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July 2019

SWASFT receives prestigious inclusivity award

Grant Neems congratulates CEO Ken Wenman

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) has been awarded the prestigious Disability Confident Leader status by the Department for Work and Pensions.   This is the highest level awardable under the Disability Confident brand and SWASFT is the first Ambulance Trust to be awarded the status and one of only 63 companies nationally to achieve this.  

The Government driven national scheme aims to change people’s behaviour across the workforce to include people of all capabilities to have a successful career.

Disability Confident organisations play a leading role in changing attitudes for the better, championing Disability Confident in local and business communities, in order to reap the benefit of inclusive recruitment practices.

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Pluss, a national social enterprise that supports people with disabilities into employment, supported and validated the application to Leader status, and will become integrated into SWASFT recruitment process.

Grant Neems, Employer Services Manager from the Pluss said SWASFT should be proud: “This is a prestigious award and gives independent, external recognition to the first Ambulance Trust in the country to achieve this status. There has been a tremendous amount of work and commitment from SWASFT to make this happen.”

Only five other NHS organisations in the country have this award status. Pluss is an award-winning Community Interest Company that supports thousands of people each year to achieve a career and fulfil their true potential.

SWASFT’s Executive Director for People and Culture, Amy Beet, said; “We are committed to supporting people with disabilities throughout their employment and to grow their careers within our organisation. SWASFT is an inclusive employer and is working with our people across the organisation to further improve their employment experience and to ensure our opportunities are open and accessible to those who wish to join our organisation, irrespective of their background or individual needs.   We are proud to be recognised as a Disability Confident Leader and look forward to progressing our work in this area which will be to the benefit of both our current employees and those yet to join our team.

Pluss’s employment operations help jobseekers who need the most specialist support to find work. Their enterprise operations will run alongside SWASFT recruitment processes to create direct employment opportunities in a wide range of job roles across the Trust. The company uses the inclusive tag line #NoOneLeftBehind.

Family Reunited With Ambulance Team After Emergency Birth

A new-born baby boy and his parents have been reunited with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) team who delivered him in an emergency home birth.

Nurse Heidi Husted, 31, went into labour at her house in the Kingswood area of Bristol on Friday 5 July – five days after her due date.

Baby Harry was born at 3.21pm, less than two hours later, weighing 8 lbs 4oz. He is Heidi and Jac’s first child.

To listen to Jac's 999 call, click here.  

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During a special meet-up at Bristol Ambulance Station on Monday 22 July, Heidi and Jac expressed thanks to the team for helping Harry to be born safely.

Heidi said: “That day was an absolute whirlwind. No one could have expected such a quick labour, and to be welcoming our son into the world so soon.

“I was panicking before the crews arrived. But they were so lovely, reassuring and calming – and really kept me going. They encouraged me to breathe, and ensured Harry was delivered safely. We went from a situation of panic to having a positive birth experience. We’re hugely thankful to them. What a wonderful team of professionals! We’re over the moon that we’ve been able to thank them in person.”

Heidi and Jac had hoped their new son would be born at home.

On the day of the birth, Heidi went into hospital for a check-up because her waters had broken. But she was discharged because she wasn’t showing any signs of being in labour.

However, she soon began having strong and frequent contractions - and started to bleed. Jac called the midwife who advised him to ring 999.

Steph Ruby, a 999 call handler in the SWASFT 999 Control Centre, instructed Jac how to prepare for the birth, while dispatcher Lee Collins organised for crews to be sent to help.

Paramedic Tom Abbott and Emergency Care Assistant Sam Francombe arrived minutes later after being diverted from another emergency call.

They were followed by Paramedic Mark Baldwyn, Emergency Care Assistant Holly Bowden and Student Paramedic Libys McGuinness.

Both mum and baby were well enough to go home the same day.

Paramedic Mark said: “It was a team effort to deliver their baby at home. We’re really grateful that they got in touch to thank us.”  

Inayah, 7, Praised For Brave 999 Call For Mum

A seven-year-old girl has been officially commended for saving her mum when she had a severe allergic reaction to an ice cream.

