Welcome to SWASFT

November 2017

SWASFT awards given to Wiltshire lifesavers

South Western Ambulance Service has recognised the life saving exploits of two Swindon Borough Council employees who were awarded Chief Executive’s Commendations.

Heather Lane and Roger Haworth received the awards for saving the life of their colleague Jeremy Anderson, who collapsed at work after suffering a cardiac arrest in May last year.

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Heather and Roger image

Experienced first aiders, Heather and Roger put their years of training to excellent use by first performing CPR and mouth-to-mouth and then utilising one of the Council’s automated external defibrillators (AEDs) which had been provided by the Trust as part of its defibrillator programme.

Once ambulance staff arrived, they gave Jeremy advanced emergency care before taking him to the Great Western Hospital for further treatment. He has since made an excellent recovery from the cardiac arrest, but has been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle that causes it to become stretched and thin, and unable to pump blood around the body efficiently.

The annual staff and volunteer awards acknowledge those staff who have gone above and beyond their remit and deserve extra recognition. Heather and Roger were the only two people to receive a special award for members of the public on the night. They were nominated for the award by colleague Zoe Moore, who wanted to recognise their inspirational and quick-thinking actions.

Rob Horton, Responder Manager for South Western Ambulance Service said: “I am delighted to see Heather and Roger recognised for their outstanding and life-saving work. They have shown great dedication to first aid training for many years and are an asset to those they work with.  It is extremely rewarding and very humbling to see how the Trust’s defibrillator programme and the training we provide has such a dramatic and positive impact.

“More than 3,600 people are resuscitated by ambulance staff every year in the South West because they suffer a pre-hospital cardiac arrest and we know that for every minute that passes once in cardiac arrest, a person loses a further 10% chance of survival.  Without doubt the availability of a defibrillator within the council  along with having fully trained people ready and able to use it really did save a life that day.”

Roger, Council’s Special Needs and Social Care Transport Team Leader, said: “I was surprised, honoured, and humbled to receive the recognition. At the time, I was about to start a meeting, when a colleague came into the room and said that a first aider was needed, I felt that sinking feeling, not knowing what I was going to be dealing with.

“When I realised that Jeremy was completely unresponsive, my overwhelming thought was that dealing with this was going to be my life for the next however long, and nothing could get in the way. This was as serious as it could be.”

Transport Project Manager Heather, added: “I was sat at my desk when in a calm whisper Roger’s manager came to me saying we need another first aider. Like Roger said you get that sinking feeling and hope after all the years of just treating cuts and the occasional fall that the CPR training we received along with the defibrillator training, run by the ambulance service, would kick in, which fortunately it did.

“At this point I took over the compressions while Roger proceeded to perform mouth to mouth. We continued until the paramedics arrived at the scene, set up their equipment and were ready to take over. None of the efforts we made would have been realised if not for the early detection that Jeremy was not responsive when our colleague passed by, the rapid retrieval of the defibrillator from reception and the combined efforts of other work colleagues playing their part from moving furniture. The security guards at Wat Tyler house also did a sterling job by ensuring the emergency services crews had clear access through the building and supported us throughout the incident.

“Receiving this award was a complete surprise and a once in a lifetime honour which will take pride of place at home.”

22 November 2017


Awards ceremony recognises ambulance staff

Some of the heroes who work tirelessly to offer outstanding patient care, mentor our future paramedics and offer exceptional support to our staff are to be recognised at South Western Ambulance Service’s staff awards ceremonies.

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The annual awards acknowledge those staff who have gone above and beyond their remit and deserve extra recognition. They also offer the chance to appreciate the dedication of service to the Trust by some of our longest serving members of staff.

For the first time our team of Community First Responders, who volunteer their time to deliver immediate life-saving care in their communities will join our regular staff to enjoy the celebrations.

Chief Executive of the Trust, Ken Wenman said: “Whether they are working on the front line, or supporting our paramedics behind the scenes, our staff do fantastic work every day. These award ceremonies are our way of saying thank you to those who have gone above and beyond to deliver outstanding patient care and to those who have shown exceptional dedication to their role, the Trust and those they care for through their long service. All of our staff work for an organisation that remains busy 24 hours a day and in such an environment it can be difficult to take the time to appreciate the incredible work these people do. These awards are an opportunity to show our staff that their commitment, professionalism and bravery does not go unnoticed.”

The Trust’s Chairman, Tony Fox, said: “These ceremonies showcase the amazing professionalism at South Western Ambulance Service and rightly recognise the work our staff do to ensure patients across the South West receive exceptional care. It is also great to see our dedicated Community First Responders are now an integral part of these awards, showing another example of how our staff and volunteers work together to support and care for our communities.”

Awards being accepted on the night include Mentor of the Year, Employee of the Year as well as Chief Executive Commendations and long service awards.

The ceremonies take place on:

  • Wednesday 18 October 2017 at Brunel's SS Great Britain, Bristol
  • Thursday 2 November 2017 - Pavilion Centre, Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge
  • Wednesday 15 November 2017 - Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester

The three events are not open to the media to attend, but photographs of the winners will be available following the ceremonies and media interviews may be arranged upon request.

16 November 2017


Sepsis awareness conference

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) together with support from the UK SEPSIS Trust ran a sepsis awareness conference in Exeter yesterday (Monday 13 November 2017). Attended by over a 100 health care professionals the conference was to raise further awareness and training for pre-hospital clinicians, nurses and medics.

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Sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, is the reaction to an infection in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition, however it can be easily treated if caught early.

In the UK, at least 100,000 people each year suffer from serious sepsis (or septicaemia) with 44,000 lives claimed by it.

Consultant Paramedic, James Wenman, who organised the conference, said; “We brought together leading experts in the field to discuss the importance of what sepsis is, the education and training needed for health care staff, together with infection and prevention control as well as sepsis in paediatrics.” 

There was also a preview of the acclaimed true story film ‘Starfish’, a survivors’ story and a parent’s personal account by sepsis campaigner Melissa Mead, the mother of William Mead. 

Melissa Mead bravely shared her experiences of sepsis with the delegates to raise awareness and to empower parents to look out for and know the signs of this serious condition. “I was delighted and privileged to be able to share William’s story with so many health professionals. It is so important that health professionals and the public alike think of sepsis when they are poorly. It is always hard to reflect back upon William’s death, but in doing so allows me to be his mum; and I’m incredibly proud of the lives he’s saved with the campaign.”

Sepsis could occur as the result of any infection. There is no one sign for sepsis.

Sepsis is a serious condition that can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection.

For further details on the symptoms please see the UK Sepsis Trust website: https://sepsistrust.org/news/what-is-sepsis/

14 November 2017

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.