Richard Webb-Stevens has been with the London Ambulance Service for 23 years and was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for Distinguished Service.
Richard’s outstanding career with the service includes being the first on-scene at the Westminster terror attack five years ago, where he calmly provided care for numerous badly injured victims. His achievements are all the more remarkable due to the fact that he was born with profound hearing loss.
He was the first deaf paramedic to work for London’s Air Ambulance as a member of the helicopter emergency medical service and he continues to spend a large amount of his own time helping to progress the opportunities for hearing impaired people working in the emergency services.
Richard’s perseverance to succeed was demonstrated as soon as he joined the motorcycle response unit. The in-helmet earpiece then used by motorbike paramedics while riding was incompatible with his hearing aid and, despite being told that a solution would be impossible, Richard met with designers, audiologists and hearing aid manufacturers to develop a new system.
The result proved to be such a success that it has since been adopted by police forces, paramedics and military personnel around the world.
Richard was critically ill with Covid-19 right at the beginning of the pandemic but was back to work as soon as he could. The honour comes at a challenging time for the London Ambulance Service’s motorcycle response team, as their long-serving colleague, Mark Pell, was recently killed in an accident while on a training course in North Wales.
Speaking of the award, 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.
“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.”
London Ambulance Service’s motorcycle response unit provides a quick response to emergencies, especially in busy and congested areas where four wheeled vehicles can get held up in traffic or in locations where vehicles cannot usually access – such as train stations and shopping centres. Ridden by paramedics, the bikes carry defibrillators and other emergency equipment in their panniers and top boxes to allow lifesaving first aid to be carried out before an ambulance arrives on the scene.
The service has a team of 30 working across four stations in the capital. They typically utilise police specification BMW R1200RTs but have recently taken delivery of three all-electric Zero SR/S motorcycles which have been modified to paramedic spec by Coventry company Woodway Engineering, and which made their debut during London’s recent Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration parade.