Welcome to SWASFT

June 2018


David Lucas

A motorcyclist who was seriously injured in a late-night collision with a deer has been reunited with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) paramedics who saved his life.

David Lucas, 59 from Dorchester, sustained life-changing injuries when he hit the animal on the A354 as he was riding home from a work shift as a bus driver.

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He was given a ‘50/50’ chance of survival, after being thrown from his bike on Wednesday 8 July 2015 at around 1.30am.

At a special event at Dorchester Ambulance Station on Thursday (21 June), David thanked members of the SWASFT crew and the 999 caller who saved him.

He said: “I’m very grateful to everyone involved. They’ve given me three more years of living on this earth. I must’ve had the wrong insurance to go through the Pearly Gates!”

David said he saw the animal run across the road ahead of him, before it backtracked into his path and died on impact.

“I remember everything up until the moment of the crash. I’ve been trying to piece together what happened afterwards,” he said.

Weymouth milkman, Colin Woodsford, was travelling to work when he saw the motorbike on the road. He stopped at the scene, spotted David lying in a grass verge almost 20 metres away from his bike, and dialled 999.

“I saw some boots in the long grass and went to have a look,” he said. “It was pure luck that I found him. I realised he was alive, but it did look pretty nasty.”

Pippa Roncarelli, in the SWASFT 999 Control Room, assessed David’s condition over the phone and ensured crews went to the exact location.

SWASFT Emergency Care Practitioner Tony Brind (now retired) arrived first in a rapid response vehicle, followed by ambulance crew Wendy Austin and Allan Rudd. Operations Officer, Mike Rowland, also attended the incident.

Mike said: “The scene was a mess, with the damaged motorbike and remains of the deer on the road. David was lying on his back, semi-conscious. He really wasn’t very well.”

SWASFT clinicians transported David to Dorset County Hospital in a critical condition. He was then transferred to Southampton General Hospital with a serious head injury.

His other injuries included two cracked ribs, a punctured lung, a ruptured spleen, a fractured collar bone, and a fracture to his left eye socket which resulted in partial sight loss.

David was put into an induced coma for four weeks. He remained in hospital for another six weeks, before continuing his recovery at home.

He was later diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He has been unable to ride or work since the incident for medical reasons.

Mike added: “Thankfully these kinds of incidents are rare. It’s clearly had a massive impact on David. But it’s been a pleasure to be able to meet up with him.”

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Someone with PTST may relive the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks.

The majority of people exposed to traumatic events do experience some short-term distress, which usually resolves without the need for professional intervention.

Some people with PTSD may find it difficult to control and process their emotions. They may display symptoms including shortness of breath, tight muscles, excessive sweating and raised heart rate. They may feel constantly on edge, always anxious about events repeating, and unable to remain calm in what should be manageable circumstances.

More information on PTSD can be found here from Mind, the mental health charity.

Always call 999 in a medical emergency – when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk


Cornish cancer nurse, Lynn Dunne, who works for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, has been announced as a finalist in the 2018 RCNi Nurse Awards, the UK’s most prestigious nursing accolade.

Lynn is a key member of a pioneering project between Macmillan Cancer Support and the Trust to help manage symptom control for cancer patients.

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As a Macmillan cancer care development facilitator, Lynn is enabling paramedics to improve symptom control for patients with cancer or at the end of life, ensuring they can remain in their own homes where appropriate.

Patients in rural areas who have difficulty engaging with primary care services or who are not covered by an out-of-hours community nursing service were being taken to hospital when medications had run out, or for symptoms which could be addressed at home.

Lynn and fellow project team colleague, Louise Pennington, wrote patient group directions and trained paramedics to administer the four commonly used 'Just in Case' medications. Paramedics have also been trained to help patients manage symptoms such as breathlessness in advanced cancer.

Rachel Armitage, Managing Director at RCNi, said, “The RCNi panel of professional judges voted Lynn Dunne as a finalist because of her incredible story and because of the impact she has had on people with cancer. With the nursing shortage high on the national agenda, it’s important that we give nurses like Lynn the recognition they deserve, and we look forward to celebrating her work at the awards in July.”

The RCNi Nurse Awards identify and celebrate nurses who, every day, go above and beyond to save lives, provide outstanding care for patients and transform nursing practice for the better. Just five inspirational finalists for each award category have been chosen from more than 700 entries and Lynn is a finalist in the Cancer Nursing Award category.

The hunt for Britain’s nursing heroes started back in December 2017, led by Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway, and will culminate in a glamorous awards ceremony on 4 July in central London. Nurses were able to nominate themselves or their colleagues across 14 different categories ranging from mental health and cancer, to emergency and student nursing.

