Yassite Mark Gibbs (Pictured) has received the Ambulance Service Medal after 35 years with NSW Ambulance as part of the Queen’s birthday honour roll.

Mark began his career in 1987 working in a variety of frontline and operational management positions.

“I have the privilege of speaking to all our new grads on their first day with New South Wales Ambulance about regional placements… and my opening line is – ‘This is the best job in the world and for what I believe is the best ambulance service’.”

Mark was surprised when he learnt about his nomination for the Ambulance Service Medal.

“I was very humbled and honoured to be recognised by my peers who nominated me for the work that I’ve done through my 35 years.”

“I put this down to those people who I’ve worked with and who have mentored me through my 35 years as a clinician and manager,” Mark said. “As well as the wonderful people I get to work with every day.”

He remains passionate about providing high-level clinical care to the community, undertaking and assuming the role of patient advocate whilst leading his team of over 400 paramedics and continuing to ensure paramedic and patient needs are at the forefront of all operations.

Mark moved to Yass in 2001 from Sydney as a Station Officer with his wife and fellow paramedic Joy Gibbs. However, Mark was already familiar with the area after visiting his brother, former owner of the Yass Valley Veterinary Hospital, Dr Peter Gibbs.

Although Mark has changed roles several times while living in Yass he always managed to negotiate to remain in town.

Mark went on to become the Zone Manager for Southern NSW and was recently appointed Zone Manager for Southwest Sydney Region where he commutes home to Yass for the weekend.

Becoming part of the community is probably the best thing about working at a regional Paramedic station Mark said.

“You become part of the community and are seen as a very important part of that, not that paramedics aren’t important in metropolitan areas,” he said. “People see you and value you totally differently regionally compared to just being another person on the streets in metropolitan areas.”

He performed a pivotal role in the transition of stations in southern NSW from on-call to 24-hour stations.

By liaising with industry bodies and representing the interests of NSW Ambulance, Mark ultimately increased the ability of crews to attend to the community, whilst simultaneously improving the teams’ workload, productivity, and fatigue management.

Mark said no longer requiring paramedics to work both a day shift and be on call overnight led to a better family and work life balance with no need for paramedics to be fatigued from being on call the night before.

“Hopefully in the future regionally we’ll be able to do the same.”Mark continues to improve his sector’s focus on operational, clinical, business, and financial performance whilst maintaining the focus on patient care.

He has contributed to a culture shift that has improved the morale and determination of the entire team. At a time of increased demand compounded by the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic and following the tragic death of a paramedic, he led a critical incident team. Mark’s tenacity and integrity enabled him to lead the sector through a cultural review while providing ongoing support to the entire sector during these challenging times.

His ongoing commitment to operational improvement, powerful work ethic, commitment to his team, and persistent advocating for patient care resonates and inspires all staff.

“We are a growing industry and yes, it is competitive at university, but it is such a great profession because every day is different.”

“No situation is ever the same, the variety of work, the skills you get to learn, the people you get to meet, the opportunities to travel.”

“You can become an intensive care paramedic, extended care paramedic, work on helicopters,” he said. “There are lots of opportunities available in this job.”

Brianna O’Rourke