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March 2019

Jodie, 32, Thanks Ambulance Crew After Cardiac Arrest

Jodie

A 32-year-old woman has been reunited with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) crew who saved her life when her heart stopped beating.

Jodie Prudames, 32, had rapid chest pains and began to sweat profusely at her home in Midsomer Norton, North East Somerset in October.

Then she went into cardiac arrest, lost consciousness and stopped breathing.

SWASFT Paramedic Ed Bowyer resuscitated Jodie, with the help of her partner Janson. She survived and has gone on to make a fantastic recovery.

Click here to listen to the 999 call made by Jodie's mum

Jodie went to Shepton Mallet ambulance station on Thursday 7 March to thank Ed and other SWASFT staff for saving her.

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Jodie said: “I thought I was going to die. I had an awful feeling in my chest like a burning heat. I’ve never felt anything like it before. But Ed arrived really quickly, and thanks to him and the other crew I made it through.”

Now Jodie is encouraging other people to step in and take action if they think somebody may be having a cardiac arrest or heart attack.

She has welcomed government plans to teach CPR and First Aid to schoolchildren from next year. It is hoped the long-awaited move will boost survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, potentially saving thousands of lives.

Jodie said: “At first I struggled with what had happened to me, because there was no logical explanation. But since then I’ve realised how fortunate I was to survive.

“It’s changed my outlook on life. I had a lot of mental health problems beforehand, but afterwards it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

“It’s brilliant that CPR will be taught in schools, and it has 100% of my support. I’m making sure my young daughter is medically aware, and I’d really recommend anyone to learn what to do in an emergency so they can help people.”

In the months before her emergency, Jodie said she had infrequent chest pains, but never thought she had a heart problem.

On the day of the incident Jodie’s mum Andria called 999 after her daughter had been in pain for around 30 minutes.

Staff in the SWASFT Control Hub assessed Jodie’s condition over the phone, and organised for crews to respond.

Paramedic Ed Bowyer arrived within five minutes to give her routine treatment. But then Jodie’s heart stopped beating, and she needed urgent help to stay alive.

Ed led the effort to resuscitate Jodie with the help of Janson. They pulled her onto floor, and laid her flat on her back. By doing CPR and shocking her with a defibrillator, they managed to get her heart beating again.

SWASFT Student Paramedic Nick Tolson and other SWASFT staff helped to provide post-resuscitation care for Jodie.

Jodie was driven in an ambulance to hospital where she was given heart surgery.

It was later confirmed that Jodie’s cardiac arrest was caused by a heart attack.

Paramedic Ed Bowyer said: “This incident highlights that a cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, of any age, and at any time.

“Jodie is not the stereotypical person to suffer a heart attack. Many are elderly or suffer with known heart problems, whereas Jodie is young and normally well.

“Many factors contributed to the fantastic recovery of Jodie. Because she had a cardiac arrest in front of me meant she was given the best possible chance of survival from the very start, including early defibrillation and CPR.

“Jodie is living proof that people can and do survive.”

Heart attack and cardiac arrest:

  1. A heart attack is a serious medical emergency when in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.
  2. A cardiac arrest is an urgent medical emergency when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood round the body. The brain is starved of oxygen, causing the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing.
  3. If you think someone is having a heart attack or cardiac arrest: call 999 immediately, begin CPR, and use a public access defibrillator if one is available.
  4. Around 30,000 people are treated for cardiac arrests in the UK every year. Just 9% survive, but their chances increase significantly when CPR and defibrillation is administered early.
  5. For more information on SWASFT First Aid courses, including CPR training, visit: https://firstaid.swast.nhs.uk/. If you have a specific query: call 0300 369 0350 or email firstaid.training@swast.nhs.uk

999 Call Handler, Olivia, Wins National Award

A South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) 999 Call Handler has won a national honour for saving a police inspector when he became seriously ill.

Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) Olivia Molyneux won the Patient’s Choice accolade at the 2019 Unsung Hero Awards, after she helped off-duty official Dave George.

Click here to listen to the 999 call made by Inspector George to Olivia.

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Olivia 1

Olivia, who has worked at the SWASFT North Control Hub near Bristol since August 2017, said: “I was filled with happiness when I heard I had won the Patient’s Choice Award. Inspector George went above and beyond to show his gratitude to me, and I cannot thank him enough.

