EMERGENCY call handler Olivia Molyneux has received the Patient’s Choice accolade at the 2019 Unsung Hero Awards, after she helped off-duty official Dave George.

Olivia, who lives near Malmesbury, is an emergency medical dispatcher from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT). She has worked at the control hub near Bristol since August 2017.

She said: “I was filled with happiness when I heard I had won the Patient’s Choice Award. Inspector George went above and beyond to show his gratitude to me, and I cannot thank him enough."

Inspector George collapsed in hot weather last summer during a walk on the South West Coast Path between Penzance and Land’s End in Cornwall. He experienced “crushing” chest pains and was struggling to breathe, but managed to call 999 to get help. Olivia assessed his condition over the phone, and calmly reassured him until crews arrived at the remote location.

Inspector George was taken by ambulance to hospital where he was diagnosed with serious heat stroke. He made a full recovery, and later visited the Control Hub to meet Olivia.

“I thought that was it,” he said. “I was on my own, and needed help. It was a desperate situation.

“Olivia was totally exceptional. She dealt with a very difficult and challenging call in the most superb way. The kindness and calm professionalism that she showed deserves special praise. I don’t think I could have got through that hour alone without her staying on the line and talking to me.”

Paul Greatorex, Deputy Director of Operations at the North Control Hub, collected the award on behalf of Olivia who was away.

He described the award was “a true testimony to Olivia’s professionalism."

Paul said: “I am so proud of Olivia and all the EMDs who work so hard on behalf of the Trust, and battle through the adversity of responding to 999 calls to help patients.

“They are the front line of the ambulance service, before a dispatcher can dispatch, and before a crew can attend. It all starts with the EMDs. They can only act on what they are told, and they cannot pass judgement.

“Olivia along with her colleagues are so hard working, professional, caring, dedicated and empathetic to their callers. They are all unsung heroes.”

The Unsung Hero Awards honour non-clinical NHS staff and volunteers, and this year’s awards received hundreds of nominations.

The winners were announced at a ceremony in Manchester on March 1.

Awards founder Don Tomlinson said: "We were able to honour some brilliant, inspiring members of NHS staff and volunteers for the amazing work they have done.

"Everyone who won an award - and all those shortlisted - show each and every day the qualities and excellence which make our Health Service the best in the world.”