21st August 2019
Back in 2016, Mr Gibbs suffered from sepsis. Struck by this life-threatening disease, he received the help of our services from ambulance crew Robert Morgan, Ross French and Dewi Jones. His recovery was a journey in itself, spending long periods of time in hospital. However, ever since the incident, Mr Gibbs always wanted to be reunited with the crew that came to his aid.
In November 2018, Mr Gibbs approached our Welsh Ambulance Service’s information stand at a carers’ rights event in Maes Manor Hotel, Blackwood, and shared his story of survival from sepsis. He praised our staff for the quality of the care he had received which began with our call handler and carried through to the crew who arrived on his doorstep. He mentioned that he would like to meet all involved, and thank them in person. This was the beginning of a much longer series of positive outcomes.
Mr Gibbs and his wife Sharn were reunited with the crew in December 2018, two years after the incident. Mr Gibbs finally had the opportunity to say ‘thank you’.
During the get-together, Mr Gibbs got to explore and understand the work that we do, and especially how involved we are with raising awareness around certain illnesses across Wales. He particularly engaged with our Patient Experience and Community Involvement (PECI) team who organise events and educate the public about how the Welsh Ambulance Service responds and prioritises calls, and also explore symptoms of certain conditions which can be life-threatening such as meningitis and sepsis.
In the weeks and months after this initial meeting, and as a direct result of Mr Gibbs speaking with other organisations, the PECI team and in particular Isobel Jones, Patient Experience and Community Involvement Co-ordinator, received several invitations to community, mental health and carers groups to give talks about our services. Through these links, the PECI team was also contacted by Geraldine Powel, Carer Coordinator for Caerphilly Council, who invited her to visit four carers groups in the Caerphilly, Risca and Blackwood areas, and was invited to take part in Carers Week events in Newbridge.
Most recently, a year-long Carers Engagement Programme throughout 2019-2020 has been developed and covers the whole of Wales. Work has been done in partnership with Geraldine Powell and the first event was held in Merthyr Tydfil on 18 July, which Mr and Mrs Gibbs attended. The latter, who are carers for each other, are now taking part in our patient experience improvement programme.
No one could have ever imagined how many positive steps could have come from the initial meet-up back in December 2018. However, this story helps us highlight how incredibly useful it is for us to receive feedback from our patients. Our services are, and always will be, patient-focused. We wish all the best to Mr Gibbs and his wife.