SCAS paramedic Gerry Lea has been named Air Ambulance Paramedic of the Year at the Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence 2015 for his role in a challenging patient rescue earlier this year.
Citing ‘exemplary patient care’, the award was given to Gerry for his vital intervention whilst on shift with the Thames Valley Air Ambulance when he jumped into the River Thames at Wallingford in May to rescue a man who had become critically unwell in the water.
With a steep river bank, and no way to get the patient out without extra assistance, Gerry held the patient up and monitored his condition in the water for 25 minutes, which greatly contributed to his life being saved.
Gerry was thrilled with his win. He said: “I am incredibly proud and humbled to receive an award for a job that I absolutely love. I am just a small part of an amazing team, not just Thames Valley Air Ambulance, but everyone from the first responders right through to the receiving hospitals. It is without doubt that I couldn’t do the job I do without such fantastic support and a dedicated team who put patient welfare at the forefront of what we do.”
SCAS Paramedic Lisa Brown was with Gerry at the scene and said: “I am so impressed with Gerry’s actions. What he did was over and above his call of duty and he will stop at nothing to ensure he is delivering the best possible care to his patients, even in the most challenging of circumstances. He is truly a remarkable and highly skilled paramedic. We are so grateful to have his dedication and devotion to the job he loves as part of the team and it’s something we all admire and learn from. He thoroughly deserves this award.”
“I have worked with Gerry for over 10 years both on air ambulance operations and within the South Central Ambulance Service. Gerry is a consummate air ambulance HEMS crew member, a first class clinical mentor and great colleague for whom I have the highest professional regard. This is not the first time that Gerry has placed himself potentially in harm’s way in order to provide emergency care to his patients at times of great need.” John Black, SCAS Medical Director
The Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence took place on 16 November in London. BBC News presenter Sophie Long and Helicopter Heroes presenter Rav Wilding handed out 11 Awards to outstanding individuals and teams, whose stories were inspirational, astonishing and humbling. The awards, which are independently judged, went to pilots, paramedics, doctors, fundraisers and volunteers from air ambulance services across the UK.
Community First Responders are urgently needed to help save more lives in Denham, Gerrards Cross, Amersham, Chesham, High Wycombe, Beaconsfield, Langley and other areas of Buckinghamshire.
The volunteer responders are called by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) to attend potentially life-threatening incidents, such as cardiac arrests or strokes – often helping to save lives of people in their local communities by being at a scene very quickly in those crucial first few moments before paramedics arrive.
The need for CFRs is particularly pressing in Gerrards Cross which is without a CFR to cover the town’s 8,000+ population, along with Denham and Langley which only have one remaining CFR in each area.
Bob Davy has been volunteering as a Community First Responder in Prestwood since November 2012.
“Having retired from a full-time job, I still wanted to do something useful in the community and becoming a CFR was something that really appealed”, says Bob. “You never know what you will be called to and you always learn something new each time. We’re always backed up by an ambulance crew but being able to get to people in a couple of minutes means we can start providing some treatment and also give the patient, and any friend or family member with them, some much needed reassurance: help has arrived and more help is on its way. Being a CFR is an amazing way to help your community and there is no greater job satisfaction than helping others!”
Today SCAS is appealing for more people like Bob to volunteer to become a Community First Responder in Buckinghamshire and make a lifesaving difference to their local community. Whilst CFRs are urgently needed in Denham, Gerrards Cross, Amersham, Chesham, High Wycombe, Beaconsfield and Langley, SCAS would welcome enquiries from people living anywhere in Buckinghamshire – whether in a town or village – to come forward.
Community First Responders come from all walks of life. If you are interested in joining SCAS as a volunteer you will need to be over the age of 18, physically fit and healthy, able to carry out effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for up to 20 minutes (after training) and be a car owner with a full UK driving licence.
