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August 2020

SWASFT Achieves Gold Standard For Major Emergencies Training

10 August 2020

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) has been officially recognised for delivering world-class training for major emergencies.

The Trust has been awarded the prestigious Skills for Health Quality Mark – for providing outstanding Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) training.

The training, which is run in partnership with Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre, is intended to prepare commanders for anything from extreme weather conditions to a major transport incident or an outbreak of an infectious disease.

SWASFT is the first UK ambulance trust to meet the Gold Standard following an intense process of interviews, questionnaires and observations. It means the Trust is providing the best training of its kind in the healthcare industry.

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Robert Flute, SWASFT EPRR Command Training Advisor said: “We are absolutely delighted to have achieved the ultimate accolade in this brand of healthcare training.

“We are extremely proud of our training courses, which are intended to prepare commanders for major or significant incidents, based on risks for the South West region and the whole country. We try to make the training challenging and realistic – and also enjoyable.

“Participants are assessed throughout the course with various written and e-learning elements. We always get out of the classroom for a final exercise where command participants have a complex incident to manage.”

The Quality Mark provides a framework that defines and endorses superior learning and training standards that health care employers need to cultivate a world-class workforce.

Wayne Darch, SWASFT’s Head of Operations, EPRR and Specialist Practice said: "This is fantastic news for the Trust as well as my wider team and has been achieved as a result of our continued journey with our EPRR compliance and quality improvement agenda."

SWASFT’s suite of training courses was given full CPD accreditation in 2018, meaning it is an officially recognised training provider.


Ambulance Service Warns Over High Summer Demand

12 August 2020

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is reminding people only to call 999 in a medical emergency when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

The Trust has been responding to a high number of incidents in recent days, as demand on the service has increased noticeably during the past month.

SWASFT dealt with 14,340 incidents between Friday 7 and Tuesday 11 August, an increase of 13.8% compared to the same time period last year.

The Trust is encouraging people to use the ambulance service wisely, and to make appropriate use of other healthcare options.

It warns that continued high call volumes could delay help to those patients most in need of emergency care.

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A SWASFT spokesperson said: “Our activity levels have been higher in recent weeks, with the easing of lockdown and many visitors coming into the South West.

“In recent days we have experienced a very high level of demand – similar to what would normally be expected between Christmas and New Year.

“We would remind people always to call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

“For less-serious medical incidents, please contact NHS 111 by phone or online to make sure you get the right treatment.

“Please think carefully before calling 999 and ask yourself: ‘Is it a real emergency?’”

People should always call 999 if someone has stopped breathing, has severe chest pain, is choking, may be having a stroke, has serious blood loss, or is unconscious.



1. This chart shows the total number of SWASFT incidents per day:


Ambulance Service Condemns Spitting Assault on Paramedic

21 August 2020

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) has condemned a “disgusting” assault against one of its paramedics in an ambulance car. 

An unknown male on a bicycle spat through the Rapid Response Vehicle window onto the victim’s face, before riding away without saying a word.

SWASFT and Avon and Somerset (A&S) Police are appealing for help from the public to find the perpetrator of the attack in Croydon Street, Bristol on 15 May.

Dave Manners, SWASFT’s Deputy County Commander for BNSSG (Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire) said: “We condemn this deplorable assault on our paramedic while they were on duty driving an ambulance.

“Nobody should have to face this kind of disgusting behaviour, especially not a healthcare professional working tirelessly during a global health pandemic.

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“Our people are there to help you, your family members and friends, often at the most difficult of times. Please join us in supporting the police appeal to find the person responsible for this attack on one of our family, and bring them to justice.”

An A&S Police spokesperson added: "We'd ask anyone who can help us with our investigation into this incident to get in touch with us on 101 or via our website, quoting reference 5220105782.”

Ambulance crews and control room staff reported 290 incidents during the first 10 weeks of lockdown from 23 March to 31 May. This figure compared with 199 during the same time period in 2019.

Jenny Winslade, SWASFT Executive Director of Quality and Clinical Care, said: “We urge the public to respect our people.

“They demonstrate dedication and courage every day, putting their own health at risk for the sake of others. But sadly they face violence and aggression every day while they are trying to protect and save our patients’ lives, which is completely unacceptable.  

“Any incident of violence and aggression can have serious consequences on them, their families and colleagues.

“We support whatever action is necessary to protect our staff from harm, and ensure those responsible for any attacks are prosecuted.”

The #Unacceptable campaign, which was launched in 2018, aims to highlight the abuse and assaults faced by emergency services workers while on the job.

It reminds people that assaults of this nature are unacceptable, and are a crime under the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018.

SWASFT is encouraging people to share social media posts in support of the campaign to spread the message as far as possible.

NB - The image shows the suspect riding past the ambulance at the time of the incident. 

‘Think Twice Before Calling 999 For An Ambulance’

28 August 2020

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is urging people to “think twice” before calling 999 for an ambulance this Bank Holiday weekend.

The Trust experienced its busiest summer week of activity in three years between 10 and 16 August when it responded to almost 20,000 incidents.

It has dealt with around 75,500 incidents during the past four calendar weeks, an increase of 6.4% compared to the same period last year.

SWASFT is reminding people to call 999 only in a medical emergency when someone is seriously injured or ill and their life is at risk.                      

It advises people to contact NHS 111 by phone or online for less serious medical incidents.

Read More

The Trust warns that inappropriate use of the 999 service could delay help to patients most in need of emergency care.

A SWASFT spokesperson said: “The demand on our service has been going up and up since lockdown was eased at the start of July.

“Although demand reduced slightly last week, we faced very real challenges of dealing with an exceptional week during the heatwave earlier this month.

“To put that week into context, we have only had six other weeks in the past three years with those kinds of activity levels. All of those weeks were in the month of December when we traditionally receive high levels of activity associated with winter pressures.

“Please think twice before calling 999 this Bank Holiday weekend, and ask yourself: ‘Is it a real emergency?’”

People should always call 999 if someone has stopped breathing, has severe chest pain, is choking, may be having a stroke, has serious blood loss, or is unconscious.


  1. This chart shows the total number of SWASFT incidents per week:

Week commencing

Last year

Current year





3.01% increase




9.73% increase




13.89% increase




0.59% decrease


Note: The photos were taken at a recent training course that the assessors observed prior to granting the Skills for Health Quality Mark.

South Western Ambulance Charity logo

South Western Ambulance Charity

The South Western Ambulance Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the care that you or your loved one has received from us in the form of a charitable donation please visit our online giving website: Donate to South Western Ambulance Charity | Give as you Live Donate