Our winners for this year's staff awards

NEAS honours its staff and volunteers

Staff at the North East Ambulance Service were honoured today for going ‘beyond the call of duty’.

Colleagues and members of the public have nominated staff in 15 categories in the ambulance trust’s annual awards ceremony held at the Ramside Hall Hotel tonight.  The event – sponsored by law firm Ward Hadaway – is now in its 8th year.  Individual awards were sponsored by Ward Hadaway, the GMB and Unison unions, Working Time Solutions, Cleric and WAS.

Fifty five members of staff were also given long service awards for service totalling almost 1,500 years.

And the Chairman’s Award – presented by Peter Strachan – was awarded to Gerardine Hope, the head of the Trust’s call handling team in the Emergency Operations Centre.

Mr Strachan said:  “It’s an honour to mark the achievements of these members of staff who do so much fantastic work – from saving lives to delivering babies and making sure that patients get the best possible care.

“In particular, I’d delighted to present the Chairman’s Award to Gerardine.  She pioneered the forecasting of call patterns.  She introduced a workforce management structure to match staffing to demand, so that we can always anticipate how many people we need to answer callers in their hour of need.

“As service manager for call handing in the Emergency Operations Centre, she now manages more than 350 of our employees who answer patients calling NHS111 and 999, over three sites.  The centre managed more than 1.4 million calls last year. “

Chief executive Helen Ray added:  “Every day we help thousands of people across the North East, many suffering from life-threatening conditions.

“These award winners are just the tip of the iceberg.  Staff across the service show incredible professionalism, care and compassion, sometimes in very difficult circumstances, as well as all those who do so much behind the scenes.  The region should be very proud to have such dedicated people.”

Nicola Richardson, a partner at law firm Ward Hadaway who has worked alongside the Trust for many years, commented:  "Tonight is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on some amazing people doing amazing things in the course of their everyday working life.  It is inspiring, and we are very proud to be able to support these awards."

The winners of the 15 categories were:

Outstanding unscheduled care

The winner was David Hare from Haltwhistle for his sole management of a complex road traffic collision with two traumatically injured patients for 30 minutes until back up arrived.

Outstanding scheduled care

The winner was Sophie Bridgewater from Gateshead.  As she was returning back to station after her shift had ended, Sophie successfully persuaded a suicidal patient on the Tyne Bridge to seek treatment.

Outstanding call taking

The winner was Joseph Phillips.  Joseph – a 111 health advisor from Sunderland - joined our service last year.  It’s his first job and he has far exceeded his own expectations, overcoming personal challenges, delivering excellent patient care and is now progressing to take 999 calls.

Outstanding dispatch

The winners were:  The Yellow team.  In the run up to Christmas when winter pressures were at their peak, a team of dispatchers worked incredibly together to ensure the best service for patients involved in a number of traumatic incidents, from a fatal road traffic collision, a five year-old patient suffering a cardiac arrest, to the delivery of a baby whose mother was in cardiac arrest.

Outstanding support services

The winner was Laura Jordon from Ashington for her compassionate and professional approach to supporting frontline staff with their individual rotas, something which makes a real difference to employees, particularly during an unsettling period of change.

Mentor of the year

The winner was Sarah Thorpe.  Sarah is dedicated to mentoring students on top her tough role as a paramedic, teaching excellent people skills and involving her students at every turn.  In the words of Sarah’s mentee, ‘If every student had a Sarah, there would be no panicked students’.

Innovation and change

The winners were: Chris Chalmers, Ruth Corbett, Julie Cowell, Steve Jones, Wayne McKay and Paul Mills.  Led by clinical operations manager Ruth Corbett, this team has implemented a community paramedic trial in Berwick, which is helping to avoid hospital admissions, ring-fence resources for category 1 patients to the area, treat more people at home and support the local minor injuries unit and GPs, all of which is making a real difference in the area.

