This year’s King’s New Year Honours list has seen recognition for ambulance employees from London, Isle of Wight, Welsh and Scottish Ambulance Services.
All were recipients of the King’s Ambulance Medal (KAM), which honours a select group of ambulance personnel who have shown exceptional devotion to duty, outstanding ability, merit and conduct in their roles within NHS Ambulance Services.
The King’s Ambulance Medal
From London Ambulance Service Cathy-Anne Burchett, Associate Director of Operations for South East London, has been awarded the KAM.
Cathy-Anne joined the Service in 1995 as an Emergency Call Handler, and worked in the Control Room for the first 26 years with the Trust.
Cathy-Anne’s dedication, passion and commitment has taken her career through various roles across 999 operations and in 2018, she became a General Manager – the most senior position in the Control Room.
Using her understanding of 999 operations and the challenges Control Room colleagues face, Cathy-Anne played a pivotal role in creating the right environment at the new LAS Control Room.
At the Welsh Ambulance Service. Wendy Herbert, the Trust’s Assistant Director of Quality and Nursing, has also been recognised with the KAM.
Wendy, of Merthyr Tydfil, is a registered nurse who began her NHS Wales career in 1988.
She has held several senior clinical roles across Wales, including as the Head of Nursing for Children and Specialist Public Health at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
Wendy was appointed the Trust’s Assistant Director of Quality and Nursing in 2014.
In Scotland, Alistair Macdonald, 67 of Inverness, has been awarded the prestigious honour, acknowledging his exceptional devotion to duty, merit and conduct.
The dad-of-two, and granddad of four, joined the Service 13 years ago, previously working as a police inspector in Glasgow, where he was born before relocating to the North.
Initially he joined SAS’s Patient Transport Service where he worked on the road, carrying out routine patient transfers for a period of 10 years during which he became the bariatric instructor for the Highlands & Western Isles.
After this he then transferred to his new role as the North lead for the Service’s face fitting, defibrillator, logistics and controlled drugs administration projects, working on a number of projects aimed at improving health in the community, along with ensuring the safety and best practice training of ambulance service staff.
At South Western Ambulance Service, Vicki Brown, Advanced Clinical Practitioner, Critical Care, has been awarded the King’s Ambulance Service Medal.
Vicki has made an exceptional and pioneering contribution to the development and enhancement of advanced paramedic practice over the course of her 22-year career, both within the Trust and at a national level. Driven by a desire to provide the best quality care to patients, she has worked tirelessly to enhance patient care for those critically ill and injured, dedicating 17 years work with air ambulances in the region.
Vicki has held national paramedic roles within the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care (FPHC) and is an examiner with FPHC, recently qualifying with the Fellowship in Immediate Medical Care and accrediting as a consultant level practitioner in prehospital emergency medicine, the first paramedic to achieve this status.
Having forged the development of an advanced practice framework in collaboration with the Medical Directorate, Specialist Leads and key external stakeholders, she was the first paramedic within the Trust to attain advanced practitioner status in critical care. Using her initiative, she has developed, refined, and supported the rollout of this career pathway for others.
At the Isle of Wight Louise Walker, Head of Education, Training and Engagement, has been similarly recognised.
Louise, who was born on the island and grew up in Cowes, has worked in the NHS for over 23 years. She first qualified as a nurse at the University of the West of England, Bristol, in 2000 and went on to work for North Bristol NHS Trust before moving back home to the Island.
Following a nursing career in paediatrics, the Emergency Department and as a Resuscitation Officer, Louise moved to work for the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service 11 years ago.
When she started there were only 11 public access defibrillators (PADs) and thanks to Louise’s dedication and hard work, the island now has almost 100 ambulance owned PADs, over 400 privately owned PADs, and Louise is recognised as a national expert in this field.
Further recognition for dedication to ambulance, paramedic and patient care services:
The Chief Medical Officer of London Ambulance Service, Dr Fenella Wrigley, has been awarded an MBE in the King’s New Year’s Honours list for services to the NHS.
Fenella has dedicated her career to caring for the people of London since graduating from St George’s University Medical School in 1996, doing her specialist training in emergency medicine and working on London’s Air Ambulance, before becoming an A+E Consultant in 2006.
Fenella joined London Ambulance Service in 2008 as an Assistant Medical Director, and was appointed as Chief Medical Officer in 2016 and more recently Deputy Chief Executive. She maintains her consultant role, working regularly in the emergency department of the Royal London (part of Barts Health NHS Trust).
Carl Smith, Advanced Paramedic in Critical Care, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust; Head, Clinical Development for Emergency and Critical Care, College of Paramedics; and Firefighter, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, has been awarded BEM for services to the NHS and to Fire and Rescue.
Carl started his paramedic career in 2000 and eight years later began volunteering for MAGPAS Air Ambulance where he undertook shifts for five years as part of an Enhanced Care Team before transferring to East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).
During his career with the East of England Ambulance Service Carl has held a number of clinical and operational posts, the most recent of which was Sector Clinical Lead and Regional Cardiac Lead. Since joining the College of Paramedics as their Head of Clinical Development for Emergency and Critical Care in 2023, Carl continues to undertake clinical shifts as an Advanced Paramedic in Critical Care and remains an active member of the EAAA team.
Welsh Ambulance Community First Responder Gerry Adams has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for voluntary services to the community in Barry.
Gerry, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, developed an interest in saving lives at the tender age of 10 when he joined the St John Ambulance Brigade.
He went on to become a founding member of the St John Lifeguards and joined the RNLI at Barry Dock, spending 18 years as a volunteer crew member and 18 years as a press officer.
Gerry later joined the ambulance service as a Community First Responder and now co-ordinates the activities of the Barry and Vale of Glamorgan First Responders.
Paul Brackley, Community First Responder at Oundle Community First Responders has also received a BEM for services to the community in Oundle and North Northamptonshire
Paul, head porter at Oundle School, has been a community first responder for two decades, having helped set up the scheme in his hometown.
The 58-year-old is named in the new year’s honours list for services to the community in Oundle and the surrounding areas.
Linda Williams, Volunteer Support Administrator at the Welsh Ambulance Service, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the Community First Responder scheme in north Wales.
Linda joined the service in 2004 and spent 11 years as an Emergency Medical Technician before an injury meant she had to step back from her patient-facing role.
Linda, who is based in St Asaph, Denbighshire, now supports Community First Responders, the volunteers who attend 999 calls in their area and administer first aid in the precious first minutes before an ambulance arrives.
She put her retirement plans on hold in 2020 to support volunteers through the Covid-19 pandemic. Next year, she celebrates 20 years of service.
All at NARU applaud and congratulate this year’s recipients, who will receive their medals at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace later in the new year.
About the King’s Ambulance Service Medal
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.
The award was introduced in 2011 (as the Queen’s Ambulance Medal, QAM) and ensures that the dedication of ambulance staff now has the same level of Royal recognition as other members of the emergency services.
The number of nominations for a KAM 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. They are awarded twice a year.