The London Ambulance Service (LAS) includes a motorcycle response unit that can quickly reach patients in congested urban areas. The team of 30 paramedics may be the unsung heroes of the LAS, but one of their own, Richard Webb-Stevens, recently received the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for Distinguished Service.
Webb-Stevens started his 23-year career as a member of London’s Air Ambulance. Born with profound hearing loss, he also became the first deaf paramedic to work for the emergency helicopter medical service. When a terrorist drove a car into a crowd of pedestrians outside the Palace of Westminster in 2017, killing four people and injuring 50 more, Webb-Stevens provided prompt care to countless victims.
“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,” admitted London Ambulance Service Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles. “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 organization and the wider NHS, and we are very proud of his achievements.”
Webb-Stevens' influential work isn’t just restricted to the field either. After joining the LAS motorcycle response unit, he found that the in-helmet communicator wasn’t compatible with his hearing aid. Despite pessimistic feedback from designers, audiologists, and hearing aid companies, Webb-Stevens developed a compatible design that is now used by police departments, medical workers, and military units worldwide.
Not even COVID-19 could keep the moto paramedic down. Webb-Stevens contracted the virus early in the pandemic but promptly returned to his post after receiving life-saving care.
“I am absolutely humbled to have received this award, especially as HM The Queen marks her Platinum Jubilee year,” Webb-Stevens acknowledged. “I am extremely proud to be a paramedic at the London Ambulance Service and it’s a privilege to serve the people of London.”