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Welcome to SWASFT

January 2020

Staff Elections and Our Council of Governors

You might have seen some recent social media posts and screensavers about staff elections and our Council of Governors, but what is this all about and what does it mean for you?

Why do we have a council of Governors?

In 2011 we became the first ambulance service to gain Foundation Trust status which gave us greater freedom and more flexibly. This also means we are more accountable to our local communities and staff through our public members and staff members who can vote for Governors to represent them or even stand as governors themselves.

What do our Governors do?

You might be surprised by what our Council of Governors do and how this can impact the Trust, those that work within it and our patients. Some of the key responsibilities of the Governors include:

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  • Representing the views of local communities and staff members at Board level
  • Holding our Non-Executive Directors to account
  • The appointment of our Non-Executive Directors
  • The appointment of our Chief Executive
  • The appointment of our external auditors

            As well as the above our Governors attended a number of local engagement events to enable them to speak to our public, visit our people on stations and go out with our crews on 3rd manning shifts.

            All of our Governors work on a voluntary basis.

            Who are our Governors?

            Our Governors are split into three categories: Public, Staff and Appointed Governors.

            There are 19 Public Governors spread across each of our constituencies in the Trust, 6 Staff Governors covering the services we provide and 7 appointed Governors made up of our partner organisations.

            More detail on this can be found at:



            What does this mean for you?

            As staff members you can get involved in two main ways:

            • Vote: This is your opportunity to elect someone that you would like to represent you, your views and your ideas. As you might have seen we are currently in the process of electing our staff Governors and you will be able to vote on Tuesday 28 January 2020 until Thursday 20 February 2020. Voting detail will follow.
            • Become a Governor: If becoming a governor sounds like something you would like to do, all staff are eligible (subject to eligibility checks) to stand as staff Governors for the Trust. If you would like more information on this please contact the team on the details below.
            • Communicate: Your Governors are there for you and your benefit and to support your within your role at the Trust, Governors have direct contact with the Board and have the voice of the people.

            Staff Governors election statements and photos are below for your information, you can vote for your representative by following this link

            A&E EAST

            David Shephard

            I currently serve as your elected staff Governor for Dorset and Somerset and have been in post for the past five years. During this time I have come to fully understand the work of the Council and its responsibilities, I have strived to ensure that other Council members are always informed of staff side feelings and concerns, and I have assisted in its duties when holding the non-executive directors to account. Very recently, in 2019 I became part of the panel to appoint three new non-executive directors to the Trust's board.

            I am a Paramedic with considerable experience as well as involvement in local station liaison, I actively participate in mentoring programmes within division and various outreach initiatives including the local community responder programme.

            I wish to continue to improve the communication links between the Council and staff, I have frontline experience in more than one Trust and have gained a deep perspective of how this and other Trusts operate. I believe that I have the necessary skills and experience to continue as your elected Council member.

            If re-elected I would bring to the Council my experience of Trust business matters coupled with a very firm grasp of what being a 21st Century Foundation Trust means to both the people we serve and the staff who serve them. Representation of Dorset and Somerset is extremely important and continual staff side representation would be the cornerstone of my re-election.


            Royston Dunk

            I have lived and worked within southwest with my wife and daughter for over 10 years, initially serving as a warrant and staff officer within the military. Upon completion of my service career I became a lecturer before becoming a training designer and deliverer within the aerospace and defence industries.

            After a few years of retirement, I found myself volunteering as a community first responder, which soon evolved into becoming an Emergency Care Assistant within the East Division at Shepton Mallet, a role I am very much proud to fulfill.

            Coming from the military has given me a strong sense of leadership, management and of personal responsibility. All of which provided me with a firm foundation for my career and life, allowing me to achieve my graduateship and subsequent membership to the chartered management institute, that I personally feel is best applied by personal example.

            After completing my training and by gaining valuable experience on the road within the trust as part of crew. I now feel that I can offer more by brining elements of my previous experience and applying my qualifications to this role and furthermore by providing to you, a conduit for all our collective voices within the council of governors as your staff member.

            I very much hope as your candidate to be able to represent all of us who work tirelessly within the eastern division that strive to provide excellent patient care and who are so very much valued by the communities which we serve.


            Brian Green

            Proposal for Position of Governor on the Council of Governors at SWASFT.

            My name is Brian Green, 62 years old. I am an Emergency Care Assistant on front line duties at Bridgwater Ambulance Station. I am keen to participate in the Governing Body’s work, supporting my fellow colleagues’ interests and be part of the organisation which is responsible for overseeing the broader issues of Trust activities, involving staff, stakeholders and the wider public. Providing a link from these bodies to the higher elements of the Trust.

