Ambulance "Oscars" night honours NEAS staff
Bravery and long service recognised at gala evening in Newcastle
Teary eyes and croaky voices were the order of the day as the
North East Ambulance Service gathered to honour its
Six member of staff from different branches of the service
collected Staff Recognition Awards for outstanding performance in
their particular area of expertise at a gala evening at The
Discovery Museum in Newcastle.
The winners were selected by a panel made up of NEAS Foundation
Trust Governors, and members of the NEAS Executive Team.
While NEAS holds an annual event recognising long service, this
was the first time individual awards had been given to members of
staff honouring personal achievements during the last
The Chairman's Awardwent to Bernie Breen; John Callaghan; Susan
Dixon; Neil Drummond; Martin Ganley; Shaun Ganley; Joseph Hubbard;
Gerard Thompson and Malcolm Woods.
This was for their commitment and continued support to a
placement programme within NEAS called Project Choice. It provides
opportunities for young people with learning difficulties to spend
time working within NEAS at Pallion, gaining experience which might
prove useful in the future.
The A & E Awardwent to Marianne Ellison, Paul Handley and
Paul Megson, for putting patient care first by risking their own
lives while injured at a house explosion in Gateshead earlier this
The Contact Centre Awardwas collected by Andrew Bell for
handling difficult situations on a number of occasions,
representing NEAS in court and demonstrating a consistent sincere
and caring manner.
The Patient Transport Service Awardwas won by Marie Webb for
continuing to give excellent patient care despite personal health
The Support Services Award went to Lesley Walker for mentoring
other staff in the department, for taking on extra duties, and
supporting initiatives within the trust.
Mentor of the Year Awardwent to Stephen Emms for providing
educational and emotional support to students during their
training, and for continued support after they had qualified.
Student of the Yearwas named as Matt Curtis, for his enthusiasm,
willingness to help out, and development of learning materials
which can be used to help support newly-qualified paramedics.
Long service awards were also presented to 49 members of staff,
with a combined total service with NEAS of 1,160 years!
Tony Dell, chairman of NEAS, said: "These awards are a huge and
heartfelt thank you to staff for recognition and long service. The
longest service tonight is 40 years, when the price of petrol was
just 39 pence.
"A lot has changed in the ambulance in that time, but one
constant has been the excellent service delivered by our staff on a
day-to-day basis. So how do you single out the exceptional?
"Our first recognition awards have been nominated by you, our
staff, putting forward other staff. After all, you are best placed
to identify true champions. Given that this is our first year, I am
really delighted by the responses we've had. The judges had a tough
job in picking the winners and everyone nominated is a worthy
"Sadly not everyone receiving an award could be here tonight.
That is the nature of our job. But our working hours are only
possible because of the families who support us in our jobs. I
would like to use this opportunity to thank them as well for their
Nigel Sherlock, Lord Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, said: "It is
a great honour for me to present the medals and certificates. You
have all dedicated your lives to serving the patients of this area
and it seems that all to often the recognition from the public is
"This is a remarkable service and I am honoured to be here to
give you all heartfelt thanks on behalf of the communities you
"I have witnessed how significantly the ambulance service has
changed and developed in the past years. But the front-line
services in emergency and PTS care cannot work without the support
behind the scenes; whether it's call takers or maintaining the
vehicles or some other role to provide an effective, important and
"It's like putting the final pieces of a jigsaw together which
make up a service which you should all be extremely proud."