South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust logo

Welcome to SWASFT

International award for Bristol 999 worker

An Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) has won UK and Ireland Dispatcher of the Year.

Sophie Millar, 25, from Bristol, who works at SWASFT’s Bristol location in Bradley Stoke, was awarded the title at the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) UK & Ireland Navigator Conference that was held in September, coincidentally also in Bristol.

The role of an EMD (also known as a 999 call handler) is a critical part of the ambulance service.  They are the first point of contact when a 999 call is made in a medical emergency and are able to provide life-saving help and advice ahead of an ambulance or other resources arriving on scene.

The award won by Sophie recognises individuals who have made the most significant contributions throughout the year to further the values of IAED and emergency dispatch excellence.

Sophie was nominated by Nick Dury, an EMD Quality and Professional Development Lead at SWASFT. He says: “Sophie is the perfect role model to all aspiring EMDs and she is a highly valued member of the team. She is calm, professional and compassionate, whilst being extremely knowledgeable and a leader within our team.

“Sophie has been a regular mentor to new staff and offers support and guidance to other team members.”

Sophie, who has worked for SWASFT for nearly three years, says: “I feel incredibly privileged to have won the award for Dispatcher of the Year.

“I’m very lucky to be part of such a dedicated and hardworking team. Being an EMD is such a challenging but rewarding job. We all make such a difference to the lives of people in the South West.”

Jo Gadsden, Head of the Bristol Emergency Operations Centre, says: “Huge congratulations to Sophie, as well as to all the other nominees, who do an amazing job acting with compassion and providing vital care and support to our patients within the communities we serve. We are incredibly proud of them, and grateful for the difference they make to those in need.

“We are currently looking for new people just like Sophie, who are compassionate, caring and calm under pressure to join us in our Emergency Operations Centres in Exeter and Bristol. We would love to hear from people who want to make a difference and be part of our supportive team.”

For further details and apply to be an Emergency Medical Dispatcher, please visit -

The IAED UK and Ireland Dispatcher of the Year Award is one of the most distinctive awards presented by the Academy. It is not based solely on one call, but on the totality of the emergency medical dispatcher’s role in the success of their centre, their community, and to the Academy.

Sophie was one of six SWASFT colleagues nominated for the award.

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