Connect with us


Welsh Ambulance Service appoints palliative care paramedics in UK first



The Welsh Ambulance Service has appointed its first dedicated palliative care paramedics.

The new recruits will deliver specialist care to patients who are nearing the end of their life, in what is also a UK ambulance service first.

The four-strong team will work as part of Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Specialist Palliative Care Team and divide their time between patients in the community and patients in a hospital and hospice setting.

The new paramedics will take up post in November.

Ed O’Brian, End of Life Care Lead at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “People associate the role of a paramedic with managing trauma patients or patients who’ve had a heart attack or stroke.

“Not many people realise that we also help patients approaching the end of their life due to an advanced illness, either with urgent symptom management or for a sudden deterioration.

“Every paramedic in Wales is trained to support these patients, but the palliative care paramedic role is unique in that their time will be divided between patients in the community and those in an inpatient setting.


“In the community, they’ll respond to palliative emergencies – essentially, they’re the bridge between the home and hospital for patients in the last days of life.

“They’ll also work in a hospital or hospice setting providing support to Swansea Bay patients, working alongside the nursing team under the direction of a consultant in palliative medicine.

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with our health board colleagues on this initiative, which we hope will improve the quality of care for terminally ill patients and open up new and innovative ways of meeting their needs.

“The bonus is that our new recruits will receive specialist training and mentorship from our hospital colleagues, which they can then apply to their ambulance service role.”

Dr Gwenllian Davies, Palliative Care Consultant and Clinical Lead at Swansea Bay University Health Board, added: “We’re delighted to welcome paramedic colleagues to our Specialist Palliative Care Team.


“Their membership of the multi-disciplinary team will enhance the care we can provide for our patients.

“We look forward to learning from each other and hope that this will be the first of many similar collaborations for palliative teams.”

This is the latest in a series of initiatives the Welsh Ambulance Service has introduced to improve the care that palliative patients receive.

In February, the Trust joined forces with Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales to improve the training delivered to ambulance crews so they can better recognise when a patient is nearing the end of their life and better manage their symptoms to prevent avoidable hospital admissions.

The Trust was also the first ambulance service in the UK to introduce ‘Just in Case’ medications on its emergency vehicles, allowing paramedics to better manage the symptoms that may be experienced as terminally ill patients become more poorly.


The Trust’s End of Life Care Rapid Transport Service also works with teams across Wales to provide transport for terminally ill patients to their preferred place of death.

The service has made over 2,100 compassionate journeys since its introduction in 2017.

Dr Nikki Pease is a Macmillan Palliative Medicine Consultant at Velindre University NHS Trust and a member of the ambulance service’s End of Life Care Project Board.

She said: “The appointment of four palliative care paramedics in Swansea Bay builds on the solid foundation established by ongoing collaboration between the Welsh Ambulance Service and palliative care organisations across Wales.

“Outcomes from this local innovative change will be shared with colleagues and teams across Wales to ensure national learning to improve end-of-life care across Wales.”


(Lead image: Welsh Ambulance Service Trust)

Click to comment

Leave a Reply


Health board warning flu cases leading to hospital admissions in Swansea Bay




woman lying on bed while blowing her nose

The flu virus is already circulating and has led to people being hospitalised according to Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid.

Dr Reid said the cases, although small in number, should be a timely reminder that everyone eligible for a free flu vaccination should take up the offer.

Dr Keith Reid

“Flu was non-existent in autumn and winter 2020 as lockdowns, mask wearing and increased hand hygiene stopped it and other winter bugs from spreading from person to person,” he said.

“But we have been expecting to see flu come back this year and potentially at levels up to twice as high as a normal flu season.

“People were simply not exposed to flu and other seasonal viruses last year, so the level of immunity in the community is likely to have dropped and people will be susceptible.

“Plus we are all mixing far more now and, with the bad weather coming, we are all going to be heading indoors which will give flu and other bugs the ideal opportunity to spread.”

Flu can be fatal and research has shown that those infected with both flu and Covid are more than twice as likely to die as someone with Covid alone.


Dr Reid said: “This will be the first winter when we will have significant levels of flu and Covid circulating at the same time, so I must urge everyone, if they are eligible for a free flu vaccination, to take up the offer as soon as possible.

“While no vaccine can offer 100% protection, the flu vaccine remains our best defence against this nasty virus.

“And remember, if you haven’t yet had your first Covid vaccination you can still do so.”

(Lead image: Andrea Piacquadio /

Continue Reading

Armed Forces

Military to support Welsh Ambulance Service from today




The Armed Forces will begin to support the Welsh Ambulance Service from today.

Fifty troops from 4 Regiment Royal Logistic Corp will drive ambulances across Wales from Tuesday having undergone training at Newport’s Raglan Barracks on the weekend.

