically reduces onsite waste.

Simple new technology saves pets in a recent domestic fire

The recent domestic fire in a Nottingham tower block where Blueproof was fitted, activated successfully and saved the occupier’s pets.

Blueproof is a state of the art fire suppression device that can be fitted in minutes to most domestic central heating systems. The new technology is a co-polymer cone which simply attaches to the bleed valve of a domestic radiator. In the event of a fire, the surface of the hexagonal cone closest to the heat source melts to create a minute nozzle allowing the water from the radiator to spray towards the fire.

Blue proof fitted to a radiator
Blue proof fitted to a radiator

Additionally, consider the radiator to be a kettle and as it heats the water creates steam and this has the effect of reducing the temperature of the room and it scrubs the smoke which in many cases is the cause of fatalities in domestic fires.

In this recent fire, which broke out in the kitchen on the 10th floor, Blueproof had been fitted in 2015, well before the Grenfell Fire Tragedy.

The occupier of the apartment was understandably distressed with the fire; however with no loss of life and his pets being saved, this shows the effectiveness of this simple new technology.

The cost effectiveness of Blueproof is anticipated to be very well received and allow roll out to both private and public housing stock throughout the UK.

Where a home does not have a water-based heating system, Blueproof can be simply attached to domestic appliances or water pipes within the home.

Currently available online from Blueproof for a box of three at £59.99.

blueproof.co.uk

Trust celebrates diversity with largest ever Pride turnout

With a huge turnout from South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) staff, record numbers walked for the Trust in the Brighton and Hove Pride parade, along with volunteers and representatives from other ambulance services nationally.

A total of 187 people walked alongside a specially-decorated ambulance, kindly sponsored by the Trust’s Unison and GMB unions. The Trust also experienced a busy weekend operationally with staff in its Emergency Operations Centres and ambulance crews on the road working hard to respond to patients.

The sustained hot weather saw SECAmb handle some 6,400 calls at the weekend across its region of Kent, Sussex and Surrey.

SECAmb would like to thank everyone who cheered on its representatives in the Pride parade as well as its operational staff and volunteers who worked throughout the busy weekend.

Chair of Pride in SECAmb Will Bellamy said: “We had an amazing turnout for the parade and the support of the community was very touching. It was great to be joined by colleagues from other ambulance services and NHS organisations as the NHS celebrated its 70th year. We’re very proud of the diversity of SECAmb and it is right that we celebrate it.”

Paramedic and Clinical Supervisor Ruth Copeman-Barnes said: “I have never worked for such an inclusive employer, and this is displayed through the diverse workforce and by the wonderful participation in the Brighton Pride parade. Marching as an NHS Paramedic holding my wife’s hand is the proudest feeling ever, and in turn makes me so very proud to work for SECAmb.”

SECAmb Community First Responder Beverly-Jayne Last said: “With 187, we were the biggest entrant in the parade and received the warmest love and support from the crowds. I am honoured and proud to be a volunteer with SECAmb and to walk alongside such dedicated and hardworking colleagues.”

Operating Unit Manager for Brighton, Tim Fellows added: “We know that Pride weekend is always very busy and with the hot weather added in our staff and volunteers worked especially hard. I’d like to thank everyone for their dedication and professionalism.”

Glasgow University Hospital’s helipad has 692 landings in just three years

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital’s helipad in Glasgow has seen 692 landings over the past three years. That’s an average of 230 landings every year from the Scottish Air Ambulance and Coastguard services. The average number of landings every week has also risen from three to four in comparison to when the helipad was two years old. 

Between April 2017 and April 2018, 265 patients were flown to the hospital, the majority of whom were adults and required resuscitation.  There were also thirty-nine children flown to the hospital for a range of conditions including major trauma which required intensive care treatment.

The rooftop helipad became operational in 2015 and enables patients across Scotland with critical illnesses or injuries to be flown directly to the hospital to receive immediate lifesaving treatment. The HELP Appeal, the only charity in the country dedicated to funding hospital helipads, who rely entirely on public donations,  contributed a total of £700,000 to help fund the helipad.

Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, said: “Everyone is aware of the vital roles that hospitals and air ambulances play in treating a critically ill patient, but having a helipad beside the emergency department can play a significant part too as it saves time when transporting a patient to the expert care they need to save their lives. This is why we felt compelled to get involved and help the hospital as we knew the difference having it onsite would make. “The support of the air ambulances and the excellent emergency care team at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital – this incredible team of helicopters, helipad and hospital doctors, has made a huge difference to people in Scotland, who may urgently need a blood transfusion, CT scan or any other life-saving treatment after suffering a critical illness or injury.”

Three Leek teens commended

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has recognised three members of the public for their actions at a serious incident.

In January, Elliot Brough, 17, Kirk Plant, 17, and Kyle Hassall, 17, stopped to help at the scene of a serious road traffic collision in Cheddleton Road, Cheddleton, near Leek. 

The driver was reported to have suffered a cardiac arrest at the wheel and the three teens immediately took action, working alongside the Community First Responder making efforts to carry out CPR on the driver and provide support to his distressed wife. 

Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant said: “The actions the three teens took were above and beyond their years, or what most passing members of the public may carry out and they played a pivotal role in the attempts to resuscitate the man prior to the arrival of the emergency services. Sadly, despite the best efforts of everyone involved the man did not recover and our thoughts remain with his family. These commendations are awarded to recognise and thank Elliot, Kirk and Kyle for their quick thinking and the compassion they displayed during an extremely difficult situation.”

Air Ambulance Chief Executive receives top honour

Jane Gurney, Chief Executive of Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, was named Director of the Year in the ‘Public/Third Sector’ category by the Institute of Directors (IoD) for the East of England in June.

