NARU chief Keith Prior receives Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal in New Year Honours List

The National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) is proud to announce that its National Director Keith Prior has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for Distinguished Service (QAM) in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year Honours List for the United Kingdom.

The QAM traditionally honours a 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.

Keith has served 39 years in the NHS ambulance service to date, starting as a cadet in the Greater Manchester Ambulance Service in 1981, becoming a frontline paramedic before rising through the ranks to become Assistant Chief Officer of West Midlands Ambulance Service, where he has managed NARU as its National Director since 2011.


The citation for Keith’s QAM award outlined the reasons why he was chosen for this honour, stating:

“Since 2011 Keith has made a significant contribution to UK national resilience by leading NARU, ensuring the effective ambulance response to major, mass-casualty incidents such as the Manchester Arena bombing, London terror attacks, severe flooding, the Salisbury chemical attack, Ebola, Covid-19 and other high-risk events.

He has also worked tirelessly to ensure the emergency services work more closely together, as the Deputy Strategic Ambulance Lead to the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) – established in 2012 to improve how the police, fire and ambulance services work together at major or complex incidents.

Under his leadership, NARU is now recognised as a world-class central resource for the national management and coordination of the pre-hospital mass casualty response to particularly high-risk and challenging events. Nationally and internationally, NARU is now seen as a leader in the field of education & training for specialist ambulance operations, as well as being accepted as a trusted Government resource for policy development, advice and assurance in all aspects of specialist ambulance operations.”


Commenting on his award, Keith said:

It is very humbling to have been recognised in this way, at a time when so many ambulance staff across the UK are working tirelessly to try and keep people safe and save lives during this national pandemic.

But it is also a tremendous honour to lead NARU at this crucial time and I would like to pay tribute to my team who devote so much time and effort into supporting the development and improvement of national resilience within the ambulance service.

Without their hard work, NARU would not be the successful organisation it is today, and I feel in many ways I am accepting this honour on their behalf too.


To see details of other UK ambulance sector recipients of honours in the New Year list, see the AACE news release here.