Dedicated members of the NHS Ambulance Service in England, and from the Scottish, Welsh, States of Jersey and Northern Ireland Ambulance Services, have become recipients of the prestigious King’s Ambulance Service Medal for Distinguished Service, announced in His Majesty the King’s Birthday Honours List.
The King’s Ambulance Service Medal (KAM) honours a very small, select group of ambulance personnel who have shown exceptional devotion to duty, outstanding ability, merit and conduct in their roles within NHS Ambulance Services.
Today’s KAM recipients are Jason Killens, Chief Executive Officer, Welsh Ambulance Service; John Martin, Chief Paramedic and Quality Officer at London Ambulance Service; Brian Maguire, Paramedic, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service; Jason Hamon, Head of Emergency Planning, Resilience and Operational Support, States of Jersey Ambulance Service; and Julie Shields, Head of Service for the East Region, Scottish Ambulance Service.
Chief Executive Officer
Welsh Ambulance Service
Jason began his career as an Emergency Medical Technician at London Ambulance Service, where he held various senior leadership roles, including Executive Director of Operations.
He was appointed the Chief Executive of the South Australia Ambulance Service in 2015 before joining the Welsh Ambulance Service as Chief Executive in 2018.
He is an Honorary Professor at Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences, and the Chief Executive lead for Operations at the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.
Chief Paramedic and Quality Officer
London Ambulance Service
Dr John Martin has been President of the College of Paramedics since 2017 and Chief Paramedic and Quality Officer at London Ambulance Service (LAS) since 2021, being the first Chief Paramedic to sit on an ambulance trust board. John has dedicated his career to improving patient care and developing the paramedic profession.
John has been active in developing the College of Paramedics for many years, all of which he has volunteered to do in his own time. In May 2023, he finished his second term as the College’s president.
Under his tenure, membership has grown by 2,000%, the College is close to achieving a royal charter and continuous professional development is now a mandatory part of paramedic practice. These achievements will deliver lasting improvements for the profession.
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service
Having worked in the ambulance service for 49 years, Brian is known to all and sundry in NIAS and beyond. This recognition is a testament to his care of patients and his mentoring of many younger colleagues which continues to this very day.
Brian has always brought a sharp humour to the job, complementing the personal and clinical skills that he has used when treating patients at the most vulnerable times of their lives.
His passion is obvious to all who meet him. He has always been particularly keen to provide guidance and direction to young recruits, ensuring that they remain focused on the care of patients.
Head of Emergency Planning, Resilience and Operational Support
States of Jersey Ambulance Service
Jason has worked for the States of Jersey Ambulance for 32 years, entering the Service in 1990 as an Ambulance Technician, then Paramedic, Leading Ambulance Paramedic, Operations Manager and Head of Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Operational Support. Taking the lead for emergency planning for over 10 years, specialising in major incident preparedness, command and leading their voluntary partners, including training the Ambulance Support Unit (ASU), who assist at major incidents.
Jason continually strives to better himself and the service, is well respected by staff and regularly goes above and beyond, showing a level of dedication to the Ambulance Service that is well above that expected of staff. Jason arranges the training for and attends events in support of our volunteers, he volunteers for local medical charities (approx. 40 years voluntary service), spendings most weekends covering community events on a voluntary basis, many of which would not take place without him.
Head of Service for the East Region
Scottish Ambulance Service
During a distinguished career of more than 27 years with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), Julie Shields has worked as an ambulance care assistant, technician and paramedic. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she provided leadership in the National and East Regional cells. Recently, she played a leading role in work to give smartphone technology to all operational frontline staff.
She was instrumental in the rollout of 3,500 devices to improve diagnostic capability and make it easier to take care decisions at a local level. With her team, she also led the development of pathways to ensure patients receive the most appropriate care in the best setting. She provides leadership to her peers by chairing the SAS’s Head of Service Group and Ethnic Minority Forum.
Further recognition for the ambulance sector
As well as the King’s Ambulance Medal, other members of the ambulance sector have received awards today.
Robert Fellows, lately Head of Education at the College of Paramedics, has been awarded an OBE for Services to Paramedic Education.
Volunteer Car Service Driver Ian Cross has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Welsh Ambulance Service.
Ian, a civil servant from Pontypool, volunteers two days per week to take patients to their hospital appointments, including dialysis, oncology and outpatient appointments.
Ian, who is severely deaf, is usually accompanied by his hearing dog Buddy, a 10-year-old Cocker Spaniel trained to assist Ian by alerting him to important sounds, like smoke alarms.
In 2022/23, Volunteer Car Service Drivers made 51,924 journeys across Wales and covered more than one and a half million miles in their own vehicles.
Assistant Director Emergency Planning
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service
Johnny McArthur, NIAS Assistant Director for Emergency Planning, has been awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). At the time of the nomination, Johnny was NIAS lead for HART and was nominated on the strength of his efforts in that role.
Johnny has a specific role within the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) as lead for the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), a group of specialist paramedics who deliver emergency care in highly dangerous conditions such as collapsed buildings, chemical leaks, flooding, and major fires.
Uniquely to Northern Ireland the team also provides medical support to mountain rescue services and close medical support at public order incidents to the Police Service, and this has only been possible because of his close partnership with these and other agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Service and Coastguard. He has also been central in developing the service’s preparedness for a major terrorist or other mass casualty incident, working closely with the National Ambulance Resilience Unit.
About the King’s Ambulance Service Medal
The King’s Ambulance Service Medal is awarded to members of the NHS Ambulance Service (and equivalents) in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands for distinguished service. It was introduced on 11 July 2011 and first awarded during the 2012 Birthday Honours. Recipients may use the post-nominal letters “KAM” or “QAM” depending on when the award was made, and on occasions when the use of such letters is customary.
The number of nominations in any one year may never exceed ten and includes up to four Medals for England, up to two Medals for Wales, up to two Medals for Scotland, up to one Medal for Northern Ireland and up to one Medal for the Channel Islands.
In accordance with custom, the medals will be formally presented at an Investiture Ceremony.
Congratulations to all recipients for their dedication, from all at NARU.