            I have comprehensive experience acting as a Governor. I was Chair of Governors at a Primary School in Wellington, Somerset for 14 years devising and overseeing numerous sub-committees to help run the school efficiently. I managed its transition in and out of Grant Maintained Status. Pupil numbers increased from 150 to 260 during my tenure.

            I worked for the Ministry of Defence for 35 years, delivering products to the Royal Navy and commercial Maritime Services, Globally. I am a qualified Internal Auditor and experienced in Method Study.

            I was Managing Director of my own small business ‘Chart Check Ltd’ which involved training and auditing, until joining the Trust 6 years ago.

            My skills include: People and Resource Management, Auditing, Method Study, Specialised Nautical Chart Work, Marketing, Account and Sales Management Worldwide, Product Development and Promotion, Clinical Knowledge to ECA standard, working closely with Paramedics and of course Response Driving.

            I would be proud to represent my Sector as a Trust Governor.


            A&E NORTH

            Mark Love

            Since the acquisition of GWAS into SWAST I have had several years of involvement with the Council of Governors (CoG). I represented the north sector for 9 months before taking a 3 year break. In 2017 I decided to apply again to sit back on the CoG and my application was successful.

            During both my terms I have attended meetings and training while holding the Non-executive Directors (NED’s) to account for the decisions made by the trust. I have informed both the NED’s and Executive Directors of the views from staff and how the decisions they have made affect staff of all levels and grades. I have recently joined the Remuneration and Recommendation Panel; one job of this panel is to appoint Non-executive Directors to the trust Board.

            I have worked my way through the front line ranks of the Ambulance service since starting with London Ambulance Service as a Technician then joined GWAS at Lydney, Forest of Dean in 2008. In 2010 I undertook the first Technician to Paramedic conversion course at UWE. As a Paramedic I continued to work throughout Gloucestershire & in 2016 I became an Operations Officer again based in Gloucestershire.

            I would like to continue to represent the North sector on the board so I can continue to give a voice for all staff in our area. Since been in the role of OO I have learned more about how SWAST works and that will hold me in good stead as a governor.


            James Lewis

            I believe that the voice of staff working on front line services is vital to the way the Trust delivers services. I am passionate about the value that frontline staff bring to the service and want to help shape the Trust going forward to recognise and support the commitment and strengths the teams give. Daily I hear many issues that go unresolved, drive down our resilience and create divisions between teams. I want to help the Trust move forward on building an organisation where strengths are recognised, achievements celebrated and staff views can be represented at the highest levels.

            Being a Trustee would enable me to raise the profile of frontline staff and ensure that in future developments the voice of the staff group as a whole is heard and listened to. I believe that you should be able to have a true voice of the concerns of the staff and that you need to trust that person to take on the role without any prejudices and negative comments. I am new to the Trust with just 19 months ECA experience but my passion for developing a service I can enjoy being part of goes way beyond the brief time spent within the Trust. I bring fresh eyes, no prior history and a desire to get things moving the right way for the staff.

            A&E WEST

            Sarah Lennard

            I began my career with South Western Ambulance Service as an area administrator, progressing to emergency care assistant and then taking the Open University route to become a Paramedic, I am now a lead Paramedic at Redruth and Hayle stations.

            I became the Staff Governor for Devon and Cornwall in March 2017 and have developed within the role, attending the meetings regularly, contributing when necessary to give an operations perspective to the Council of Governors and the Non-Executive Directors, asking questions and looking for assurance from the Non-Executive Directors about their involvement and influence within the Trust. Most recently becoming a member of the remuneration and recommendation group, interviewing for new Non–Executive Directors; this process involved being part of the shortlisting process as well as representing operational staff on the interview panel.

            I am keen to continue to represent you as your staff Governor for Devon and Cornwall, as I feel I have the knowledge and experience gained from the past 3 years, to best represent operational staff for the next 3 years.

            Christopher Jenkins

            I would like to be elected because I believe that I am highly suited to the role, always demonstrating a passion for health care issues and representing the interests of the wonderful staff within the organisation. I can evidence this through my work with Unison as a workplace steward as well as my role as a Time to Care Champion.

            In the past I have managed a team of 25-30 tree surgeons who worked in safety critical environments. This time allowed me to develop a broad understanding of staff issues and the level of support staff need to allow them to flourish as well as the ability to see both perspectives - from staff side as well as management side.

