St John Ambulance chief executive, Martin Houghton-Brown, has appointed the former director of operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service (WAST) as his number two in a new role created to drive forward the charity’s vision of building safe and healthy communities.

Richard Lee, a registered paramedic and former RAF medical assistant who has worked 25 years in the NHS ambulance sector, joined as chief operating officer.

St John Ambulance appoints Chief Operating Officer
Richard Lee

In the last three years, Richard has led WAST through a transformational clinical modernisation programme and introduced a new response model that has attracted national and international interest. He also led volunteer activity at WAST, overseeing the development of 4,000 community first responders across Wales.

In addition, Richard is an examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, where he is Fellow of the Faculty of Immediate Medical Care. He was awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal for distinguished ambulance service in 2016.

Martin said: “With his wealth of experience and track record of innovation and leadership, Richard’s appointment as COO will be a real strength as we take our charity forward into the future.

“As my number two, Richard will bring our operational work together under one leadership, ensuring our collective resources are united in our common purpose of serving our communities.”

Richard said: “I feel honoured to be joining this organisation which has such a rich heritage of saving lives and supporting communities. I’m excited to play my part in its future.

“I’m proud of what I achieved at WAST and look forward to using my knowledge and experience to further strengthen St John Ambulance’s partnership with ambulance trusts across the country to deliver great patient outcomes.”

The support of NHS ambulance services forms a core part of the work carried out each day by thousands of St John Ambulance volunteers helping communities.