They will be joined in the next week by a further 50 personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

A 29-strong team of supporting personnel will make a total of 129 soldiers, sailors and airmen supporting the Trust until the end of November.

Lee Brooks, the Trust’s Director of Operations, said: “We’re proud and grateful to have the military working alongside us once again, who did a superb job of assisting us on two occasions previously last year.

“Having our Armed Forces colleagues back on board will help us put more ambulances on duty so we can get to more patients, more quickly, while the extreme pressure continues.


“Essentially, they’ll work with one of our clinicians on an emergency ambulance responding to the full range of emergency calls.

“The winter period is our busiest time, and having military support will bolster our capacity and put us in the best possible position to provide a safe service to the people of Wales.”

Major Alex Wilson, Officer Commanding 60 Close Support Squadron, Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, 4 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, said: “Over the weekend we spent time training with the paramedics and emergency medical technicians to familiarise ourselves with the ambulances, equipment and processes to make sure we can assist in the best way we can.

“The soldiers are ready to begin the task we have been deployed to do in Wales.

“It’s a privilege to be working with our Welsh Ambulance Service colleagues in supporting the NHS in Wales to ease the pressures that currently exist.”

It is the third time that the military have supported the service through the pandemic as part of the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) arrangement.


More than 200 British Army soldiers have already assisted the Trust’s Covid-19 effort by driving and decontaminating ambulance vehicles as part of Operation Rescript.

Among them were 90 soldiers from 9 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, who were enlisted on Christmas Eve at the height of the second wave of the pandemic.

More broadly, more than 20,000 military personnel have been supporting public services across the UK during the pandemic as part of a ‘COVID Support Force.’

(All images: Welsh Ambulance Service Trust)

Continue Reading


Kidney charity continues team expansion with three new appointments




Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales, continues to see further expansion of its team with three new appointments, following a steep increase in demand for its support services.

Among the two new roles are children and youth support coordinator, and support service coordinator, as well as an internal move.

New children and youth support coordinator, Nikkila Thomas, will be responsible for providing support to children and young people suffering with kidney disease and their families. Part of the role is to engage with key stakeholders in order to develop transition programs, an educational program relating to younger service users moving into adult services.

Additionally, the children and youth support role focuses on developing current services, that will inevitably improve the quality of life of the charity’s beneficiaries. Thomas will be responsible for coordinating activity competitions and fundraisers and regularly producing a KIDS Newsletter, which offers children and families updates and activities.

Kidney support is close to Thomas’ heart because a family member was diagnosed with kidney disease. She found the Paul Popham Fund website when researching kidney disease, trying to find out more about the condition.

Speaking on her new role, children and youth support coordinator, Nikkila Thomas, said: “I am thrilled to start my post at the Paul Popham Fund. Being involved in promoting the charity’s vision in raising awareness and supporting the community is extremely rewarding, and I’m looking forward to developing and aiding the Children and Youth Services further.”


The second new appointment is Corrine Bell, the new support service coordinator. Bell has had previous experience in the sector with the St. Johns Ambulance service as a divisional officer.

In her new role, Bell will be responsible for providing support and information to those suffering from kidney disease and their families, which is as important as ever as the charity sees increased demand for its services. Bell’s partner is a current transplant patient and has been on dialysis, so she is well aware of the effect the charity has.

Speaking on her new role, Corrine Bell, said: “I am eager to get started with Paul Popham Fund. I know about all the great things they do for the community as my partner is a volunteer, so I’m glad to be a part of such a great cause.”

Joanne Popham, CEO, said: “The organisation is extremely glad to welcome another two new team members. Our continued expansion shows a very promising future for the charity meaning we can help more and more people who are affected by kidney disease.”

The charity has also made an internal move: Anna Powell has moved from Children and Youth Engagement Officer to Volunteer Coordinator. In her new role, Powell is now heavily involved with management and recruitment of volunteers for the charity, while also training existing volunteers.


With a background in recruitment, this role is perfectly suited to Powell, who will also be responsible for raising awareness in schools.

Anna Powell, Volunteer Coordinator at the Paul Popham Fund, said: “I am very eager to start my new role as Volunteer Coordinator, and get the chance to go to local schools and raise awareness of our ‘Believe in Yourself’ campaign, which has been at the forefront of the charity’s vision.

“Believe in Yourself originates from Paul Popham, who aimed to strive and succeed despite his diagnosis with kidney disease. Its use in school aims to resonate with students whether affected by kidney disease or not, to reinforce the notion of believing that you can do anything, even in the face of adversity.”

Additionally, Powell will also be involved in recruitment for the charity’s Kidney Cafe, fundraisers, ambassadors and peer mentoring service.

(Lead image (left to right): support service coordinator, Corrine Bell, children and youth support coordinator, Nikkila Thomas, and volunteer coordinator, Anna Powell.)


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News