Five members of staff from South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) have been invited to join other NHS staff, senior government and political leaders, health leaders and celebrities at a service at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the NHS 75th birthday.
The service to be held at 11am on Wednesday, 5 July, will include an address by NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard. Guests in the Abbey will include around 1,500 NHS staff as well as some famous names and NHS Charities Together.
The five members of staff attending the service from SCAS are:
- Sandie Jackson, hospital liaison officer (patient transport service) at Royal Surrey County Hospital
- Susan Smyth, 111 clinical shift manager based at the clinical co-ordination centre in Bicester
- Julie Bailey, paramedic and clinical team educator based at Nursling, Southampton
- Kathy Oakshott, emergency despatcher based at the clinical co-ordination centre in Otterbourne
- Elaine Herman, administration assistant based at Trust Headquarters in Bicester
Sandie has worked for SCAS for the last six years, initially starting as a volunteer community first responder before then taking up a role as an ambulance care assistant. She has been in her current role for the last three-and-a-half years. Sandie was the first member of staff in the Trust to be vaccinated against Covid and remained working in the Royal Surrey County Hospital during the pandemic. She led the creation of a Covid ‘wash down area’ on site at the hospital for patient transport service staff, saving hundreds of hours of time so crews did not need to return to base to clean down between patient journeys. She has also developed key initiatives at the hospital to help improve discharges and transfers, many of which have been rolled out to other hospitals after their success.
Sandie said: “I am so proud to be nominated to represent our non-emergency patient transport service and share in the 75th year celebration of the NHS. The NHS family is full of many, many special people who have made the difference to so many during the pandemic. I am looking forward to being part of an amazing event at such a beautiful venue and to share the experience with colleagues from across the country.”
Sue Smyth said: “I am about to retire after 45 years working in the NHS – I have no idea where that time has gone! I have worked for SCAS as part of the NHS 111 team for the last 10 years and I am delighted to have been nominated to attend this prestigious event. It is the perfect way to round off my career.”
Julie added: “I joined the Hampshire Ambulance Service in 1984, initially as a radio operator in the control room before training to become a technician and then qualifying as a paramedic in 1991. I have worked in a number of operational roles and love my current one as a clinical team educator. I have seen huge changes within the ambulance service and NHS in my time and it feels very special to be invited to the 75th birthday celebrations in Westminster Abbey. It’s a day I’m really looking forward to.”
May Parsons, an associate chief nurse who delivered the world’s first Covid vaccine outside of a clinical trial in December 2020, will carry the George Cross into the Abbey in a procession. May received the medal from Queen Elizabeth II, along with NHS England chief executive, Amanda Pritchard and representatives from the other UK health services at Windsor Castle in July 2022.
She will be joined by 17-year-old Kyle Dean-Curtis, St John Ambulance cadet of the year, who wants to work in the NHS, and 91-year-old Enid Richmond, who was one of the first people to work in the NHS as a junior clerical worker whose sister still volunteers in the health service.
Prayers will be read by health and social care secretary, Steve Barclay, chief nurse Dame Ruth May, NHS national medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, chief allied health professions officer, Professor Suzanne Rastick OBE, and Richard Webb-Stephens, a paramedic who was first on scene of the Westminster Bridge terror attack and who holds the Queen’s Ambulance Medal for Distinguished Service.
Testimonies will also be given by Dame Elizabeth Anionwu OM, the UK’s first sickle cell nurse, academic and author, Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, and Dr Martin English and Dr Michael Griksaitis, NHS consultants who jointly led a team who extracted 21 Ukrainian children with cancer over to the UK from Poland in March 2022, following the Russian invasion.