Association chief receives Queen’s Ambulance Medal in 2021 New Year Honours List

The Managing Director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) Mr Martin Flaherty OBE has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for Distinguished Service (QAM) in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year Honours List for the United Kingdom.

In a career spanning almost 42 years in the ambulance service to date, Martin has been recognised for leading AACE since 2013, a role that has seen him provide a significant input to many key improvements and changes in the sector that have enhanced the patient experience.

These include the implementation of the Ambulance Response Programme, progress in relation to the mental health and well-being of all ambulance staff, and improvements and advancements in the sector’s provision of clinical care.

However, Martin has also been instrumental in supporting the national ambulance response to Covid-19, providing ongoing support and advice through his team at AACE which has ensured the Ambulance Service has continued to play a vital role in helping patients and saving lives.

AACE is also extremely proud to note that Cathryn James, Paramedic and Clinical Pathways Manager at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has also been awarded the QAM.

Cath’s 39 year career serving the patients of Yorkshire has more recently been expanded to include national work for AACE supporting a variety of clinical developments.

Cath has been pivotal in progressing national clinical policy issues directly related to improving the standards of care for patients across the UK and also coordinates the ongoing development of the UK Ambulance Services Clinical Practice Guidelines (JRCALC).

Keith Prior, National Director, National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) and Assistant Chief Officer of West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust was also awarded a QAM.

Keith was recognised for making, ‘a significant contribution to UK national resilience by leading NARU, ensuring the effective ambulance response to major, mass-casualty incidents such as the Manchester Arena bombing, London terror attacks, severe flooding, the Salisbury chemical attack, Ebola, Covid-19 and other high-risk events’.

About the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal
The Queen's Ambulance Service Medal

The Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal (QAM) honours a very small, select group of ambulance personnel who have shown exceptional devotion to duty, outstanding ability, merit and conduct in their roles within NHS Ambulance Services.

The award was introduced in 2011 and ensures that the dedication of ambulance staff now has the same level of Royal recognition as other members of the emergency services.

Other New Year’s Honours recognition for Ambulance Services

In addition to the above, the following ambulance employees received due recognition for their outstanding service:



Philip Cowburn, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and Great Western Air Ambulance – for services to Emergency Medicine and to the Covid-19 Response.

Wayne Darch, Head of Operations, Emergency Preparedness, Resilience, Response and Specialist Practice, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust – for services to the Emergency Services and to the Covid-19 Response.

Bethan Eaton-Haskins, Director, Quality and Chief Nurse, South East Coast Ambulance Service – for services to Nursing, particularly during Covid-19.

Joseph Garcia, Director of Operations, South East Coast Ambulance Trust – for services to Emergency Response, particularly during the Covid-19 Response.

Peter Glover, Ambulance Technician, South East Coast Ambulance Service and Lead for roactive Care, Farnham Integrated Care GP Services – for services to the NHS and to Healthcare in the community.


David King, Specialist Paramedic, East of England Ambulance Service – for services to the NHS and to Fundraising.



Lee Brooks, Director of Operations, Frontline Emergency Ambulance Response, Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service and Clinical Contact Centre Services, Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Clare Langshaw, Ambulance Operations Manager, Resilience and Specialist Operations, Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.



Steph Jones, Interim ACC Head of Clinical Services, Scottish Ambulance Service.

Araf Saddiq, Paramedic, Scottish Ambulance Service.



Margaret Barclay, Resource Manager, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

All at AACE applaud and congratulate this year’s recipients, who will receive their medals at at investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace later in the new year.

QAM Guidance for NHS Trust Ambulance Services in England is available here.

The QAM Nomination Form can be found here.