“I wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony, which I was so disappointed about. But my amazing colleagues accepted it on my behalf.

“This award deserves to be given to every member of the Control Room as we are all unsung heroes.”

Inspector George collapsed in hot weather last summer during a walk on the South West Coast Path between Penzance and Land’s End in Cornwall.

He experienced “crushing” chest pains and was struggling to breathe, but managed to call 999 to get help.

Olivia assessed his condition over the phone, and calmly reassured him until crews arrived at the remote location.

Inspector George was taken by ambulance to hospital where he was diagnosed with serious heat stroke. He made a full recovery.

Inspector George wrote a letter of thanks to SWASFT Chief Executive Ken Wenman, and visited the Control Hub to meet Olivia.

Olivia 3

“I thought that was it,” he said. “I was on my own, and needed help. It was a desperate situation.

“Olivia was totally exceptional. She dealt with a very difficult and challenging call in the most superb way. The kindness and calm professionalism that she showed deserves special praise. I don’t think I could have got through that hour alone without her staying on the line and talking to me.”

Paul Greatorex, Deputy Director of Operations at the North Control Hub, collected the award on behalf of Olivia who was away.

He described the award was “a true testimony to Olivia’s professionalism”.

Paul said: “I am so proud of Olivia and all the EMDs who work so hard on behalf of the Trust, and battle through the adversity of responding to 999 calls to help patients.

“They are the front line of the ambulance service, before a dispatcher can dispatch, and before a crew can attend. It all starts with the EMDs. They can only act on what they are told, and they cannot pass judgement.

“Olivia along with her colleagues are so hard working, professional, caring, dedicated and empathetic to their callers. They are all unsung heroes.”

The Unsung Hero Awards honour non-clinical NHS staff and volunteers, and this year’s awards received hundreds of nominations.

The winners were announced at a ceremony in Manchester on 1 March.

Awards founder Don Tomlinson said: "We were able to honour some brilliant, inspiring members of NHS staff and volunteers for the amazing work they have done.

"Everyone who won an award - and all those shortlisted - show each and every day the qualities and excellence which make our Health Service the best in the world.”

Cathy Thanks Lifesavers After Her Heart Stopped Beating

Cathy1

A mum has been reunited with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) team and bystanders who saved her life when her heart stopped beating.

Cathy Angell went into cardiac arrest at Ashdown Riding Centre near Wootton Bassett, Swindon during her six-year-old son’s lesson in April 2018.

The 35-year-old lost consciousness, stopped breathing, and her skin went blue.

Fellow mum Stacey Buckland dialled 999, before riding centre owner Chloe Prim and bystander Wes Decker began trying to resuscitate her.

To listen to the 999 call click here.

SWASFT responders used a defibrillator to administer electronic shocks in an effort to restart her heart. Cathy was taken to hospital where she was given emergency heart surgery.

Cathy, who lives locally, returned to riding centre on Thursday 21 March to thank those who kept her alive. She has no memory of the incident.

Cathy said: “If it wasn’t for all these people, my husband would no longer have a wife and my son wouldn’t have a mum. I cannot express how grateful I am to them all.”

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Cathy had no pre-existing medical conditions. She said she is still trying to come to terms with what happened.

She said: “I was a fit and healthy 35-year-old who woke up in intensive care to find out my heart had stopped beating.

“Although I don’t know why it happened to me, I’m fortunate it happened with people around me who were able to help.”

Cathy said the incident has changed her perspective on life.

She said: “I feel like I’ve been given a second shot at life. I’m not fully recovered, especially mentally. It’s been a slow and difficult journey, but I’m still here.”

On the day of the incident, Cathy was seen attempting to catch a loose pony before collapsing to the ground.

Chloe said: “Cathy was a horrible colour. I just got on with the CPR without really thinking about it. If we’d done nothing she would have died. Afterwards the shock of what had happening hit me.”

Cathy was later fitted with an internal defibrillator, which monitors and can regulate her heart rate. It can correct most life-threatening heart rhythm problems.

Cathy writes an online blog to share her experiences of living life after a cardiac arrest and to raise awareness of the condition.

