Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Shortlisted for Five Prestigious Awards of Excellence

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA) is delighted to announce that it has been shortlisted in not one, not two, but five categories at this year’s Air Ambulances UK Awards of Excellence.

The prestigious awards, which are sponsored by BMW Group, recognise the professionalism, excellence and dedication of the air ambulance community across the UK.

The Independent Judging Panel, including trauma specialist Professor Karim Brohi, Debra Alcock-Tyler (CEO, Directory of Social Change) and Steve Irving (Executive Officer of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives), agreed the award nominations were of an exceptionally high standard and they were faced with some very difficult decisions when deciding on the shortlist.

DSAA’s Patient and Family Liaison Nurses, Jo Petheram and Kirsty Caswell have been shortlisted in the Practitioner of the Year category for exceptional clinical and professional duty.

Both are critical care practitioners, who together have created, developed and deliver DSAA’s Patient and Family Liaison service. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, their work has not stopped.

In fact, development of their service has continued at pace and they now reach more than 500 patients per year. Jo and Kirsty are two incredibly inspiring women, who have both made an enormous contribution to improving patient pathways during the last 18 months.

Dr Phil Hyde is the Medical Lead for DSAA and has been shortlisted in the Doctor of the Year category. Dr Hyde demonstrates, daily, his incredible skills as a physician, his dedication to every aspect of patient care, and his absolute commitment to nurturing and developing skills in others.

What makes Dr Hyde exceptional is what he has achieved for patients regionally and indeed nationally; well beyond the parochial boundaries of Dorset and Somerset. He is a remarkable clinician and amongst the very best in his field, but he is much more than that.

Dr Phil Hyde, Medical Lead for DSAA, has been shortlisted for Doctor of the Year

His passion for humanity makes him a leader and visionary who has had an extraordinary year, even by his own exceptional standards.

A collaboration between DSAA, the Wales and West Acute Transport for Children Service (WATCh), Bristol Children’s Hospital Trauma Team Leaders (BCHTTL) and the Southampton Oxford Retrieval Team (SORT), has been shortlisted in the Innovation of the Year category.

The collaboration has led to an expansion in advocacy for children, enabling Helicopter Emergency Medical Service teams to formally support time-critical paediatric inter-hospital transport in the South West region.

The project is the first of its kind in the UK and demonstrates that the air ambulance community, hospital community and regional networks can achieve substantial collaborative improvements in networked patient care under NHS governance.

This new capability has taken five years to develop and mature and is a testament to the determination of the stakeholders to collaboratively deliver on a vision of clinical excellence. The incident which sees DSAA become a finalist in the Special Incident of the Year category took place in May last year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It involved members of DSAA’s critical care team; Dr Stewart McMorran, Jo Hernandez and Pete Appleby (Specialist Practitioners in Critical Care), and pilot Captain Max Hoskins. The incident demonstrated an astonishing chain of care in order to achieve a wonderful outcome for a patient who suffered a cardiac arrest whilst cycling along a disused railway line (trailway).

Dr Stewart McMorran, Jo Hernandez, Pete Appleby and Capt. Max Hoskins, members of DSAA’s critical care team, have been shortlisted in the Special Incident Award category

It also demonstrated excellent multi-agency working and collaboration between the police, fire, ambulance service and DSAA. Finally, the whole charity team at DSAA have been shortlisted in the Charity Team of the Year category.

With a small team of staff, every single member has come together over the past 18 months with immense dedication, commitment and diversity, to ensure that the engine of the charity has kept going. This was a critical part of supporting the heroic efforts of the charity’s clinical and operational crews, enabling them to maintain their 19-hour-per-day critical care HEMS service.

To increase their activity significantly during this period, by adding a special rota to support national COVID-19 inter-regional critical care transfers, as the NHS fought to spread the intensive care load across hospital trusts.

This sustained period of exemplary work has given a crystal-clear demonstration of the team’s core belief; to ensure that DSAA delivers a life-saving service today, tomorrow and into the future.

Bill Sivewright, CEO of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance said: “Everyone at Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is immensely proud of the work we do to continually improve patient outcomes through great teamwork, collaboration and innovation.’

“We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted in five categories this year and recognise the amazing company we are in amongst the shortlistees.’

“This is not only testament to the broad scope and high standard of what we do, but more importantly, to the incredible motivation and professionalism of our

Simmy Akhtar, CEO of Air Ambulances UK, said: “The professionalism, excellence and dedication of all those who work and volunteer within the air ambulance community is extraordinary.’

“We are incredibly proud that these awards recognise their vital contribution to providing advanced pre-hospital critical care to people who suddenly become critically injured
or ill, saving lives and improving patient outcomes every day across the UK.’

“I would like to thank everyone who made a nomination this year; each one was hugely inspiring. Our judging panel had to make some very difficult decisions and so the individuals and team at Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has every reason to be proud of their incredible lifesaving work and to have reached the shortlist for the Air Ambulances UK Awards of Excellence.’

