Queen's Ambulance Medal for IT director in Birthday Honours
Paul Nicholson, assistant director of IT at the North East Ambulance Service, has been awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal in the 2019 Birthday Honour’s list. He is the first ‘non-uniformed’ recipient of the prestigious honour.
The award is presented to recognise distinguished service in the ambulance service and is awarded in recognition of the enormous contribution and influence Paul has made in his 24-year career in the ambulance trust.
Interim Chief Executive Paul Liversidge said: “While the medics and clinicians in the NHS are often recognised, Paul has worked behind-the-scenes on the IT systems that have made a genuine difference to the care we can deliver to our patients.
“Paul has been instrumental in bringing to life the vision of a single point of telephone access for urgent and unscheduled care. His skill at joining up IT systems between the ambulance service, hospitals and primary care that have never previously been connected has allowed for patients to be directed immediately to the right care in the right place in the right time.”
This model became the first single point of telephone access for non-emergency care that was piloted in Durham. Paul was a key player in later ensuring that NEAS became the first NHS111 provider and was integral to renewing another five year contract in 2018.
The result of Paul’s efforts has meant that thousands of patients who would have gone to A&E have now received safe, reliable and faster treatment, closer to home, than would ever have been possible previously.
Paul Nicholson, aged 47, is married and lives in Sunderland. He has two children. He said: “I am honoured to have received this award and have loved working throughout my career in the NHS to develop and support patient care. This award is as much a recognition for those who have helped and supported me throughout the years.
“It is a real privilege to work alongside such dedicated people in the health service and no more so than in the ambulance service today. The dedication and commitment of the staff at NEAS is a testament to the fantastic service we have in our region.”
Paul is now leading the ambulance sector on the global digital exemplar having delivered and been recognised for other key technological achievements including:
1. First service to roll out the airwave digital radio and communications system service wide
2. The longest continuous use of electronic patient care records within an ambulance trust
3. Successfully collaborated with the wider North East health system to deliver access to the region-wide Messaging Interoperability Gateway (MIG) via the stand-alone record viewer
4. Successfully delivered the ambulance response programme national requirements.