The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust is collecting stories from patients, carers and service users.  The stories can be about any experience of using the ambulance service, both good and bad.  The end result is an insight into a person’s experience firsthand.  They are a powerful tool that can help us reflect on current practices and assist us to develop and improve the services we offer to patients. 

If you would like to share your story of using any of our services or would like more information about Storytelling, please contact the Patient Expeience & Community Involvement Team on 01792 311773 or e-mail are a selection of stories:

Her Last Wish

This story describes how the Welsh Ambulance Service was able to work with the local Health Board’s Palliative Care Services to help a family fulfil a mother’s final wishes -

Will’s Story – BSL in Practice

Listen to one of our Ambulance Technicians describe how he was able to use the British Sign Language (BSL) skills he learned with the Welsh Ambulance Service to communicate with a patient with hearing loss -


Eric’s Story

In this story, Eric raises some important issues relating to living with sight-loss, and how his guide dog, Darcy, helps him to maintain his independence and mobility.

In response to Eric’s story we are planning a series of actions to try and prevent similar incidents to the one he describes from happening again, including:

  • Developing an Assistance Dog guidance document for our staff,
  • Raising staff awareness through training, including collaboration with Guide Dogs Cymru,
  • Presenting Eric’s story at executive and directorate meetings to ensure the issues raised are acknowledged and discussed at the highest levels within the organisation.

Andy’s Story

Andy was diagnosed with dementia in 2013.  He came to talk to us about what it’s been like adjusting to life with dementia, and told us this story about when an emergency ambulance had to be called for him recently. He feels that the WAST staff who attended him demonstrated a knowledge of and sensitivity to his condition which helped him feel at ease during a traumatic situation.  Listen to Andy’s story here

John’s Story

Following a catastrophic accident, John had to undergo ongoing surgery and reviews at the Royal Stoke hospital, and was dependent on our Non-emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) to transport him to his appointments.  During this time, he repeatedly encountered problems with the service, particularly in relation to the timeliness of journey cancellations.  In this video you can listen to John describe his experiences, and find out what changes we made to try and improve the process as a result of his comments.

Watch the video here.

Shirley’s Story

Shirley got in touch with us last year to let us know about the positive experience she had using the Welsh Ambulance Service following a late-night fall at home. Watch the story here to find out more about how our staff helped her get back on her feet.

Simon’s Story

We recorded this story with Simon at his place of work, an indoor play centre near Swansea. In the film he describes the actions he took when a young child began choking on some food.  He explains how the training provided by his employer equipped him with the knowledge and skills to successfully deal with a choking child, and ultimately saved their life.

You can watch the video here.

Our Promises to Children and Young People.

We have signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and are committed to upholding its principles.

We have been engaging with Children and Young People between 8-18 years of age.This video gives examples of what they expect from us when they use our services, and we are using their feedback to develop a list of “Promises” which will enable us to measure their experiences.

You can watch the video here.

Mr Jones's story

We recently met Mr Jones, who gave us his story of ringing 999 when he felt he was experiencing symptoms of a heart attack. The story describes his experience of making the call and the emergency response he received.  His account makes particular reference to how he believes that the rapid response and on-scene treatment he received, combined with being taken into the local cardiac unit, resulted in a successful outcome. He also describes very clearly his emotions and perceptions felt during his experience. See the story on video here.

People with learning disabilities – experiences and expectations

As part of our ongoing engagement with people with learning disabilities, we have met with a number of individuals, groups and forums across Wales to capture people’s experiences and to learn about what they expect when accessing and using our services.

People told us that they wanted to be treated as an individual, with respect, and to be spoken to directly.

You can view the stories here:

How would you like to be treated?

Your experience of using the Ambulance service

See our Learning Disability Zone to learn about our programme of work with this community.

Experiences of Non Emergency Transport Service Users

We met with people from the Monmouthshire area, who shared their experiences of using our Non Emergency Transport service.  Their experiences included issues around carers being allowed to travel with the person they care for, and people with sensory loss having their needs and requirements considered. We have shared these stories with the Management team of the Non Emergency Transport service who are considering these issues for staff training, and how we book transport for people requiring support.

You can view our video here.

Suspected Sepsis
The Welsh Ambulance Service received a letter of thanks the family of a patient in respect of the care provided by two of our staff members in response to a call they attended early in 2016.  They felt that the early recognition of sepsis by paramedic Steve Kowalski was critical in saving the patient’s life.

Steve agreed to speak to us about this case, and how he’d learned to put into practice his knowledge regarding the signs of sepsis and how early detection and treatment of can have a significant impact on a patient’s subsequent long-term treatment and recovery.

He also shared his thoughts on what it’s like to receive accolades from patients who he has cared for.

Listen to his story here.

Older People’s Expectations & Experiences

As part of our ongoing engagement with Older People, we have met with a number of individuals, groups and forums across Wales to capture older people’s experiences and to learn about what they expect when calling the Welsh Ambulance Service. Some common themes which emerged were the desire to be treated by professional, knowledgeable and friendly staff, the need to be treated as an individual and the importance of maintaining dignity and respect.

You can view our short video here to learn more about what Older People have been telling us.

This is the link to YouTube.

Geoff's story

In December 2015, we met Geoff, a renal patient who was having some problems getting to and from his appointment, and was having to wait a long time to be picked to go home. Geoff is registered blind, and talks about his frustration with the planning arrangements within our service, particularly with having vision loss.

Listen to Geoff's story here.

Damien's story

We met with Damien in June 2015, who wanted to share his experiences of using our services. In the story here, you will hear Damien talking about dignity issues and how he would like to be treated when receiving health services.