“We very much look forward to announcing the winners at our virtual ceremony next month.” The Air Ambulances UK Awards of Excellence will take place virtually on Friday 3rd December 2021.

More information about Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, can be found by visiting:

The UK’s Air Ambulance Charities do not receive direct funding from the Government or the National Lottery and rely on the generosity of the public for support.

The operational costs for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance are over £5 million a year and the approximate cost per mission is £3,000.

Click here now to see how you can support these vital services!

Donate to DSAA by Joining Their Weekly Lottery Here

Control Room Heroes Celebrated In International Campaign

A week-long campaign has shone a welcome spotlight on the unsung heroes of emergency services control rooms to highlight their vital, life-saving work.

Organised by NEC Software Solutions, International Control Room Week ran from 18-24 October and saw control room staff and colleagues celebrate across the UK and Ireland and as far afield as Australia and New Zealand.

The week is the highlight of the emergency services calendar and this year’s campaign involved almost 100 emergency services organisations worldwide, reaching 23.6 million people across the globe and generating 41,800 interactions on social media.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service Watch Manager, Liz Massarealla

Teams marked the week in many ways, from writing poems about the work of control room heroes and organising baking competitions, to designing their own t-shirts, issuing long service awards to staff, and recognising the best-dressed control rooms.

Actor Graham Cole OBE, who played PC Tony Stamp in long-running ITV police drama The Bill, shared a video on Twitter praising control room staff for their work, which was retweeted by Sergeant Mike Templeman of Lincolnshire Police.

Speaking in his video, Graham said: “Wishing you a great week of celebrations. Thank you, each and every one of you, for what you do.’

“It’s a thankless task, and it’s so psychologically demanding. I have been in many control rooms over the years and met many staff, and you’re under such stress.’

“Thank you for your calm, clear advice that you give us on the end of the phone. You are very precious people. Enjoy your week, you control room heroes.”

Challenges around the number of non-emergency calls made to control room call handlers were also highlighted during the week.

Avon and Somerset Police tweeted that control room staff received 1,103 non-emergency calls compared to 324 emergency incident reports in just one nine-hour shift, including a call from a member of the public reporting a cat meowing too loudly!

Avon & Somerset Police 101 Operators

The force’s control room teams and colleagues also raised funds for charity, recognised individual staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and held bake sales to mark the week.

Chloe Hope, Senior Leadership Team Comms Manager at Avon and Somerset Police, said: “We’ve really enjoyed taking part in International Control Room Week and celebrating all of the different ways we serve our communities.’

“As a communications family, it’s a great opportunity to reflect and be proud of the effort we put in and thank our staff for the work they do.’

“Our job is unique and we’re lucky to have the people we have. We’re often the first person people speak to at the worst times in their lives and it’s so important to get that right.’

“We want our communities to trust the non-emergency channels to contact us and rely on us where needed. As well as the 101 service being 24 hours, there are alternative ways to contact us using our website and online services when your call is not related to an emergency or urgent matter, but sometimes other agencies and services are best placed to help. People shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to them too.”

New South Wales Ambulance in Australia also used Twitter to praise their control centre staff who work closely with paramedic colleagues to provide the best care for their communities.

Staff at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service completed a cycling, running, walking and swimming challenge with colleagues last year and this year saw them design their own t-shirts, hold a raffle, and invite colleagues into the control room for tea, coffee and cake to find out more about their work.

Ash Spriggs, Crew Manager for Fire Control at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is the best week of the year for us and we took to social media to celebrate it.’

“We held a raffle for a blood cancer charity after a colleague lost her brother to leukaemia and we’ve had a lot of interest from across the fire and rescue service community, as well as from local media and members of the public.”

Crew Manager Imran Lambat and Watch Manager Tom Augusztinyi of Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service

“It’s nice to have the spotlight thrown on us for a change. The public think of fire engines rushing out to burning buildings, but there is so much support behind that. We work extremely closely with our operational crews, but we’re often unseen.”

NEC sent celebration boxes filled with items to help celebrate the week to participating control room teams, including notecards, bunting, posters and balloons to dress up their workspaces.

The company is also donating £1 to the Marie Curie and End Youth Homelessness charities for every social media post carrying the hashtag #ControlRoomHeroes shared during the week. £2,380 will be split between the two causes, continuing the positive legacy of the annual campaign.

Steve Ainsworth, NEC Software Solutions’ Executive Director of Public Safety, said: “Control room staff go above and beyond in their roles every day and we want them to know their critical work doesn’t go unnoticed.’

“They are the beating heart of emergency services organisations and International Control Room Week is dedicated to recognising the fact that they are there for those most in need 24/7, 365 days a year.’

“They make immediate, often life-saving decisions to keep members of the public and communities safe and we truly value their outstanding work. We hope everyone had a fantastic week.”