“Community First Responders (CFRs) are extremely important. Because each CFR lives or works in their ‘patch’, they can often reach a patient a few minutes earlier than an emergency ambulance. They have the skills and equipment to immediately begin assessing and treating the patient before the paramedics arrive and those few minutes can make all the difference between life and death.” Marc Lister
Community First Responders (CFRs) receive full training by SCAS to provide life-saving treatment and if they are sent to an emergency they are always backed up with the nearest available ambulance. Every six months, all CFRs must complete training to refresh their skills and there are optional monthly training sessions they can attend too.
Nic Morecroft, Lead Community Response Manager for SCAS, said: “Our Community First Responders make a vital difference in their communities and save lives every day. With the demand of emergency ambulances increasing every year, the role of the CFR has never been
more important than it is today. That’s why we are carrying out this urgent appeal to ask more people to volunteer to help save lives in their local community. I am incredibly proud of the work our CFRs do and if this sounds like something you would like to be part of in your community, we would love to hear from you.”
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A Hampshire resident has praised South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) staff who came to his aid after a bad fall whilst outdoors earlier this summer.
John Gosslinn, 71, from Chandlers Ford, was at Lakeside near Eastleigh on 17 July when he stepped over a metal chain fence, caught his foot and fell awkwardly, resulting in a serious arm injury.
John’s injury meant that he had a large skinflap on his right forearm, from his elbow to half way down his arm.
SCAS ambulance crew Karen Parker, Stuart Simpson and Jim Edwards arrived on scene and assessed and treated John’s injury.
They recognised that although John’s arm injury looked serious, it could be treated by an Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP) as their clinical expertise means that they are trained in advanced wound care techniques.
The crew arranged via SCAS’s Clinical Coordination Centre (CCC) in Otterbourne, to send ECP Matt Holbrook to John’s home.
Matt Holbrook, Emergency Care Practitioner and Consultant Nurse Trainee for SCAS, said: “I attended to John at his home after the ambulance crew had referred him via the Clinical Support Desk for an Emergency Care Practitioner to come and review his wound. The ambulance crew had cleaned the wound to his right forearm, replaced the skin the best they could and applied a temporary damp dressing. The ambulance crew had also taken a picture on their electronic patient record (ePR) so that both Clinical Support Desk in our Clinical Coordination Centre in Otterbourne and I could see it prior to me going to see John.
“Once there I removed the ambulance crew’s dressing and gave the wound a further clean, then replaced the jigsaw of skin back into position, applied steristrips and dressed the wound.
“I advised John to be aware of any signs of infection and asked him to go and see his practice nurse at his GP surgery in a few days’ time so that they can check that the treatment was all going to plan.
“Although superficial, the wound area was large and covered most of his forearm.”
John explains: “Paramedics first assisted me after my accident then I went home and Matt the Emergency Care Practitioner arrived and did an amazing job painstakingly fitting the skin on my arm back together like a jigsaw puzzle.
“I cannot fault either of the services I received that night.”
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) are celebrating a new potentially lifesaving partnership which launched officially this week in Hungerford which is the first of its kind in Berkshire.
Mark Ainsworth (Director of Operations) Nic Morecroft (Lead Community Response Manager) Dave Hamer (CFR Training and Liaison Officer) and Steve Gooch (Co-Responder Officer) from SCAS joined the Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Colin Dudley, Chief Fire Officer Andy Fry and members of the Fire Authority to officially launch the co-responding scheme and recognise its success to date.
Nic Morecroft, Lead Community Response Manager from South Central Ambulance Service said: “We are pleased to have embarked on this new partnership with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and are incredibly grateful for their commitment and support in order to get it up and running for the benefit of the community. Having the Co-Responder scheme in Hungerford will complement our already Community Responder Scheme and Public Accessible Defibrillators which are also in the area helping to save more lives.”
