Yorkshire Air Ambulance celebrates highest percentage of female HEMS crew in 20 years

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA), which provides a lifesaving rapid response emergency service to 5 million people across 4 million acres of Yorkshire, is celebrating having the highest percentage of female HEMs Paramedics in the charity’s 20-year history.

The service now has 9 female HEMS Paramedics seconded from Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, including 5 new female members of staff who joined earlier this year. This is above the national average for HEMS Paramedics, which currently stands at 1 in 4. Female paramedics at YAA account for nearly 1 in 2 (11 male, 9 female). They also have a female Pilot and Female Doctor as part of the team.

One of the charity’s latest recruits, HEMS Paramedic Fiona Blaylock said:” Being a female HEMS paramedic is amazing and being successful in applying for a seconded position to this role is one of my proudest achievements. When I applied a few years ago, I remember thinking that there were more males than females on the team and would this affect my chance of getting a position.”

She continued: “I had previously served as a Combat Medic in the British Army, and this was very much a male-dominated environment. I always felt like I needed to prove myself as a female.

“Everyone in the HEMS team has been so welcoming. I don’t think being a female in the team is any different to being a male in the team. We are all as capable as each other. I don’t think it matters what sex you are, as long as you can do the job.”

Paramedic Terri-Ann Lonie, said: “Working for HEMS has brought a whole range of new and exciting challenges with it. It has been made easier due to having amazing crew mates that have supported me the whole way through. It is a fantastic place to work, and I feel privileged to be part of it.”

HEMS Paramedic Gemma Richmond who has worked at the Charity for two years and has been a Paramedic for more than 20 years, said: “I think in the past it was probably looked at as a male-orientated role. I’ve been in the service for 20 years now and it’s now a lot more 50:50, especially on the road. I think the make-up of staff is nicely balanced; it appeals to more females now because they bring something different, especially if you get a male and female crew in the aircraft – you tick every box, and you can deal with so many different cases.  It’s nicely spread out and encourages good teamwork when you get that mix. I work with another female paramedic quite often as a double female crew and sometimes it can be a surprise to patients when two female paramedics turn up. But I’ve never considered it as anything different.”

Paramedic Tammy Williams said: “Historically on the HEMS’ base, it has been statistically evident that there have been more males on the base than females.”

She continued: “HEMS has been my dream goal and occupation that I have always wanted to achieve, so I feel extremely privileged to be here.  I also feel extremely proud to be part of such a dynamic, supportive and highly experienced team that treats and cares for time-critical patients. Working alongside the doctors, other paramedics and the pilots, together as a team, we are able to provide Yorkshire and other regions in the UK with the highest quality of care possible and achieve the best outcome for the patients that we attend to.”

YAA Acting Clinical Operations Manager Paul Holmes said: “We are very proud to have such an incredible, hardworking and highly skilled team of male and female HEMS Paramedics. Gender shouldn’t matter as long as you’re able to do the job and these women are just as physically fit as their male counterparts. It’s fantastic to be part of a charity that celebrates gender equality.”