John Burnham awarded QAM

Well done to John Burnham, Associate Director of Care Quality & Professional Development, Scottish Ambulance Service, for being awarded the Queen's Ambulance Service Medal

Since joining the ambulance profession in 1993, John has been at the heart of several pioneering developments which have changed the face of pre-hospital care.

On receiving his award, John Burnham (QAM) said: "Thank you to my colleagues and friends at the Scottish Ambulance Service. This is a huge and unexpected honour. I am delighted and humbled. You all do an amazing job, day in, day out."

Early in his career, John played a central role in the introduction of Community First Responder schemes, showing his commitment to understanding local needs and fostering engagement within communities by training local volunteers in basic life support.

Later, his collaborative work around coronary heart disease was fundamental to the introduction of paramedic-led thrombolysis, reshaping pre-hospital cardiac care and demonstrating his dedication to clinical excellence.

In 2006, John spearheaded a radical reshaping of education for paramedics within Scotland. Within two years of his appointment as Head of Education & Professional Development, and in the face of many significant challenges, his vision and drive was central to the transformation of paramedic learning from vocational training to higher education courses.

Since then, several programmes including the BSc in Paramedic Practice have successfully steered the development of thousands of staff.

The quality of these programmes was highlighted in an independent report delivered to the College of Paramedics which recognised them as outstanding examples of pre-hospital education within the United Kingdom.

More recently John has led the further evolution of paramedic education, setting up arrangements with five universities to provide undergraduate degree programmes.

Alongside this pioneering work, in 2020, John has led the Service’s response to COVID-19, identifying the potential risk very early, and establishing effective plans and response mechanisms.

When off duty, John continues to regularly serve his local community by providing first response support and flies with the air ambulance to provide advanced care nationwide.

His selflessness is also demonstrated through his longstanding dedication to and affiliation with St. John Ambulance and the British Red Cross. Initially providing voluntary weekend duties, his role has expanded to include delivery of advanced training to members and staff.

Posted on 22/10/2020