Posts

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex Executive Director Recognised IN Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021

Leigh Curtis, Executive Director of Service Delivery for life-saving charity Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS), has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021, receiving an MBE for services to the Air Ambulance Service particularly during COVID-19.

Leigh, who is a state registered paramedic, joined KSS in 2007 having worked previously for the NHS in frontline roles and as Executive Officer for the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb).

During his time as Director of Operations and Executive Director of Service Delivery at KSS, Leigh has pioneered many innovations, helping the charity to reach many more critically ill patients and significantly contributing to improved outcomes.

In Spring 2013, Leigh led the KSS team who collaborated with the Service for Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV) to enable blood to be carried on board KSS’s helicopters and response cars so that patients can receive a blood transfusion at the scene.

Leigh Curtis,
Executive Director of Service Delivery,
Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS)

KSS was the first Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) outside London to be able to carry blood and the initiative is saving lives.

Also in 2013, and having added a new night-capable aircraft to KSS, Leigh oversaw the introduction of night flying, making KSS the first 24/7 HEMS in the country.

Since this time, KSS has carried out over 6,250 missions at night.

Testament to the significant achievements of the KSS service and operating procedures, in March 2020 the charity became the first HEMS to be rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission in all five of its inspection key lines of enquiry: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

This has been further evidenced in the charity’s response to the COVID6-19 pandemic. Leigh adapted the KSS service so that it has been able to operate safely 24/7 throughout — despite an inevitable increase in staff absence as a result of team members needing to self-isolate — and, working with the NHS and SECAmb, Leigh extended the charity’s role at the frontline enabling KSS to transfer 100 critically ill patients between Intensive Care Units across the KSS region.

Leigh Curtis MBE said: “I am deeply grateful to receive this Honour on behalf of KSS for services to the Air Ambulance Service particularly during Covid-19. I very much see this as an achievement for KSS as a whole.’

“The service we deliver each day is only made possible because of the tremendous work and efforts of everyone at Team KSS, including our Trustees, crews, support staff, fundraisers, our volunteers and of course our supporters. I cannot thank them all enough for all that they do for us and our patients.”

“Over the past year, we have all faced an unprecedented challenge, and I am immensely proud that we have not only continued to deliver our life-saving service 24/7 throughout but we have also extended our service.’

“In addition, we have continued our focus on pushing boundaries and setting new standards in life-saving pre-hospital emergency care through our research and collaborations, taking further steps towards realising our vision of an end to preventable loss of life from medical emergency.”

Dr Helen Bowcock, Chair of the KSS Board of Trustees, said: “Leigh’s contribution to the field of pre-hospital emergency medicine is exemplary and this Honour has been earned over the course of many years of tireless commitment and dedication to the needs of patients.’

“He deserves great credit for many important developments, most notably for the introduction of night flying, of carrying blood on board the aircraft and, more recently, for his astute leadership during the COVID crisis. I am delighted that he has been recognised in this way.”

David Welch, KSS CEO, said: “My sincere congratulations to Leigh for this incredibly well-deserved Honour. Leigh’s significant experience and expertise are crucial to ensuring KSS fulfils its purpose to save lives and to enable the best possible outcomes for our patients, and his caring, people-centred approach is valued by us all.”

“Not only is Leigh a wonderful asset and ambassador for our charity, he is a trusted authority in pre-hospital emergency care across the UK and beyond. On behalf of Team KSS, I would like to convey heartfelt thanks to Leigh for his hard work and years of service.”

Air Ambulance Heroes Need Your Help

https://chat.whatsapp.com/AmbulanceTodayDirect

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) has announced that it has raised more than £1m so far through its Coronavirus Emergency Appeal.

However, despite the generousity of all those who could donate, this is just over a third of the total shortfall which the charity was predicting.

Air Ambulances are reserved for only the most urgent and distressing emergencies which occur in our communities.

Recent cancellations of major events and a sudden decrease in fundraising income has caused a notable decrease in the vital funds which they need in order to operate and to serve us.

The life-saving charity launched its Coronavirus Emergency Appeal in April to cover the additional costs of operating its world-class pre-hospital emergency response service safely during the pandemic.

As a charity, this vital service relies heavily charitable donations from people like you, with some money also coming from grants.

KSS Crew with an emergency Air Ambulance

It costs KSS £14 million a year to deliver its emergency service, in which specialist doctors and paramedics provide critical treatment to patients at the scene of serious incidents where only the very highest skills sets available will do.

89% of these funds are typically raised through the incredible generosity of the people of Kent, Surrey and Sussex and the amazing people who volunteer and fundraise for them.

However, during this unprecedented year, the charity has been forced to launch an Emergency Appeal for the first time in its 30 year history.

KSS emergency Air Ambulance in flight

The charity has managed to raise £1m to date, thanks to the generous support from the public which has formed 86% of the money raised, and a Government grant which was shared across the 21 Air Ambulance charities within the UK.

Because all major fundraising events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, and many traditional methods of raising money are now severely challenged, KSS is still facing a significant income shortfall and must raise a further £1.9m to ensure it can continue to save lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

David Welch, CEO of KSS commented: “We simply cannot thank people enough for the support we have received so far.’

View from a KSS emergency Air Ambulance helicopter

“When we launched our appeal, we aimed to raise £535,000 initially to meet the immediate additional costs of continuing our life-saving service during the pandemic and we have received an amazing response.’

“It is truly humbling how generous people can be. We’ve received help from a wide range of sources and in a variety of forms — from financial donations from our supporters and the communities we serve, through to PPE from local businesses, the loan of four vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover and a large supply of oil and AdBlue for our response vehicles from Moove.’

“Every single donation, every single gift has helped, and we are so thankful to everyone who has responded so far.’

“Yet, despite this and the contribution from Government, with the continued impact of the pandemic we still face a significant shortfall of £1.9m.’

“Last year, we were called out to help over 2,500 people in life-threatening situations across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.’

“We have an outstanding, highly skilled medical team and we are determined to continue to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients and to continue to run our charity efficiently and responsibly.’

KSS Crew proudly show their gratitude for the £1m raised

“To secure our future, we urgently need your continued support – there are so many ways you can join those in the community who have already supported and got involved.’

“Let’s work together to continue to save lives during this difficult and unprecedented time.”

KSS has been rated “Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in all five of its inspection criteria: ‘safe’, ‘effective’, ‘caring’, ‘responsive’ and ‘well-led’.

It is the only Air Ambulance Service to have achieved this, as well as being the busiest in the UK. KSS is also the only UK Air Ambulance Service which is able to fly to emergencies 24/7.  

To support the KSS Coronavirus Emergency Appeal, please visit www.aakss.org.uk/appeal