Team of the year

The winner was the training team.  Despite a challenging two-year period of change, the training team is recognised for ensuring the continued delivery of statutory and continued professional development of our workforce, which has ensured the quality of our service at the frontline, as well as helping to grow the clinical workforce we need to meet current demands.

Student of the year

The winner was Rebecca Wells, from Blaydon.  Proud ambulance care assistant apprentice Rebecca was nominated for her optimistic outlook and her motivation to improve the wellbeing of others, in particular her patients, with whom she has a great rapport.  

Patients’ choice

The winners were:  Philip Blance, Glen Chapman, Sheila McLachlan, David Nergaard and Jack Young.  This team was nominated by the mother of a young woman they attended who died suddenly from a blood clot on her lung.  She wanted dearly to thank recognise them for their compassion and care and the comfort she takes from knowing her daughter was surrounded by a calm, caring medical team in her final minutes, which enabled her to die peacefully, without suffering.

Leading by example

The winner was Claire Smith.  Emergency operations centre team leader Claire, from Killingworth, is nominated for having firmly established herself as an inspirational leader who is always fair, thrives on a professional work ethic and invests heavily in developing staff who have gone on to develop their skills and in some cases, secure promotions.

Compassion, respect and inclusion

The winner was Philp Blance from Newcastle.  Phil was nominated by Gateshead Hatzola Co-ordinator for his dedication to working with the Jewish community, for ensuring that they receive a culturally sensitive service and for forging a relationship built on compassion, respect and inclusion that is improving patient care.

Excellent patient care

The winner was Michael Willis.  This is a new award and Michael, from Willington in County Durahm, was chosen by the Director of Quality and Safety (Executive Nurse) using a number of measures from the CARE platform, clinical excellence reporting and patient appreciations.

Volunteer of the year

The winner was Ian Garrett from Easington.  Ian has been a volunteer community first responder for 18 years and has volunteered more than 12,000 hours and attended to 1000 patients during his time.  Having attended a cardiac arrest at Durham University where he provided crucial lifesaving life-saving CPR, he made it his personal mission to contact the university to encourage them to list all 20 defibrillators on campus so they can be accessed by the public.

Unsung hero

The winner was Sulina Hemsley.  Sulina, from Fenham in Newcastle, who is an analyst, received three nominations for her tireless work ethic and commitment to ensure that health advisors and clinicians are scheduled at the right time to deliver the best care we can to patients from the emergency operations centre.

Long service

Long service awards were also given to 55 members of staff.

Eighteen members of staff were given long service awards for 20 years’ service:  Christopher Blight, Alan Boyes, Alan Brady, David Brown, Lynn Corrigan, David Hare, Stephen Hawthorn, Mark Henderson, Thomas Jewitt, Ian Nattrass, Steven Pratt, Wendy Profit, Donald Scott, Leslie Scott, Caroline Shaw, David Shaw, Nicholas Wright and Adam Yare.

Eighteen members of staff were given long service awards for 25 years’ service:  Kerry Auld, Robert Bain, Alan Brown, Rachel Bruce, Christine Byers, Peter Cairns, Nigel Dawson, Sheldon Flanighan, David Goodall, Stephen Hayes, Simon Mobberley, Ian Oliver, Wayne Park, Christopher Richardson, Barry Stevenson, Steven Straker, Stephen Tate and Sharon Tiffen.

Fourteen members of staff were given long service awards for 30 years’ service:  Andrew Bodfield, Stephen Eke, Tracy Fowler, Karen Gardner, Dennis Grady, Irene Hodgson, Claire Jobling, James Lemin, Mark Llewellyn, Shirley Parry, Nicholas Smith, Susan Smith, Wendy Taylor and Kathryn Tennant.

Two members of staff received an award for 35 years’ service:  Chief Operating Officer Paul Liversidge and Michael Yeats.

Three members of staff received an award for 40 years’ service:  Michael Gilmore, John Holmes and Michael Peacock.

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