In September 2015, Disability Wales launched their 'Disabled People's Manifesto for Wales'. The Trust is committed to removing barriers which exclude disabled people from accessing the right care and treatment and working collaboratively to address inequalities. We have produced a response to the manifesto which includes Damien's story as an example of how we are engaging with local communities to improve access to services.

Early arrival - Reuben's story

Joe-Aan Duthie, a Swansea paramedic came to Trust Board in September, to talk about her experience responding to a call of the birth of Reuben who was born prematurely in May. The story was really well received and we have since met with Jo-Aan and Reuben’s parents to record their story. See the story here.

Reuben’s parents praised Jo-Aan and the crew for their quick response and for getting them to the right place for the right treatment. Jo-Aan also praised all of the other healthcare professionals involved in the birth and care of baby Reuben.

Evan the Hero

In April 2015, Evans mum collapsed at home. Evan, who is 7, was really brave and called 999. We shared this story with our Quality, Patient Experience and Safety Committee in May, and have now been able to record Evan and his mum on video. See the story here. We have also worked with Evan's school to talk to the children about what happens when you call 999.

Following this story we are looking at improving our questioning techniques when speaking to children and young people over the phone.

Beyond the call of duty

View here Beyond the call of duty

Following a compliment to the service, we met with Rosemary to capture her story in more detail.  Her husband, who suffers with Parkinson’s had fallen outside the house and was bleeding from his face quite badly. The crew arrived and took control over the situation very quickly, and liaised with the on call doctor. The family feel he was treated with ‘great care’. In this story, you’ll also see George who is giving his account of what happened when he arrived at this call.

Rosemary came to our Quality, Patient Experience and Safety Committee meeting in August. We will be using this story to share drive forward our Dignity in Care programme, and this will help us celebrate and share the great work of our staff.

So far, so good ...

View here So far, so good ...

What happened next....

We shared Derek’s story with our Quality, Patient Experience and Safety Committee in July 2015, and it was very well received. The Committee were pleased to get feedback from users of our non-emergency transport service, and we had assurance that service user feedback is being used to drive improvement work as part of the Non-Emergency Transport Transformation work.

Karen’s story

View here Karen's story

We are grateful to Karen for sharing her experiences of using our non-emergency transport service. We captured this story in July 2015, when we held a National Storytelling event in Mid Wales. Karen’s experiences and suggestions for improvements are being used to develop the Non-Emergency Transport Transformation Work.

Maureen’s story

View here Maureen's story

Maureen shared her story with in July 2015, as part of a National Storytelling event in Mid Wales. Maureen shared her experiences of using the non-emergency transport service with us, and her views on how we could improve the service.  Maureen’s experiences and suggestions for improvements are being used to develop the Non-Emergency Transport Transformation Work.

Respecting Dignity 

View here Respecting Dignity.

What happened next ...

The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust is working to introduce a number of initiatives to promote dignity and respect, including the imminent launch of it’s ‘Hello my name is...’ campaign to encourage good practice amongst all staff to introduce themselves to patients. This encourages a human connection, begins a therapeutic relationship and builds trust.

The Trust is also exploring training for staff regarding dementia under the ‘This is me....’ initiative. Launched by the Alzheimer’s Society, this is a tool for people with dementia receiving professional care in any setting which assists health and social care professionals in seeing the person as an individual and delivering person-centred care tailored specifically to the person's needs.

Red 1 to Ferndale

View here: Red 1 to Ferndale

On Saturday 23rd August 2014, Mr Prowle was looking forward to flying off on holiday the following day with his wife of over 40 years, however that morning is a day he’ll never forget. After visiting his allotment with his son-in-law, Mr Prowle felt a tightening in his chest which he believed was a pulled muscle, so locked up and started to walk home. On route, Mr.Prowle collapsed.

Sally's Story

View here: Sally's Story

Sally's ‘wish list’ would be to have a faster transport service home, especially when she is feeling ill and very tired after receiving treatment. She feels Ambulance vehicles are ‘rickety’ to travel on.  We are working with staff to improve Sally’s day to day experience of using our non-emergency transport service to hospital.  We are also working to modernise this service as part of the transformation of the Ambulance service.

Annette's Story

View Here: Annette's Story

What happened next .....

The Trust is working in partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to raise public awareness about the importance of CPR and public defibrillators. Work is also being carried out to identify where public defibrillators are located across Wales. It is intended that this information will then be shared with the wider general public. Asda has also confirmed that every store in the near future will also have a defibrillator available for public use (if required).

WAST colleagues are also working closely with Public Health Wales to discuss raising awareness and encouraging the public to take responsibility for their own health & well-being to reduce the risk factors of cardiac arrest.

Patrick's Story

View here: Patrick's Story

What happened next ...

The Trust treats stroke as a medical emergency. Previously when responding to suspected stroke patients, it was recommended patients be thrombolysed (if eligible) within three hours. However, following the results of an International clinical Stroke Trial, a recommendation was made to extend this to four and a half hours. As a result of this published research, the Trust has changed its response to stroke from three to five hours. This means that any patient who has a history of symptom onset of up to five hours, will receive an immediate response and so benefit from earlier treatment.

The Face, Arm, Speech test (FAST), is a very effective way of assessing patients who may be suffering a stroke. Ambulance staff complete this test on all suspected stroke patients to identify if the patient is experiencing problems, such as Facial droop, Arm weakness, or Speech problems. Patients are then pre alerted to their nearest district general Hospital and fast tracked to the Stroke Unit to get a CT scan to identify if they will benefit from thrombolysis or not. If patients are not eligible, patients can still benefit from early intervention of the stroke team who will begin rehabilitation. To raise public awareness, in collaboration with the Stroke Association, FAST test promotional materials are now displayed on all emergency vehicles to raise public awareness.