Ambulance service welcomes new Director of Paramedicine back to the North East

Brand new role on the Trust Board aims to strengthen clinical leadership and give paramedics more representation

A new Director of Paramedicine and Allied Health Professionals is preparing to join the Board at North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

Andrew Hodge is returning to where his ambulance career began to take on the new role, where he will be responsible for influencing, shaping and leading strategy, policy and clinical transformation both within NEAS and as part of the wider regional and national health and social care systems.

NEAS will become only the fifth ambulance service in the UK to appoint such a role to the Board, which is expected to provide visible and proactive leadership for our clinical workforce.

Andrew first joined the ambulance service in 1995, working on the patient transport service in Berwick, before moving to Newcastle on qualifying as a paramedic in 1999.

His interests took him into corporate services, implementing pre-hospital electrocardiograms (ECGs) and thrombolysis before leaving the ambulance service to work for five years in the community as an advanced practitioner, which he left to work in commissioning.

He spent six years as a consultant paramedic at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, where he found a keen interest in leading on research and publications as well as developing the profession’s clinical career framework around specialist and advanced practice.

Most recently, he has been the Director of Allied Health Professions at Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, where he has learned the complexities of delivering acute services across three hospital sites and across the community. Through this role, he was also responsible for nine different allied health professional groups, leading on their career development and representing their voices across the senior leadership teams.

He is now looking forward to bringing the experience he has gained from different parts of the system back to NEAS in his new role.

He said: “Over the years, I have taken myself out of my professional comfort zone to develop into advanced and consultant practice level roles. Here, I have helped drive paramedicine forward whilst gaining a huge amount of experience which I can now bring back to the ambulance service where my paramedic identity fits most easily.

“I believe this new role is a unique and important development for paramedicine. I want to maximise the contribution that the paramedic profession can have on the services our patients receive, and develop career opportunities for our workforce so that they can, in turn, develop their skills through research, teaching and expert practice to help influence the profession’s direction of travel further.

“I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues to understand what it is they want from their professions and from their careers and, ultimately, being their voice on the board, ensuring their views are heard more clearly.

“I’m also looking forward to working with our regional partners to understand how the paramedic profession can best help the system.”

Andrew’s appointment follows the recent of appointment of Dr Kat Noble, who took up her position as the Trust’s new Medical Director on 31 January, and Julia Young, who joined the Trust as Director of Quality and Patient Safety on 27 February.

Kat has more than 20 years’ experience within primary, secondary and pre-hospital care, which has included being a national advisor for NHS111, medical director for NHS Direct and NHS Pathways and associate medical director for North West Ambulance Service.

She takes on her new role at NEAS on a part-time basis, splitting her time with her continuing role in the emergency department of Sunderland Hospital. She also serves as a clinical associate for the Emergency Care Intensive Support team (NHS Improvement) and a CQC inspector.

Julia brings over 30 years of experience of working in healthcare, including over 25 years of leadership, to her new role at NEAS. Prior to joining the ambulance service, she was Director of Nursing with the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System.

Chief executive Helen Ray said: “As an NHS Foundation Trust, we are required by statute to have a nurse and medic on our Board. However, with paramedics and other allied health professionals making up the largest part of our workforce, we feel it is the right approach to ensure there is positive representation on our Board.

“We believe Andrew will really help us strengthen our clinical leadership and we’re looking forward to working with him, Julia and Kat to rebuild, reshape and move forward our ambitions as a Trust, transforming our services to meet demands and ensure patients continue to receive high quality and safe care.”

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