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Associate Director of Operations awarded a prestigious King’s Ambulance Service Medal  

A long-standing member of the London Ambulance Service team has been awarded the King’s Ambulance Service Medal for distinguished service as part of the New Year’s Honours.

Cathy-Anne Burchett, Associate Director of Operations for South East London, joined the Service in 1995 as an Emergency Call Handler, and worked in the Control Room for the first 26 years with the Trust. Cathy-Anne’s dedication, passion and commitment has taken her career through various roles across 999 operations and in 2018, she became a General Manager – the most senior position in the Control Room.

Using her understanding of 999 operations and the challenges Control Room colleagues face, Cathy-Anne played a pivotal role in creating the right environment at the new LAS Control Room. While still within the grips of the Covid pandemic, she led the commissioning of our new purpose-built control room in Newham. Cathy-Anne had staff welfare and wellbeing at heart, having helped to implement a range of facilities that were welcomed by colleagues working shifts to provide emergency and urgent care 24/7. This intensive piece of work led to the creation a £9.6 million state-of-the-art facility which now handles half of the 999 calls across the capital.

Having held the most senior position in the Control Room for a number of years, Cathy-Anne was appointed as Associate Director of Operations for South East London in 2021.

Since her appointment, Cathy-Anne has made a number of improvements for staff in South East London, including improving the health and wellbeing of our teams and a campaign to reduce the times that our staff experience violence and aggressive behaviour from patients. She has also helped to spearhead a groundbreaking new innovation called Teams-Based Working, transforming the way our operational staff work together within South East. This has improved rotas for individuals, ensuring people have better access to their managers, brought forward more manageable workloads and strengthened team work.

Cathy-Anne’s actions have seen the sector’s vacancy rate fall by 14.51% between July 2022 and July 2023. Staff turnover decreased from 11.74% to 7.47%, during the same period, while the sickness absence rate was reduced to from 9.51% to 6%.

As a black woman, Cathy-Anne spearheaded cultural changes and reforms and dedicated herself to ensuring her colleagues don’t face the similar challenges and discriminations she once faced in the past. She now exemplifies compassionate leadership, being a role model for her team, improving staff welfare while delivering a high-quality service for patients.

Cathy-Anne said: “I am proud and feel humbled to receive this award on behalf of London Ambulance Service.

“This is a fantastic way to start off the New Year. I am a proud member of the Green family and I feel privileged to be working with dedicated colleagues to care for Londoners. I thank all my colleagues, managers and friends I worked with throughout my career at London Ambulance Service. I will continue to work to create the best culture and environment where people from all walks of life have a chance to thrive and take their career to the next step at the Service.” 

Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive said: “This is very well-deserved recognition for Cathy-Anne and the Service. Team culture, staff welfare and patient care have always been extremely important at London Ambulance Service, and Cathy-Anne is an exemplar leader in demonstrating these values and leading her team. She is also a huge inspiration to staff, as one of our most senior females from an ethnic minority background. I wholeheartedly congratulate Cathy-Anne on her achievement.” 

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