The day the NHS turned 70 the Yorkshire Evening Post picked up an award for its campaign “We Love our NHS”.
The series was launched in January with a powerful front page editorial calling on people across the city to help us praise and recognise healthcare workers who do a remarkable job, often in the most difficult circumstances.
We wanted to shine a light on workers from all corners of the NHS – those in hospitals and those out in the community.
Many of our readers came forward with stories of outstanding work and incredible dedication among staff in and around Leeds. We were delighted therefore when we were given an award for community journalism at the annual O2 Media Awards for Yorkshire - we felt it was an award not just for us, but for all the hardworking NHS staff.
Our campaign ended that day, but this story about stress among ambulance workers shows that the issues we were highlighting have not ended.
By the nature of the job paramedics will see some disturbing sights in the course of a shift - there will rarely be a “quiet day at the office” for them. Few people have to deal with trauma on a daily basis in the way that many NHS staff do, and paramedics, their technicians and care assistants, are at the front line of that trauma.
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that they are suffering from stress.
They go into situations many of us would not want to be anywhere near. They are the safe pair of hands, the reassuring voices and the calm-under-pressure experts that save lives on a daily basis.
On top of the dramatic and traumatic aspects of the job ambulance workers are also subject to abuse from some members of the public.
They must be a tough breed - but that does not mean that they do not need some support and looking after.
The YEP fully supports the national Protect the Protectors campaign, which resulted in Parliament approving a bill which will address this issue directly by increasing the penalties for assaults on such frontline emergency staff.
Most right-thinking people are horrified when we hear of assaults or abuse of ambulance staff - the very people being sent out to help.
Let’s give our ambulance workers some love and some praise.
We are once again asking you to help support them by telling us your stories of ambulance workers or paramedics. You might be one, know one or be married to one, or you might have been looked after by ambulance staff and would like the chance to say thank you for the care they gave you. Let’s give them the praise and attention they deserve as we continue to push for action over this issue. Please get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call our newsdesk on 0113 238 8918. Or you can write to us at Newsdesk, Yorkshire Evening Post, Fifth Floor, no1 Leeds, 26, Whitehall Road, Leeds, LS12 1BE