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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.”

London Ambulance Service Medics Recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Two of London Ambulance Service’s most experienced medics have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced on Friday evening (11 June 2021).

Consultant midwife Amanda Mansfield has been awarded an MBE for ‘Services to Midwifery’ in the latest round of honours, while clinical team manager Jason Morris received a Queen’s Ambulance Medal.

Amanda’s MBE comes less than three months after she was presented with a prestigious ‘Chief Midwifery Officer’s Gold Award’ to recognise the achievements of a career in midwifery spanning 30 years.

Amanda Mansfield,
Consultant Midwife and recipient of Queen’s Ambulance Medal,
LAS

Speaking of the honour, Amanda said: “I feel passionately that wherever women and their babies access care, it is the best it can be and a joyful experience.’

“This acknowledgement of my commitment and hard work is such an honour.’

“It’s a privilege to be in this role. I’m very lucky to have such a fantastic team at London Ambulance Service who make a real difference to mothers and babies in London and I know they will be pleased for me.”

Amanda joined LAS in 2015 where she has been instrumental in helping make sure mothers, babies, partners and families receive care that makes a difference across London.  Before her current role she worked as a strategic midwifery and maternity leader at the Royal Free Hospital in London and at Stoke Mandeville, Wycombe and Wexham Park hospitals.

Amanda recalled how she was so shocked when she received the email informing her she had been honoured, she thought it might be a scam.

“I couldn’t believe it”, she said. “I showed my husband Julian the email and said, ‘It says I’ve been awarded an MBE’. He said, ‘You have!’ ”

The pair marked the honour that evening with a glass of champagne. Now the honours are public, they look forward to celebrating the news with family.

Jason Morris,
Clinical Team Manager and Recipient of Queen’s Ambulance Medal,
LAS

Jason Morris’ Queen’s Ambulance Medal recognises 22 years of service at London Ambulance, the last 14 of which have been in a leadership role as a clinical team manager in south-west London.

During his time at LAS, Jason has championed many initiatives including the development of a ‘Red-Bag’ scheme for care home residents in Sutton which reduced hospital stays by up to four days and also reduced losses of patients’ personal and valuable items.

Due to its success in Sutton, this local initiative was then rolled out nationally in 2018.

Since 2009, Jason has also been seconded to London’s Air Ambulance and is currently one of its longest serving paramedics. He takes a leading role in training and developing the team of Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) doctors and paramedics.

He has also spearheaded improvements to the performance and efficiency of the London’s Air Ambulance dispatch systems by harnessing new technology. This included piloting GoodSAM instant on-scene video link technology to assess scenes and patients and assist the Service in sending the most appropriate resources in each case.

More recently during the Covid-19 response, Jason took a leading role in protecting LAS staff, volunteers and patients by ensuring medics had the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and finding solutions when challenges arose.

After discovering he had been awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal, Jason said: “It’s a real honour to be recognised in this way and I’m quite overwhelmed.’

“From my point of view I’m just part of the team and it wouldn’t be possible for me to do my job every day without the support of everyone else around me.’

“Ever since I was a kid my ambition was always to help others and so this is my dream job. I love what I do and I wouldn’t ever want to do anything else.”

Speaking after the announcement of the latest honours, London Ambulance Service chair Heather Lawrence OBE said:

“We are so privileged at London Ambulance Service to be working with some of the most dedicated and experienced people in the NHS, and Amanda and Jason’s contributions to our Service and the people of London are a prime example of this.’

“I’m thrilled for both of them that their hard work and determination to keep improving patient care has been recognised with these prestigious honours.”

Strategic Head of Resilience Recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Simon Swallow, strategic head of emergency preparedness, resilience and response at the North East Ambulance Service, has been awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal in the 2021 Birthday Honour’s list. He is the third recipient of the prestigious honour in the North East region.

The award is presented to acknowledge distinguished service in the ambulance service and is awarded in recognition of the enormous contribution and influence Simon has made in his 35-year career in the ambulance service and NHS.

Chief Executive Helen Ray said: “This is a well-deserved honour and on behalf of the Trust I am delighted that Simon has been recognised for his contribution to the ambulance service and wider NHS.’

“His commitment was evident early in his career when he volunteered to deliver presentations to numerous community organisations to raise awareness and educate the public on the aims of the ambulance service.’

Helen Ray,
Chief Executive,
NEAS

“He still volunteers in NEAS today as a family liaison officer during serious incident investigations. Many have commented to me how Simon often puts his feelings to one side to help and support the patients and their families.”

Simon Swallow, aged 51, is married and lives in Whitley Bay. He has three children. He said: “I am honoured, humbled and proud to have receive this honour. It’s been such a journey working these 35 years in the service and it still feels very special to work here. I enjoy it as much now as I did on my first day.”

Reflecting on his investiture, he added: “I have been involved since 1995 in looking after the Royal family. I’ve always been in the background so it will feel very different to finally meet them when I receive this honour.”

Simon was a cadet in the ambulance service aged 16 and qualified as a paramedic seven years’ later in 1993. He quickly received the appreciation from the Department of Health for his work on the reception, treatment and transportation of the four Bosnian casualties flown in to Newcastle by the RAF.

This later became the Reception Arrangements for Military Patients (RAMP) programme, transporting casualties from abroad to major trauma centres.

Simon has gone on to be involved in numerous multi-agency operations, some high profile, where his experience and skills have made a difference in both caring for patients and protecting the public, including:

  • Operation Hourglass: A pilot scheme which later became the national “booze bus” initiative
  • Operation Ginger: Simon set up the first of its kind partnership with police in North East
  • Raoul Moat manhunt: Ambulance commander during a high-profile week long incident
  • 2012 Olympics: In the North East and as strategic commander supporting London Ambulance Service in the National Olympic Coordination Centre
  • Great North Run: 26 years as a commander to the largest mass-participation event in the UK
  • World Transplant Games: Lead planner for medical cover at all the venues
Simon Swallow,
Strategic Head of Emergency Preparedness, Resilience & Response,
NEAS

In the early 2000s, Simon spent time teaching in Kuwait on behalf of NEAS and remains an advocate for raising awareness and supporting training for Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) contingencies. He was later involved in writing the CBRN manual and training for the CBRN clinical decontamination programme.

Simon went on to lead the early implementation of the Special Operations Response Team and trained 140 NEAS staff in early 2002. Five years later, he was again working alongside the Department of Health and national teams to trial “hot zone” working which later became the Hazardous Area Response Team.

All aspects of police and royalty protection planning and delivery has been led by Simon, including visits of prime ministers, presidents, popes, and monarchs.

Recently, Simon has led on the COVID-19 swabbing, anti-body testing and vaccine programme, working tirelessly to organise clinics and act as a point of contact for all staff and liaising with partners to secure vaccine appointments.