            The direction of my career changed when I joined the Ambulance service, following almost a decade of service in the Fire Service, which allowed me to develop excellent interpersonal and communication skills and ability to cope under pressure.

            In the time employed by the Ambulance service, I have developed a strong sense of duty and desire to be a provider of excellent care to the people we serve within the community, and made a lifelong commitment to continual learning and development.

            I believe that I have the skills required to act as a Governor and provide valuable input directly to and from the staff I work alongside, as well as the wider public, members, and stakeholders.



            Neil Hunt

            I am standing for re election as a Staff Governor as I have a wealth of experience having worked for the NHS Ambulance Service since 1986. I have worked in a variety of roles starting as an ACA through the ranks up to my current role as a Paramedic and Learning and Development Officer

            I am always keen to represent the views of staff and to feedback any information received during Council of Governor meetings. From a personal point of view it is interesting to get an understanding of the bigger workings of the Trust. This allows me to talk to staff from an informed point of view and enables me to signpost staff to the correct place to get information around this area. Holding the Non Execs to account who in turn hold the Execs to account is fundamental to the working of the Trust and it is a pleasure to be involved in this process. Having served for 2 terms I am now in a position where I have a good understanding of how the Council of Governors work. I must admit it took some time to get my head around how it works and what the main purpose is. I am proactive and keen and I sit on the Remuneration and \Recommendation panel, again this has a direct impact on the make up of the Council. I thoroughly enjoy the role and I am keen to carry on in the Role. Thank you for you time.


            Nigel Stolliday

            Hi, my name is Nigel Stolliday and I have worked in the Ambulance Service since the beginning of 2008 in the ICT Department in Bristol. I initially started as a freelance contractor and in 2010 I became a permanent NHS employee in the North ICT Department.

            I have seen a lot of change within the organization and assisted with the ICT transition to GWAS from the 3 separate sectors and now subsequently I’m involved with several projects for SWAST. During my time in ICT, I have worked across many functions within the Service and have excellent knowledge of the quality of the services provided by our staff, not only clinical staff but the support staff who do not often have a voice in influencing decisions about the services provided by the trust.

            As a Company Director for a successful Limited Company for over 15 years, I understand how a professional attitude and work ethos are fundamental to the success of a Business and hope to bring these skills representing Staff into the role of Governor. I am passionate about Communication as its key to a great working environment and it empowers and motivates staff.

            999 Academy Launches Again in Bridgwater

            09 January 2020

            An emergency services’ initiative for young people in the South West to develop lifesaving skills is continuing its success.

            The Bridgwater 999 Academy kicked-off for the third time on Thursday 9 January with a prestigious event in the town. It was attended by senior and high-ranking police, fire and ambulance staff, as well as the latest group of students.  

            The original concept was created by Rob Horton, Responder Manager for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation, and Ian Dawson, formerly of Devon and Cornwall Police. They wanted to create a youth engagement programme for young people to develop knowledge and understanding of the emergency services alongside volunteering opportunities and social action.

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            Rob Horton said: “This joint emergency services’ 999 Academy programme is set up to inspire young people to become valued and respected members of our community whilst developing the transferrable skills which employers and education providers are looking for on a CV.”

            Established in 2011, the 999 Academy youth development programme runs for 18-months during term time outside of education hours.

            Last summer, a seven-day version of the course was run to give young people aged 16-19 the opportunity to learn new skills during school holidays.

            Previous academy students have gone into employment within the emergency services and others are currently in training.

            The academy offers students the opportunity to go ‘behind the scenes’ with the three main emergency services, as well as have theory-based lessons delivered by operational police, fire and ambulance staff. The students are given experience of the daily duties and requirements of our emergency services and build up close, professional working relationships with the delivery team.  

            The application process for the current Bridgwater 999 Academy saw more than 100 applications from students across the three campuses of Bridgwater and Taunton College. The applicants went through a rigorous process including skills and fitness tests concluding with a formal interview, with 23 students eventually being invited to join.

            The successful students were welcomed and inaugurated by Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

            Ruth Burrows, who developed the Bridgwater 999 Academy concept, said: “Bridgwater 999 Academy is such an exciting opportunity for those young people who wish to learn about working within the blue light services and equally important as an opportunity for personal development and volunteering opportunities.”