Paul Murphy, who was the first SWASFT Paramedic to treat Cathy, said: “Unfortunately a cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, of any age, and at any time.

“Cathy is not the stereotypical person to suffer this condition. Many are elderly or suffer with known heart problems, but Cathy was young and healthy.

“Cathy survived because people recognised that she wasn’t breathing effectively, and called 999. They followed instructions from the call handler to do CPR, which they continued to do even after the volunteer responder and crews had arrived. Cathy was given defibrillation at the earliest opportunity, and taken onto hospital where doctors continued her care.

“Cathy is living proof that can people and do survive cardiac arrests, if they are given the right treatment and the right time. It is hugely humbling to be a part of a team that achieves such an amazing outcome for a patient.”

If you suspect someone is having a heart attack or cardiac arrest: call 999 immediately, begin CPR, and use a public access defibrillator if one is available.

Notes:

 1. The attached photos show Cathy Angell with the group of SWASFT staff, volunteers and bystanders who saved her life.

Left to right in the top image: SWASFT Paramedic Fiona Warren, SWASFT Paramedic Paul Murphy, SWASFT Community First Responder & St John Ambulance volunteer Darren Gray, Cathy Angell, Wes Decker, Chloe Prim, and SWASFT Emergency Medical Dispatcher Lydia Gardiner.

The event took place on Thursday 21 March at Ashdown Riding Centre, Marlborough Road, Wootton Bassett.

2. A recording of the 999 call made to SWASFT is attached to this release.

3. To follow Cathy’s blog, visit www.facebook.com/myheartcathy

Heart attack and cardiac arrest:

1 A heart attack is a serious medical emergency when in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.

2. A cardiac arrest is an urgent medical emergency when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood round the body. The brain is starved of oxygen, causing the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing.

3. If you think someone is having a heart attack or cardiac arrest: call 999 immediately, begin CPR, and use a public access defibrillator if one is available.

4. Around 30,000 people are treated for cardiac arrests in the UK every year. Just 9% survive, but their chances increase significantly when CPR and defibrillation is administered early.

5. For more information on SWASFT First Aid courses, including CPR training, visit: https://firstaid.swast.nhs.uk/. If you have a specific query: call 0300 369 0350 or email firstaid.training@swast.nhs.uk

Ambulance Team Scoop Prestigious ALF Award

JO and ALF award

Led by Joanne Stonehouse, the Macmillan Cancer Care project team has been transforming ambulance care for people living with cancer and those with palliative needs when they access urgent and emergency care via 999.

SWASFT Macmillan Cancer Care Project Lead, Joanne Stonehouse, said; ”This is fantastic recognition from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives well done to all in the team and to everyone who has made this project what it is”.

This innovative new service has been changing culture and going beyond the limits of usual services to develop clinical skills and confidence to deliver patient centred compassionate care for this patient group.

By delivering accessible training, the project has improved decision making and increased scope of practice, promoting the paramedic as an excellent care provider for these patients.

By improving triage systems and the way we respond to these patients, with enhanced access to specialist advice and pathways, the project has seen a reduction in on-scene times and inappropriate conveyance to emergency departments.

The team has worked with experts across boundaries, influencing key system and service changes - including direct referrals, revised guidance and medicines optimisation - all significantly enhancing frontline services and the experience of patients, their families and carers.

Interactive Paramedic Conference Simulates Medical Emergencies

  • Be a Better Paramedic Student Conference 
  • Become a Paramedic Taster Day for A-Level and FE students

Student paramedics and people considering a career as a paramedic are getting hands-on specialist training alongside the professionals at two action-packed sold-out events being run by South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) at the University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol on Saturday 30 March 2019.          

The Be a Better Paramedic Student Conference for those studying towards their Paramedic Science degree follows the tried-and-tested format of previous events over the past three years, while the Become a Paramedic Taster Day builds on the success of the first event of its kind run by SWASFT last year.  

Ken Wenman, SWASFT Chief Executive, said: “Our paramedics treat more patients at the scene than any other ambulance trust, making us the best performing in the country. We want to recruit the best of the best among all paramedics. The student conference gives student paramedics amazing experiences and learning they can’t get in the classroom. The taster day offers a unique opportunity for young people considering becoming a paramedic to find out what it’s really like. I hope many will go on to choose this rewarding career.”

