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Double Celebration for Yorkshire Ambulance Service on Yorkshire Day

15 August 2007

15 August 2007

Staff from Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) who, between them, have clocked up 2000 years of exemplary service are being honoured today (1 August) at an important double celebration which will mark the first ever YAS Long Service Awards and the first year of YAS.

YAS has chosen Yorkshire Day (1 August) for the commemoration ceremony as it represents an ideal opportunity to showcase the dedication and commitment of ambulance service staff serving the communities of Yorkshire, day in day out, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Amongst the longest serving recipients are Brian Kidd, who has clocked up 43 years with the Fleet department and front-line Rotherham Paramedic Allan Nixon, who has completed 37 years. All recipients have seen major changes to the service over the last 30 years, particularly the provision of medical treatment being introduced rather than just transporting patients to hospital.

The day is a double celebration because YAS has now been in operation for a full year and has made some significant improvements in the region including:

  • Placing crews at points of peak demand by adapting rotas and creating new 24-hour stand-by points. This means that crews can stand-by in comfort and safety in between jobs rather than returning to a station. This enables them to respond to emergency 999 calls more quickly.
  • Introducing new initiatives including the Leeds Lifecycle - this is a cycling paramedic based in Leeds who can get to jobs in the city centre without being held up by traffic. We've also launched rapid response vehicles staffed by a paramedic and a police officer.  This enables us to deal with calls such as people under the influence of alcohol or instances of domestic violence and frees up ambulances so they can attend life-threatening calls elsewhere in the area. 
  • Launching a new way of dealing with heart attack victims in mid-Yorkshire which means that patients are taken straight to a specialist cardiac unit at Leeds General Infirmary rather than their local hospitals if they suffer a particular type of heart attack - this greatly increases their chance of a full and speedy recovery.
  • Successfully retaining the contract to provide a Patient Transport Service to renal patients in Leeds.
  • Successfully securing contracts to continue providing the Patient Transport Service in York, Rotherham and Barnsley to provide transport for patient admissions, discharges, transfers, remedial therapy and day cases in the area.
  • YAS is the national pilot for the paramedic Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) project working with the local fire service. This is a unique collaboration and the only one in Europe.
  • Launching a recruitment drive to attract community-minded locals to act as volunteer Community First Responders. The responders provide local people with life-saving treatment before an ambulance arrives on scene, meaning they can get to patients in the first vital minutes.
    Volunteers are being sought for new and existing schemes across rural areas of South Yorkshire.
  • Continuing to put Community First Responders into more rural parts of Yorkshire - meaning that they can attend a call in those first vital minutes providing life support and reassurance whilst an ambulance is on the way. 
  • Eleven new state-of-the-art ambulances have hit the road around South Yorkshire. The vehicles are the first in the area to be painted in high visibility yellow rather than the traditional white. The vehicles are designed to provide the maximum comfort for patients as well as a practical working space for ambulance staff.  The new ambulances will be replacing older vehicles at Sheffield's Longley and Middlewood stations, as well as Maltby, Doncaster, Rotherham, Hoyland, Barnsley, Bentley and Wath stations.

A total of 309 staff are to receive an award from YAS, 76 of whom are attending a special ceremony, at the Sheffield United Football ground at Bramall Road, where the Queen's Representative Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Mr David B Moody, will present the medals and pay tribute to the dedication of the staff.

YAS Chief Executive Jayne Barnes CBE said:  "These awards recognise outstanding commitment to duty.

"I would like to congratulate and thank each recipient for all their years of service. It is an exceptional type of person who can remain dedicated to the Service for 20, 30 and even 40 years. They are a credit to YAS and the public in Yorkshire they serve.

"And without the dedication and commitment of our staff we wouldn't be able to deliver our patient-centred service."

Notes to Editors:

1. The Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) is now into its second year of operation. It was formed on 1 July 2006 when the three Yorkshire-based services merged. It operates 60 Ambulance Stations throughout the county, with the main headquarters in Wakefield. YAS serves a population of 4.7 million people and covers varying terrain from coastal areas, large urban areas and inner cities to dales and rural expanses covering an area of 6,000 square miles.
2. Queens Service Good Conduct and Long Service - The Queen's Medal (Long Service and Good Conduct) is given at the discretion of the Chief Executive to ambulance staff who have either 20 years post-qualification experience in a front-line capacity in the ambulance service or 7 years post-qualification experience in a front-line capacity in the ambulance service and then a further 13 years experience as an operational manager in the ambulance service.
3. Ambulance Association Medal - The Ambulance Service Medal is given to staff who have worked for the ambulance service for 20 years, not in a front-line capacity.
4. Yorkshire Ambulance Service Awards - The Yorkshire Ambulance Service recognises service beyond 20 years with the following awards:

  • 30 year certificate and commemorative pen     
  • 35 year certificate and commemorative pen
  • 40 year certificate and glass plaque

5. The longest-serving recipient is Brian Kidd who has worked in the service for 43 years. He started on 4 August 1964, aged just 15 as an apprentice motor mechanic at Birkenshaw, where he still based today working as an electrical/communications engineer.
6. Allan Nixon is the longest-serving A&E recipient of the award. He's been working in the ambulance service for 37 years and is now a Paramedic based at Rotherham Station.
7. Those who started 30 years ago would have seen ambulance service transferred from local authorities to the NHS and the first performance standards introduced. Our A&E vehicles were Ford Transits.
8. Those who started 35 years ago joined at a time when pre-hospital care was really starting to take shape. This followed the 1964 Millar report which recommended ambulance services should provide treatment as well as transporting patients to hospital.
9. We have chosen to celebrate the YAS Long Service Awards on Yorkshire Day - 1 August. This day is important because we are a Yorkshire Service for Yorkshire people. For more information on Yorkshire Day please visit http://www.yorkshire-ridings.org.uk/yorkshireday.htm

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department