Co-Responders are retained firefighters from Hungerford Fire Station trained by SCAS to provide a ‘first response’ to specific medical emergencies where there is an immediate threat to life prior to an emergency ambulance arriving on scene. This new Co-Responder scheme started running as a pilot on 22 June and aims to ensure that an appropriately trained person is on scene as quickly as possible providing that first response prior to the arrival on an ambulance. In cases of cardiac arrest the chances of a person’s survival decrease by 14% for every minute that without early defibrillation. The introduction of the Co-Responders means that we are able to attend and provide basic lifesaving skills and support to our patients quicker than ever before.
Group Manager Neil Carter, who manages the co-responding scheme for RBFRS, said: “One of our strategic commitments is to seek opportunities to contribute to a broader safety, health and wellbeing agenda. Working in partnership with South Central Ambulance Service to provide a co-responding scheme in Hungerford is just one of the ways we are achieving this and, by doing so, we hope that we can help to save more lives.
“As the firefighters only take part in Co-Responding when we have sufficient availability, it has no impact on our ability to provide retained cover in Hungerford. Since the scheme started in June, we have been averaging one call per day. It has been working so well that we are potentially looking to roll it out in other parts of the county in the future.”
Help your local ambulance service to help those who really need our help
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) strives to provide the best care for patients.
We are continuing to experience increased levels of demand on our services and urge the public not to call us unless they are in a life threatening situation.
Our staff remain extremely busy and are working hard to get to our most life threatening patients as a priority. However, there could be delays in responding to patients who are not suffering from life threatening symptoms.
We are urging the public to use our services appropriately and only call 999 if absolutely essential. If you are suffering an injury or illness which is non-life threatening then please use the most appropriate service available to you.
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is asking people to help them to help those who really need an ambulance response by accessing the service appropriately. This means calling 999 ONLY for life-threatening situations and medical emergencies.
Flu and colds
One-third of Britons think flu is just a bad cold, but each year thousands of people die of complications following flu. Click here to download the ‘Treat yourself better with pharmacist advice’ leaflet or the Winter medicine cabinet leaflet to find out how colds and flu differ.
Always try to pick the right place at the right time on life-threatening injury or illness can be treated by accessing the appropriate NHS service. If you are not suffering from a life-threatening emergency but require medical advice or treatment there are several different options available to you.
- Call NHS 111
- Call your Out of Hours GP Service
- Go to your local Walk-in-Centre or your Minor Injuries Unit
- Go to the Emergency Department (ED) at your local hospital
- Consult your local Pharmacist
Will Hancock, Chief Executive of South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), is inviting local people across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, to join him in celebrating the achievements of the Trust’s staff over the past year and to take up the opportunity to provide their views on SCAS’s plans for the future.
The Trust is holding its Annual General Meeting and Annual Members Meeting on Wednesday 30 September 2015 at The Ark Conference Centre, Dinwoodie Drive in Basingstoke from 3.30pm – 5.30pm. Will and other members of the Trust’s Executive Board will be in attendance and are looking forward to meeting and speaking with local people from across the four counties.
We will also be holding a Board meeting in public, prior to the Annual General Meeting, at 12.30pm, which members are welcome to attend.
The day will look back over the achievements of the Trust, including the fact that SCAS’s Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC) survival rates are the best in the country at 39.08% (YTD Jan 15), which demonstrates that people who have experienced a cardiac arrest are given the best chance of survival. Other presentations will cover some of the challenges SCAS has faced over the past year, as well as provide a number of updates including clinical research and trials that SCAS is conducting, and how the Trust is committed to training more members of the public to commence CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) as soon as possible should they encounter a friend, colleague or stranger suffering a cardiac arrest, to increase the patient’s chances of survival.
Will said: “I always look forward to attending the AGM/AMM as it’s a great opportunity to tell people about the fantastic work our staff do day in, day out, as well as share some of our exciting plans for the future.
“I’d urge everyone who has an interest in their NHS to attend, as this meeting is one of the ways we can involve local people so that they can let us know what they think we do well and where we could improve.”