Now more than forty people form the WPAS team and our enviable track record rests on their commitment and dedication. Staff retention is high and we are well known for friendly and motivated people who establish excellent working relationships with patients.
Training and assessment have always been and remain our top priorities. Every staff member begins with an induction period including a first aid course, basic manual handling and procedures. This is followed by two days of 'shadowing' as a third crew member on the road.
More direct on-the-road experience comes next, under close supervision, and all trainees are given extensive driver training, with an assessment by The Devon Drivers' Centre before 'driving live'. A number of staff also offer blue-light driving in support of paramedic services.
Beyond the initial training period, further programmes deliver a range of additional skills. All WPAS staff are required to take an in-depth first aid course dealing with situations such as blood loss and fractures. This training is reviewed annually and repeated every three years.
Ongoing assessments throughout an individual's time with WPAS include basic life support, CPR and driving skills are also regulary re-assessed. Staff members wanting to expand their skills still further are encouraged to do so and we have hosted externally delivered two-week technician courses. these are equivalent to NHS technician level and are retaken by the staff concerned every two years.
West Country Private Ambulance Service was founded in 1988 by Gerry Pickard. Before starting the company he spent five years in Her Majesty's Forces and went on to become a retained fire fighter in Devon as well as a volunteer for St John Ambulance and The British Red Cross Societies.
Gerry's experience across a variety of patient care situations revealed a need for dedicated transport facilities. He worked initially with a converted car and two members of staff. At that stage the main focus was on hospital-hospital and home-hospital transfers, with one hospital as the principal client.
The service grew quickly as its reputation spread and WPAS has continued to grow ever since. Highly trained staff are joining our team all the time to offer new specialisms.
Throughout our development, emphasis has been placed on thorough training and high quality vehicles. All drivers are regulary assessed by The Devon Drivers Centre in Exeter and we have a demonstrable commitment to ongoing professional development. We are currently working towards the Investors in People accreditation.
Gerry PIckard, who sadly passed away in August 2010 and will be greatly missed by all those who knew him.
Proprietor of West Country Private Ambulance Service
After leaving school in 1981 Beverley worked for a Ford Main Dealership where she gained extensive knowledge in motor vehicles, parts, stock control and administration. Beverley then spent five years working for a large corporate company, Tarmac Top Mix, where she was Area Administrator for the London region. From 1988 until 2004 she was a partner in two successful garages where she sold used vehicles and ran a petrol station, workshop, body shop and small store.
From the 1st of January 2004 Beverley took responsibility for WPAS Finance and Transport as manager for both departments. Beverley inherited full responsibility for the business after the sudden death of her husband, Gerry Pickard, the founder of WPAS in August 2010.
Together with the newly appointed Chief Executive and the support of our dedicated team of staff, it is our intention to continue improving our services and providing the best level of care possible for all our patients and service users.
We are members of the British Ambulance Association (The BAA) and of the National Association of Private Ambulance Services (NAPAS)
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