Mrs Gurney received her award from IoD Director General Stephen Martin at a celebratory lunch held in the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket. Nominations for the award were received from IoD branches across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire.

She said: “I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of everyone who has helped to make Essex & Herts Air Ambulance what it is today. Being recognised in this way is a validation of the work my team and I have put in to growing the charity and this award will help raise the profile of the charity and increase awareness of our life-saving work.

“It is a privilege to lead such a committed and dedicated team and to be able to share this success with them and our supporters.”

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance hosts groundbreaking aeromedical conference

Delegates travelled from across the UK to attend the annual Aeromedical Conference organised by Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT).

The theme for the event, sponsored by Specialist Aviation Services, Leonardo Helicopters and Anglia Ruskin University was ‘Paediatrics – Our Care, Their Future’. Speakers focused on the causes, prevalence and changing face of paediatric cases and care in pre-hospital medicine.

The audience of 350 delegates were welcomed by Jane Gurney, CEO of EHAAT and Dr Susan Madden, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medical Science at ARU and Dr Ronan Fenton, Medical Director of EHAAT.

Among the speakers was Claire Smith, whose infant daughter Milli was airlifted to hospital by EHAAT in 2014. Their Critical Care Team quickly recognised that exceptionally low blood glucose levels had caused her to stop breathing.

The day included presentations from Paediatric Registrar Dr Hannah Pool, Consultant Trauma Resuscitation Anaesthetist Dr Richard Smith, Adam Carr of EHAAT, Air Ambulance Paramedic of the Year, Dr Nigel Hare of Devon Air Ambulance and Andrew Morris MBE, a helicopter transfer practitioner on board the Wales Air Ambulance transfer aircraft.

The keynote addresses were by Dr Allan Goldman from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and Dr James Tooley of the Great Western Air Ambulance.

Ben Myer, Conference Lead and Clinical Manager at Essex & Herts Air Ambulance said: “We are delighted that so many of our colleagues from across the country were able to join us to share knowledge.

“After winning Innovation of the Year at the Association of Air Ambulance Awards for last year’s event, we wanted to ensure that we continue to push boundaries in our Aeromedical conferences going forward. The feedback we have had from delegates so far has been very positive.

“Working with children in traumatic situations is a reality for many of us – from pre-hospital care to frontline staff in all three emergency services, family liaison and more. As care providers, it is our duty to open up about our experiences so far, and focus on how we can provide the most effective care to future generations.” 

Conference delegate Sam Robinson, a student paramedic said: “The day has been informative and interesting. I can’t believe this is a free event, the standard has been so high.

“There have been lots of opportunities to learn from doctors and paramedics. Thanks to all concerned. Everyone involved in pre-hospital care should be encouraged to attend.”

Topics discussed during the day included:

  • Whether ‘down-time’ in paediatric arrests is a good prognosticator
  • The importance of dealing with fears and anxieties before treating children
  • The value of training and being familiar with equipment in high pressure situations
  • How and what we can learn from other industries
  • Developing new systems for the benefit of patients and their families
  • Continuing to learn from malicious threats and incidents
  • Caring for each other and thinking about how paediatric cases might continue to affect us

Experienced pilot rejoins Wiltshire Air Ambulance at new airbase

Experienced helicopter pilot Rob Backus says he is delighted to have rejoined Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Rob flew the MD902 Explorer for three years when the charity was sharing the helicopter with Wiltshire Police.  When the joint helicopter contract came to an end in December 2014, Rob moved into Search and Rescue with Bristow Helicopters,
flying the Sikorsky 92 all round the UK.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance is now a stand-alone air ambulance and the charity is set
to move to its new airbase at Semington, near Melksham. 

Rob, said: “It’s great to be back. I leapt at the opportunity to rejoin Wiltshire Air Ambulance in our brand new purpose-built airbase, flying the latest generation helicopter and working alongside first class paramedics saving lives day and night.”

Rob was at the new airbase when the building was officially handed over to the charity last month and joined colleagues in watching Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Bell 429 helicopter flying in and landing on the helipad for the first time.

He said: “Watching our helicopter fly in and land at the new airbase was a really special moment. The building looks absolutely fantastic and I think working there will make the charity more efficient, as the operational staff and the charity staff will both be there, and it will be a more welcoming facility for our supporters and patients to visit.”

Rob, who lives in Penselwood, Somerset, and is married with two daughters, has been a helicopter pilot for nineteen years and has flown 3,400 hours. 

He began flying at the age of seventeen thanks to a Royal Navy flying scholarship, before joining the Royal Navy for nineteen years. The final ten years of his military service were in the Fleet Air Arm flying the EH101 Merlin all round the world on operations. Rob was the first Royal Navy pilot to go through ab-initio training for the Merlin helicopter.

Rob knew all of the pilots and many of the paramedics at Wiltshire Air Ambulance before he re-joined in February as a full-time pilot. He had not flown a Bell 429 helicopter before, but has been impressed with its features.

“It’s more hi-tech and modern, particularly with electronic screens. It’s also a fast helicopter, it’s smooth and has sufficient space in the back for the patient and paramedics. It’s a very clearly laid out aircraft and I like the display in the cockpit,” he said.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has to raise £3.25 million a year to keep flying and saving lives and Rob is full of admiration for everyone who fundraises for the charity, supported by the hard-working fundraising and administrative team. 

He said: “Everyone who donates or fundraises for us makes a huge difference. Any donation, however small, helps to keep us flying and saving lives.”

A keen sports enthusiast, Rob is going to be fundraising for Wiltshire Air Ambulance by running the Bath Half Marathon in 2019, postponed from this year due to snowy conditions. He has also uploaded a photo for the heli mosaic which will be created at the new airbase.