A presentation made to representatives from St. John Ambulance, Hovertravel, Hampshire and IOW Fire and Rescue Service and the Military has been held to thank partners for their unwavering support at a time when it was needed most.
Speaking at the presentation Joe Smyth, IOW NHS Trust Chief Operating Officer, said: “Today is a remarkable day. The Ambulance service said to their colleagues ‘we need some help’ and the partners said ‘we’re on our way’. That’s the great thing about the Island community, we are here for each other. This presentation is about the Ambulance service saying a personal thank you and showing their appreciation for the support they have received. Huge thanks to all the agencies and I hope we can continue to support them.”
Head of Ambulance, Victoria White paid tribute to their partners and recalled how their unconditional offer of support enabled frontline services to continue to be there for the Island community.
Victoria White said: “At the start of the pandemic we found ourselves in unchartered territory, planning for an event that we hoped we would never enact. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service offered their support and we began ambulance driver training and at that time St. John Ambulance were already providing support to other ambulance services across the country.
“When Hampshire and IOW Air Ambulance were unable to fly patients who had not been tested for COVID it was due to this challenge that we began working in collaboration with Hovertravel to develop and implement the Island rescue service and what a lifeline that has been for our community in being able to transfer patients off Island.
“In January we had soaring infection rates and in the Ambulance service we had significant sickness so it was at that point that we requested mutual aid to both St John Ambulance and Hampshire and IOW Fire and Rescue.
“We also made a request to the Military for mutual aid to support some of our really critical, non-clinical service areas where staff absences were high.
“On behalf of the Ambulance service I want to thank all our partners for not only providing the support of staff on the ground but also for the manner all colleagues have conducted themselves. It has been absolutely exemplary and is hugely appreciated in the Ambulance service.”
During the presentation a group photograph was presented to each of the organisations to mark what is an historic moment in time.
Pictured: Sean Harrison, Hampshire and IOW Fire and Rescue Service and Victoria White, IOW NHS Trust
Sean Harrison, Station Manager Response, Hampshire and IOW Fire and Rescue Service: “I have been responsible for coordinating the Fire Service response to the Ambulance Service and working with Louise, Darren and the NHS team has been fantastic. They asked for help at a time when they were in crisis and we were able to switch that help on. They removed any barriers for us, they provided training that was suitable for our teams and made sure risk assessments were followed so it was such an easy process for us to continue our partnership working.”
Lt Colonel Mike Dyos RLC VR, Joint Military Command South East: “Supporting the NHS during the last 12 months has been absolutely awesome; it was a challenge of significant complexity as we transitioned from the unknown impact of COVID to the reality of supporting a stretched and exhausted NHS. The way a hospital operates is very similar to the military in so many respects and for our soldiers, sailors and airmen it has been an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate their flexibility and resolve. This experience will be an indelible mark on their military career, and for many a role in the NHS is in their minds for life post service.”
Neil Chapman, Managing Director, Hovertravel: “For Hovertravel it has been an absolute dream working with the NHS; it’s all part of the community and working with the local community is core to our business. After what has been such a dreadful time, we are now coming out of COVID with the Island’s recovery progressing and our strong partnership with the NHS continues to develop and evolve for the benefits of individual patients and the wider Solent community.”
Richard Lyons, Ambulance Locality Manager and District Manager for Hampshire & IOW St John Ambulance: “COVID-19 has deeply affected many communities; this collaboration was incredibly important and our crews didn’t hesitate to step forward to help provide care to those who need it. Everyone has been very welcoming and we’ve built a really good relationship with the NHS teams on the Island.”
During the tribute the Hampshire and IOW Fire and Rescue Service also presented a picture drawn by a talented member of the Fire and Rescue Service with the message ‘We’ve got your back’ which will take pride of place in the IW Ambulance Station.