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'Flying medics' team shortlisted in Air Ambulance UK Awards

Award nominees composite

The ‘flying medics’ team at EMRTS has been shortlisted in two categories at the annual Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence.

Emergency responders alongside dispatch colleagues have been recognised for their lifesaving critical care skills and their crucial role in the smooth running of the service.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the home of Reading FC on November 30. 

The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service provides the highly-skilled consultants and critical care practitioners who bring the expertise of an ED to the scene of an emergency incident.

Its team have been shortlisted for two awards – Operations Support Staff of the Year, and Special Incident of the Year.

EMRTS Critical Care Hub manager Greg Browning was named on the shortlist in the ‘Operations Support Staff of the Year’ category, having been nominated by colleagues for his exemplary and outstanding service.

The EMRTS Critical Care Hub, based in Cwmbran, is the centre of the Wales Air Ambulance service. Operating 24/7, an allocator/ dispatcher and critical care practitioner monitor every 999 call made to the Welsh Ambulance Service and identify where early critical care intervention is required before dispatching the most appropriate Wales Air Ambulance resource.

Greg is responsible for the complex management of making sure the operation runs smoothly, and since joining the service back in 2015 has been an instrumental member of the team.

EMRTS Operations Director Mark Winter said: “The Hub is a critical part of the Wales Air Ambulance service and, since its introduction in 2015, Greg has helped with its implementation and the training of staff. He takes his job very seriously and puts patients and staff at the heart of everything he does.

“We need to cherish people like Gregas the non-patient facing staff make a significant difference and this can’t be forgotten. His actions and abilities are really important to our communities and he is the lynchpin of the organisation.”

Wales Air Ambulance Chief Executive Dr Sue Barnes added: “The work that the Critical Care Hub does is outstanding and is vital to our success as a service. Their daily judgement calls and assessments rely on experience and finely tuned instincts.

“Greg’s contribution to the Hub and its development have helped to make our service what it is today.”

Greg, who was unaware of his nomination, said: “I was, quite literally, speechless. 

“This is undoubtedly the proudest moment of my entire career. Knowing that my colleagues have chosen to nominate me for this award is something I shall cherish for the rest of my days. I am grateful every day for the opportunities EMRTS and the Wales Air Ambulance have presented me with, and this is quite simply the icing on the cake.”

EMRTS medics have also been shortlisted for the Special Incident of the Year Award for the delivery of extremely premature twins in a pre-hospital environment.

Last year, two EMRTS crews in Wales Air Ambulance rapid response vehicles were dispatched by Critical Care Practitioner Tom Archer and Critical Air Support Dispatcher, Katie Manson, to a woman in labour at just 24 weeks.

With the twins being so premature, and at an estimated weight of 500 grams, the odds of their survival were extremely low.

Critical Care Practitioners Josh Eason, Elliott Rees, Marc Frowen and Critical Care Consultant Dr Laura Owen, delivered the twins and were able to provide advanced critical care interventions in challenging conditions, with support of top cover consultant Dr Matt O’Meara.

The emergency included extremely difficult intubations, mechanical ventilation, and the administration of lifesaving medication. The level of care they received was equivalent to an intensive care unit, where even in hospital their odds of survival would have been minimal.

Despite the conditions, the twins were stabilised and safely transported to the nearest neonatal unit. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the team, one of the twins passed away whilst in hospital.

Dr Sue Barnes, said: “This was an extremely rare and incredibly challenging mission for the teams but they did everything they could to give the babies the best possible chance of survival. The crew were praised by the hospital neonatologist for the standard of care provided, especially due to the condition in which they were born.

“Whilst we are deeply saddened to hear that one of the twins passed away, we are grateful that one survived against the odds. Our heartfelt thanks go to the family for enabling us to share their story to highlight the work of our service.”

The air ambulance service in Wales is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership. The Wales Air Ambulance Charity relies on public donations to raise the £11.2 million required every year to keep the helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles. 

EMRTS Operations Director Mark Winter has also been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Pictured: Josh Eason, Greg Browning and Tom Archer. 

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