            The mission statement of the 999 Academy is:

            To provide knowledge and skills for individuals by raising aspirations and promoting a positive image and using the following core values:

            Respect, Inclusion, Education, Safety, Community

            Family Thank Lifesavers After Dad’s Heart Stops

            10 January 2020

            A father of three and his family have been reunited with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) team and hotel staff who saved his life when his heart stopped beating.

            Carl Botham, 53, collapsed and stopped breathing at the Swindon Marriott Hotel.

            Staff realised he needed urgent treatment, so they called 999 and began resuscitation.

            To listen to the 999 call click here

              Paramedics used a defibrillator to restart Carl’s heart, and transported him to hospital in a critical condition. 

              Carl regained consciousness four days later, and has gone on to make a fantastic recovery.

              Carl, his wife Lorna, and their three children made a special trip from their Stafford home to the hotel on Thursday 30 January to thank the staff and paramedics in person.

              Carl, who has no memory of the incident, said: “I’m thankful to still be alive, and to everyone who was involved in saving me. They did an amazing job, and I cannot thank them enough.

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              “Without their actions, I would have missed my daughter’s wedding in August and I wouldn’t be here today.”

              Carl was working as an electrical contractor when the incident happened in the hotel’s kitchen on 17 April. He cut his head in the fall and was unconscious.

              Chris Wood, who was then Leisure Club Manager and First Aid Tutor, did an initial assessment and began treatment.

              Head Chef, Andrew James, called 999 and spoke to Emergency Medical Dispatcher Jonathan Leaton who guided him through the basic life support procedure.

              Andrew and Chris did CPR and mouth-to-mouth for several minutes, while Clinical Dispatcher Carl Hodgson organised for crews to attend.

              Lead Paramedic Arron Dalby and Paramedic Officer Rich Carter were first on scene within five minutes of the call. They were joined by Paramedic Hannah Bennett and Student Paramedic Helen Harris two minutes later. They were later supported by Senior Paramedic Helen Eggleton and a Wiltshire Air Ambulance crew.

              The team continued CPR and gave Carl three shocks with a defibrillator to resuscitate him.

              They transported him by ambulance to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon where he was put on a life support machine and remained for more than two weeks.

              Lorna said: “I received the worst phone call ever from Carl’s employer. We left Stafford with just what we had on us to be with him.

              “We never thought this would happen, especially when Carl was away from home. But we’re so grateful to everyone involved in saving Carl’s life. They were amazing.”

              Carl was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to regulate his abnormal heart rhythm.  He continued his recovery at home and has since returned to work.

              Lead Paramedic Arron said: “Carl survived a cardiac arrest because of the immediate and effective actions from those on scene. Without their intervention his outcome would have been different.

              “They laid a great foundation for SWASFT to continue resuscitation and utilise our advanced treatment, and they deserve much praise.

              “This was an ultimate team effort from bystanders, ambulance staff and air ambulance staff. It’s incredible to be involved in making such a huge difference for a patient.

              “Carl is living proof that people can and do survive cardiac arrests, if they are given the right treatment at the right time. We’re delighted about this outcome for Carl and his family.”

              If you suspect someone is having a heart attack or cardiac arrest: call 999 immediately, begin CPR, and use a public access defibrillator if one is available.


              1. The attached photos shows (left to right): SWASFT Paramedics Hannah Bennett and Helen Harris, Lorna Botham, Swindon Marriott Head Chef Andrew James, Alfie and Carl Botham, SWASFT Paramedic Helen Eggleton, Former Leisure Club Manager Chris Wood, George and Nichola Botham. 

                2. A sudden cardiac arrest is an urgent medical emergency when the heart stops beating, abruptly and without warning. When this happens blood stops pumping round the body and the brain is starved of oxygen. That causes the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing. A heart attack may cause a cardiac arrest.

                3. There are approximately 59,000 cardiac arrests in England each year. There are approximately 28,000 attempts to resuscitate people having out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year. Fewer than one in 10 people survive an out-of hospital cardiac arrest in the UK. But the sooner effective cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is started, the better the chance of survival for the patient. For every minute delay, the patient’s chances of survival fall by 10%. If a defibrillator is readily available, patients are six times more likely to survive.

                New Lifting Aid Benefits Cornwall Patients

                15 January 2020

                More Cornish patients are benefiting from a volunteer-led South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) initiative after it received new funds.

                Torpoint’s Community Responder group raised more than £3,000 through South Western Ambulance Charity to purchase a new lifting chair for patients who have fallen at home and are unable to get up.

                The scheme involves patients calling 999 and them being attended to by trained volunteers, called Community First Responders (CFRs).  