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Be a Better Paramedic Student Conference

The journey from student to registered paramedic can be a challenging one and SWASFT wants to support students to become not just a paramedic, but become a better paramedic. Two hundred student paramedics from across the country are attending the SWASFT student conference 2019. Following a welcome from SWASFT Chief Executive Ken Wenman, other highlights of the day include:

  • Building life-changing relationships in 30 minutes - SWASFT Head of Clinical Hubs David Fletcher explains what happens when someone calls 999
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  • Neonatal troubleshooting - keynote address by Dr John Madar, Consultant Neonatologist, University Hospitals Plymouth debunks some myths and offers tips for how to care for these special patients 
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  • Clinical Skills Championships – two teams of SWASFT’s paramedics doing what they do best will be filmed throughout the day, and the winning team’s video will be shown at the end of the conference with a step-by step commentary by SWASFT Acute Care Medical Director Dr Phil Cowburn.

Masterclass sessions throughout the day reflect current evidence-based thinking and help students make well informed clinical decisions:

  • Paediatric Mystery Tour – navigating the minefield of diagnosing a sick child
  • Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) – simulation of a multi-casualty incident
  • Traumatic cardiac arrest – real-time simulation plus interactive session to develop critical thinking skills
  • To CPR or not to CPR – that is the question – the award-winning Macmillan Cancer Care team sift through the ethical challenges presented by patients who are at the end of life.
  • SWASFT University Liaison Officer Jennings Mitchell said: “This day is all about our future workforce of paramedics. SWASFT take great pride in the quality of our clinical expertise, and today is designed to give attendees a flavor of this and contribute to their ongoing professional development – we expect it to be a useful, fun and educational day.”

Students also have the opportunity to view a range of ambulance vehicles and specialist equipment, meet air ambulance charities as well as speak to staff, including recent graduates, about what life on the front line is really like.

Become a Paramedic Taster Day

Running alongside the student conference is SWASFT’s second Become a Paramedic Taster Day aimed specifically at people thinking about training as a paramedic, many of whom will be A-Level or FE students,, .

SWASFT Chief Executive Ken Wenman sets the scene for the day, which is packed with practical sessions and opportunities to meet professional paramedics.

The programme includes a demonstration by the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and skill stations on:

  • Meet the paramedic – Q&A session with a range of paramedics for an insight into the different roles, including a newly qualified paramedic
  • CPR – work up a sweat with learning the lifesaving skill that is cardiopulmonary resuscitation in this hands-on practical session
  • Haemorrhage control – how quick thinking and decisive action can save lives when it comes to internal or external bleeding
  • How to become a paramedic – what a good university application should look like and information about other routes into paramedicine.

During the day the delegates attendingcan also talk to various universities about their paramedic degree courses.

SWASFT County Commander Chris Turner said: “I truly believe that being a paramedic is a privilege. I hope that you all gain a real insight into the paramedic role today. Ask questions, be curious and go on the pursue this great career if you feel it’s right for you!” 

63 New Ambulances Launched in Cornwall

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is delighted to announce the launch of 63 new high-tech ambulances for the Cornwall region. 

The new Fiat ambulances will be better suited to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s lanes and will feature some of the latest emergency care equipment for paramedic teams. They were launched at a special event in Newquay on Wednesday 27 March.

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The event was attended by various staff from the Trust, as well as dignitaries from across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, including the Mayor of Newquay.

In July 2018, the Department of Health & Social Care announced an additional £6.7 million for South Western Ambulance Service to purchase 63 new double-crewed ambulances (DCAs). A further £1.3 million funding for equipment was then provided by commissioners.

In line with recommendations from Lord Carter’s Ambulance Services Review, a decision was taken nationally that all new DCAs should be Fiat 4.2 tonne vans. The order was placed by SWASFT in October 2018 and the new vehicles have all undergone high quality conversions with WAS (the company contracted to convert the vehicles) to ensure they meet our high demands.

The new high-tech equipment on the ambulances will include the Stryker Power-LOAD stretcher and the Zoll defibrillator with vital signs, as well as a new navigation system all of which will make paramedic teams work flow easier when treating patients at emergency scenes. 

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.