Kate Garraway, RCNi Nurse Awards Ambassador 2018, said, "The 2018 RCNi Nurse Award finalists are all incredible. So often nurses don’t get the recognition they deserve and I can’t wait to celebrate their hard work and dedication at the ceremony in July – if it was up to me I’d crown them all as winners.”

Lynn will now go through to the interview stage of the judging process, ahead of the awards ceremony in July.


Inspectors at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have rated NHS 111 services in Dorset as ‘Good’.

Following a recent inspection, the service, which is run by South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) was found to have improved, and is now rated as ‘Good’ across all five domains. 

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The Trust provides a 24-hour telephone-based service to a population of 1.3 million people living in Dorset who need non-emergency medical advice over the phone. The service is free and is supported by highly trained advisers as well as experienced nurses and paramedics.

As a result of the latest inspection, in May 2018, the service has now been rated ‘Good’ for providing safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led services. Overall the service has now been rated as ‘Good’. A full report of the inspection has been published at: http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/RYF45

Ken Wenman, Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted that our NHS 111 service in Dorset has been rated as ‘Good’ across the board. This is a fantastic achievement and is the result of a lot of hard work by everyone involved in delivering this service. Particular thanks must go to all NHS 111 staff and the Urgent Care team. Congratulations to you all on this excellent result and thank you for the excellent care that you give to our patients in Dorset.”

Ruth Rankine, CQC Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice, said: “People who call the NHS 111 service are entitled to quick and easy access to healthcare advice and information, or access to urgent attention when that's appropriate.

“This inspection saw some excellent examples of good practice and improvements that were now fully embedded into the running of the NHS 111 service.

"I am pleased that South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust has continued to build on the progress that we had identified in our previous inspections and have now achieved a ‘Good’ rating. 


Jamie meets SWASFT crews

Paramedics from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) helped to make 10-year-old Jamie’s dream come true when they trained him up to become a ‘paramedic’ for the day.

Jamie has the terminal genetic condition, Neurofibromatosis, which causes tumours to grow along his nerves. Despite not being very well, Jamie likes playing paramedic games at home. His greatest wish is to become a member of the emergency services, helping other people.

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The event was organised by Rays of Sunshine children’s charity, who help brighten the lives of children who are living with serious or life-limiting illnesses.

Jamie said: “I feel honoured to be chosen to work as a paramedic for the day. I would like to thank everyone for making my wish come true.”

Jamie’s day began at the SWASFT North Bristol Operations Centre where paramedics taught him some basic life-saving techniques. Jamie then travelled to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) airfield, learning how the critical care team use their specialist skills and equipment to treat the most critically ill patients at the scene of an incident.

Jamie’s mum, Mary, said:  “Jamie's expectations for his wish day were totally surpassed, all thanks to the Rays of Sunshine organisation, and SWASFT ambulance/air ambulance services. This was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience, not only for Jamie, but for us all! We could have never have fulfilled Jamie's wish to become a real life paramedic without help from Rays of Sunshine. Jamie and ourselves would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts, who were involved in making Jamie's dream a reality."         

Rebecca Wilson, Paramedic Learning and Development Officer, for SWASFT said: “We really enjoyed having Jamie train with us. We put together a number of emergency training scenarios with our manikin HAL (a Gaumard high-fidelity manikin) who can replicate any medical emergency. Jamie enjoyed responding to the incidents in our emergency ambulance on full blue lights and sirens. He’s amazing and took on board all our clinical instruction. He’s definitely a future paramedic in the making.

“Now Jamie can do basic life support, he can take blood pressure and temperature as well as checking vital observations and give life-saving CPR compressions which he carried out on HAL and other crew members.  Jamie can also give lifestyle and eating advice to keep people healthy as well as scoop and load patients onto a trolley.  He was really fun to have over and we all wish him all the very best from the team at South Western Ambulance Service.  A big thank-you to the crew that helped on the day.”

Rebecca Miller, PR and Digital Communications Manager for GWAAC, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Jamie and his family to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity air base, and to help make his wish come true. Members of our Critical Care team – a crew of specialist paramedics and doctors – ran through some simulations with Jamie, and he got the opportunity to meet the pilot and sit in the helicopter and Critical Care cars. We had a great afternoon showing Jamie the ropes and we were impressed with his paramedic skills!”

Jane Sharpe, CEO of Rays of Sunshine, added: “We can’t be more thankful to Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust for helping us pull off such an incredible wish. Every day Rays of Sunshine gives brave and deserving young people the chance to put their illness on hold and Jamie’s wish is no exception.”

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: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/SWASC.