                In each incident, the CFR assesses the patient with support from a clinician in the Control Hub. They use the lifting chair to move patients from the floor to a sitting or standing position, and the clinician decides if an ambulance is required.

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                The initiative reduces patient wait times and can avoid them needing to go hospital. It also frees-up frontline crews to be available for life-threatening incidents.

                Brian Jones, from Torpoint Community Responder Group, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding, thanks to the generosity of various local organisations.

                “The lifting scheme enables us to further support patients at home in their local community in a robust and safe way. It means patients can be helped back onto their feet in a safe and more-timely manner.

                “That reduces the risk of potential complications, and often removes the need for an ambulance to attend.”

                The lifting concept was developed in 2017 as a way to attend and assess non-injury falls patients more quickly, developing the skills and experience of CFRs with help from clinicians.

                SWASFT was given the Best Care of Older People accolade at the Health Service Journal’s 2018 Patient Safety Awards for the initiative.

                Additional info:

                • Around a third of people aged 65+ and about half of people aged 80+ fall at least once a year. Falls can cause pain and distress, and may lead to serious health problems. They often result in people losing their confidence and independence.
                • During an eight-week trial involving 17 groups across the South West waiting times for non-injury falls patients were cut by 12.5%. Of the incidents attended by a CFR 77% did not need support from a paramedic, saving 148 hours of frontline resource time.
                • The following groups donated towards the cost of the new chair: Torpoint Lions, Torpoint Royal Naval Association,  Antony Parish Council,  Torcare,  Community Health Around Torpoint,  Torpoint WI,  Crafthole WI, and Wilcove Art Group.

                Family Thank Ambulance Service After Dad Stops Breathing

                30 January 2020

                A father of four has thanked South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) after he survived a cardiac arrest. 

                Kevin Scott, 40, collapsed and stopped breathing while looking after his children at home in Westbury, Wiltshire. 

                The children raised the alarm, and family friends did CPR and used a community defibrillator to resuscitate him.

                Paramedics provided further treatment, and transported him to hospital. He went on to make a fantastic recovery.

                The family made a special trip to Trowbridge Ambulance Station on Sunday 5 January to thank staff personally.  

                Kevin said: “Thank you to everyone who helped to save my life.

                “I have no recollection of what happened, but I have been told of the wonderful care the paramedics and hospial staff provided.

                “Without the actions of our children, our friends, the paramedics, and the availability of the community defibrillator, things could have turned out very differently.”

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                Katrina, Kevin’s partner, said: “This was the worst imaginable experience for our family, but the response could not have been better. Thank you to everyone for all you did. You are all heroes!”

                Kevin has a rare condition called situs inversus totalis, which means his heart and other organs are on the opposite site of his body to normal.

                His sudden cardiac arrest happened in the kitchen in front of his 10-year-old daughter Aiyana in April 2019. His 13-year-old daughter Elysia got help, and his 15-year-old son Leyton called 999 to inform SWASFT.

                A SWASFT 999 Call Handler instructed those on scene who were providing basic life support, while other control room staff organised for crews to be sent to the scene.

                The call handler told those on scene to get the nearby defibrillator, which Elysia ran to get.

                The family friends, who were doing CPR, used the defibrillator to give Kevin two shocks to restart his heart.

                SWASFT Operations Officer Michael Anning arrived first on scene to find Kevin breathing for himself. Michael was soon followed by specialist paramedics Daniel Tucker and James Hubbard. They were also joined by ambulance crew Alice Holt and Angela Welch.

                The team stabilised Kevin at the scene and transported him to hospital in Bath before he was transferred to Bristol.

                Kevin was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in an effort to prevent it happening again.

                Michael said: “The patient’s children were extremely brave in gaining help quickly and obtaining the defibrillator. The lifesaving interventions, including the bystander CPR, made all the difference to Kevin.

                “It was great to meet the patient and his family on behalf of the entire ambulance team, including the call handler who provided crucial instructions before we arrived.”

                If you suspect someone is having a heart attack or cardiac arrest: call 999 immediately, begin CPR, and use a public access defibrillator if one is available.


                1. A sudden cardiac arrest is an urgent medical emergency when the heart stops beating, abruptly and without warning. When this happens blood stops pumping round the body and the brain is starved of oxygen. That causes the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing. 

                2. The sooner effective cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is started, the better the chance of survival for the patient. For every minute delay, the patient’s chances of survival fall by 10%. If a defibrillator is readily available, patients are six times more likely to survive.

                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