Mariyam Yasmin, 31, had an anaphylactic shock after consuming a Nestle Nobbly Bobbly ice lolly at home in the Moorlands area of Bath.

She was struggling to breathe, shaking, and needed urgent medical help.

Her daughter, Inayah, called 999 and told South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) Call Handler Lydia Gardiner what was wrong.

To listen to Inayah's 999 call, click here

Inayah remained calm, was able to give her mum a vital injection, and greeted crews when they arrived.

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Mariyam was taken to hospital for observation following the incident on 30 June.

Inayah made a special visit with her family to the SWASFT Control Centre in Bristol on Wednesday 24 July to be formally recognised for her actions.

She was presented with a certificate from SWASFT Chief Executive Ken Wenman to congratulate her for knowing what to do in an emergency. 

Inayah said: “I tried to stay calm and not be scared. I’m pleased mummy is better now.”

Marijam said: “It felt like someone was trying to strangle me. I couldn’t breathe properly. It was really scary.

“Thankfully Inayah knew exactly what to do, and she did everything perfectly. We’re so proud of her.”

Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Lydia, praised Inayah.

She said: “Inayah was fantastic. She confidently told me her address, and said her mum was having an allergic reaction after eating an ice cream. She remained so calm and told me exactly what was happening.

“I was very impressed when she gave her mum her EpiPen straight away, before I even gave her the instructions. She knew exactly what to do. She answered all my questions perfectly, and listened really well to everything. She really was brilliant and is a credit to her mum.”

Mariyam said Inayah had been curious about what to do in an emergency after seeing an elderly man fall over in the street. So Inayah’s dad, Juhal, taught her how to respond.

She said: “Inayah was very curious. So her dad explained what to do, and taught her how to use the house phone which she used to call 999. She’s even memorised our postcode.”

Control Room Dispatcher Victoria Fido organised for crews to attend the incident.

Paramedics Alex Nicolson and Rebecca Fey were the first responders on scene. They were followed by Paramedic Heidi Hodgson and Emergency Care Assistant Tina Robins.

Paramedic Rebecca Fey said: “Little Inayah was standing at the front door when we arrived, and took us to her mummy. Then she announced that she needed to contact her daddy, because he was at work. She was so calm and brave in a scary situation.”

Mariyam will have a test in hospital next month in a bid to find out the exact nature of her allergy.

SWASFT encourages parents to teach their children what to do in an emergency.

That includes showing them how to call 999, making sure they know their address, and ensuring they are aware of any known health problems in the family. 

Man Sentenced For Attack On Paramedic

James Ryan

A Dorset Paramedic from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is urging ambulance colleagues to report any abuse they receive from the public whilst out treating patients on the frontline. As part of the ongoing awareness campaign #Unacceptable, James wanted to share his story in order to change behaviour towards emergency staff.

Paramedic, James Ryan from Dorset, was subjected to a brutal attack in the back of an ambulance when he was trying to treat the patient for a head injury, after the man had taken an unknown substance.

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The paramedic says “It was really scary, my glasses were knocked off and I was pinned down helplessly under the full weight of this man, getting punched.”

The man has now been convicted by Weymouth Magistrates to eight weeks in prison and ordered to pay £100 compensation to the paramedic. He pleaded guilty to ‘Assault by beating of an emergency worker.’

James was punched and thrown around the back of the ambulance before being rescued by his partner in the front seat who called the police. The man was arrested, although it took four police officers to pin him down due to his drug induced strength.

James said: “I would urge anyone who goes through the same to report it to the police and your senior teams. If we act together against this type of violent behaviour we will get through to people – this is just unacceptable.”

Ken Wenman, Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service, said: “Like all our emergency services colleagues, our crews and control staff work in extremely difficult circumstances and are often under threat of attack or abuse. This is totally unacceptable and we will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that our staff are protected and those responsible for such attacks are prosecuted.”

South Western Ambulance Charity logo

South Western Ambulance Charity

The South Western Ambulance Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the care that you or your loved one has received from us in the form of a charitable donation please visit our online giving website: Donate to South Western Ambulance Charity | Give as you Live Donate