A London Ambulance Service paramedic is the latest recipient of a top award as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Richard Webb-Stevens, who has been awarded a prestigious Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for Distinguished Service, has worked for the Service for 23 years and serves in our motorcycle response unit – a team of 30 paramedics who can get to patients quickly in busy and congested areas.
Richard was born with profound hearing loss and became the first deaf paramedic to work for London’s Air Ambulance as a member of the helicopter emergency medical service, responding to major trauma patients.
Richard’s bravery and dedication were demonstrated when he was first on-scene at the Westminster terror attack in 2017. In this most difficult of situations, Richard calmly moved down Westminster Bridge providing care for everyone he encountered – many of whom were very badly injured.
Richard became critically unwell with COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic. After receiving life-saving care, he came back to serve our patients as soon as he was well enough.
Thanks to huge amounts of hard work in his own time, Richard has spearheaded progress for people with hearing impairments working in emergency services.
When he joined the motorcycle response unit, Richard found the in-helmet earpiece used by motorbike paramedics to keep in contact while driving was incompatible with his hearing aid. Determined to find a solution, Richard met with designers, audiologists and hearing aid companies. Despite being told it was impossible for the systems to work together, Richard persevered and his new design has proved to be such a success that these updated communication systems have been taken up by police forces, medical professionals and military personnel around the world.
Richard said: “I am absolutely humbled to have received this award, especially as HM The Queen marks her Platinum Jubilee year. I am extremely proud to be a paramedic at the London Ambulance Service and it’s a privilege to serve the people of London.”
The Honour follows a tragic loss for Richard and the motorcycle response team, as their long-serving colleague, Mark Pell, who was also a paramedic in the unit and worked alongside Richard, was killed in an accident whilst on a training course in North Wales in April.
Richard added: “We all miss Mark very dearly and his death is a massive loss to the motorcycle response unit and the London Ambulance Service. I work as part of an amazing team and I would not have received this award if it wasn’t for the support and hard work of all my colleagues. I receive this Honour on behalf of the whole Service, in memory of Mark, and as a tribute to his family and friends.”
Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive said: “The Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal is awarded to members of the NHS ambulance service for distinguished service, and I can think of no better person than Richard to receive this illustrious Honour. Richard has shown exceptional dedication to our patients over his 23 years with us, saving countless lives. He is an inspiration to staff and volunteers across our organisation and the wider NHS, and we are very proud of his achievements.”