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Public and staff recognised at annual awards

Press release 16 November 2010

A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust technician, who was involved in persuading three people not to take their own lives off Beachy Head, has received the employee of the year award.

Dave Hopkins, based at Eastbourne ambulance station, was presented with the award at the Trust’s annual awards ceremony for the east of the Trust’s region held at the Salomons Centre in Tunbridge Wells on Thursday, 11 November.

Within the space of four months Dave was called to Beachy Head and was involved in helping three very vulnerable people.

One was a young man who had a career in the armed forces, another a mother and the third a mental health patient from outside the area.

Dave said: “I’m very honoured to have received this award but I feel that I can’t take all the credit.  Other organisations such as the chaplaincy service and police are equally involved in helping and winning the trust of these people who are clearly in a very vulnerable and distressed state.

“We spent considerable time with each of these people winning their trust and finally persuading them to reconsider. I hope that we made a difference and they overcome their issues but unfortunately we often do not get to find out what happens.”

Dave was nominated by station manager, Tim Fellows, who said: “With two of these cases, David took a leading role, gaining the confidence of the patient to the extent that he led them back from the brink. In the third, he supported two highly-trained police negotiators, always adopting an extremely patient, professional and caring approach. He clearly deserved to win this award.”

Also to recognised were sisters Niamh and Darcy Bradbury from Robertsbridge who received public chief executive commendations for putting in an emergency call after their mum Joanne fell ill.

Also  recognised were sisters Niamh and Darcy Bradbury from Rotherfield who received public chief executive commendations for putting in an emergency call after their mum Jo fell ill.

The award ceremony also recognised the dedication of staff who have been in the NHS for more than 20 and 30 years as well as employee of the year. Queen’s Medals for long service and good conduct were also presented by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Lord Paul Condon, to staff that have completed 20 years service in a front-line capacity.

Chief SECAmb Chief Executive Paul Sutton said: “Our awards provide us with a valuable opportunity to recognise the tremendous achievements of our staff during the year, in a range of roles throughout the organisation. Our staff are without doubt, this organisation’s greatest asset. They work extremely hard in often difficult circumstances to provide the very best levels of care to our patients.

“I am also delighted that our awards provide us with an opportunity to recognise members of the public who have gone out of their way to support our staff and provide valuable assistance when needed. I know that I speak on behalf of all staff who are tremendously grateful for the help received at the scene of a difficult incident.”

Other awards received

Chief Executive’s staff commendation:

Denise Collett from Dartford, nominated by Anne Copson

Denise is a Clinical Team Leader based at Dartford Ambulance Station received an award for her community work often carried out in her own time.  For the past four years, Denise has also played a vital role in the multi-agency Licence to Kill campaign, which highlights the dangers of driving to teenagers and young drivers. She was also recognised for her commitment to the service, providing emergency support as a staff responder while off-duty.

Simon Matthews, nominated by Sarah Martin & Paul Creasey

Simon, an ambulance technician based at Maidstone, was nominated for showing extreme bravery during an incident he and his crew-mate attended in January. The patient had taken an overdose and an significant amount of alcohol.  He was extremely agitated, described by by-standers as “completely out of control” and was also in possession of a knife, with which he threatened to use. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Simon simply walked up to the patient and took the knife away from him, in a calm and professional way. The police officers on scene have described Simon’s actions as an “astounding act of bravery”.

David Tutt, nominated by Kate Brunnarius

David is one of the team of voluntary chaplains who support our staff in a range of different ways. He has been nominated for providing comfort to many people in the workplace and the community when working alongside our staff, making the effort to spend in the Sussex control centre and on station, gaining a full understanding of what both the patients and staff go through in emergency situations. He is described as “giving of his time in a totally selfless way; his presence calms and soothes the sad moments that often occur in the work-place.”

Mark Newman and Steve Rudd from Bexhill, nominated by Clinical Team Leader Bradley Poole

Mark and Steve were nominated for providing excellent clinical care in an extremely difficult situation when called to attend an incident at a wedding reception, where the father of the bride had suffered a cardiac arrest. Despite the emotion and sensitivity of the situation, Mark and Steve were able to provide professional and effective clinical care, with the patient achieving a Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC), due to their care and those of others on scene.

David Taylor, Paul Goldsmith, Gary Turley, Peter Hobden and Dan Hammond, nominated by Steve Rose

David, Paul, Gary, Peter and Dan were nominated for the roles they played during a serious fire in the Channel Tunnel in September 2008. Although a wider team of approximately 30 SECAmb staff attended, the staff nominated were first on scene and showed extreme bravery going underground into a situation, with very little information on what they could be facing. All of those nominated, on learning that a train was on fire with potential casualties on board, did not hesitate in entering the tunnel, into what was a dangerous and risky situation. Hampered by limited communications with those above ground, they all remained on scene for a long time, working in difficult conditions, until they were relieved by their colleagues.

Public Chief Executive Commendations:

Niamh and Darcy Bradbury, nominated by Robin Kissack

Niamh and Darcy have been nominated for showing great courage and maturity beyond their years (nine and six years’ old respectively!) when they had to call an ambulance when their mum Jo became unwell. Not only did they provide all the information required and follow the advice given during what must have been an extremely stressful time, they were also able to open the door for the ambulance crew. As, Robin who nominated them, sums up: “To this day, I have not taken a 999 call that sticks in my mind as much as this one. They are both heroes in their own right.”

Clare Rudd, Lynne Holmes and Echo Team based at Coxheath control centre, nominated by Dave Hawkins

Clare, Lynne and their team have been nominated for demonstrating significant improvements in their performance in the EDC, achieved through supporting and motivating their team and without losing their sense of humour! They overcame some internal challenges to become consistently one of the highest performing teams in the control centre. This improvement has been achieved despite the on-going challenges and losing a member of their team suddenly.

As a special tribute, this award was presented by Clare Webb, in memory of her brother Phil, an Emergency Call Operator based in Coxheath control centre, who sadly passed away during the year.

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