13 Nov 2017


Tonight the Association of Air Ambulances hosts their annual Awards of Excellence, celebrating the incredible work done within the Air Ambulance community. This year, we’ve been delighted to have four staff members nominated for individual awards, as well as an additional nomination in the Special Incident category for our team’s response to the London Bridge attack. Here, we shine a spotlight on the individuals nominated.

Frank Chege — Charity Staff Member of the Year

Now in his fourth year as Patient Liaison Nurse for London’s Air Ambulance, Frank Chege has been nominated for Charity Staff Member of the Year.

The role of the Patient Liaison Nurse is to assist with the patient’s transition to independent living, and it is Frank’s approach to providing both physical and emotional support that has made this role an outstanding success. Between 2015-2016, Frank followed up with 467 patients and bereaved families, providing vital post-trauma support. From talking families through the best ways to facilitate recovery, to personally contacting personal injury lawyers to gain funding for better patient care, Frank has re-defined recovery for hundreds of patients and their families. Initially unique in his role, Frank has now inspired other Air Ambulances to recognise the importance of continued support, with others now having created similar positions.

For patients, Frank is at the heart of what we do as a charity, providing continuity and support during their most difficult times.

John Power — Air Ambulance Operations Support Staff Member of the Year

With 24 years working for London’s Air Ambulance, John Power has been nominated for this award in recognition of his outstanding sustained service to our charity.

As Chief Fire Officer John is responsible for fire prevention and safety at the helipad and has enabled thousands of take offs and landings during his time. John’s dedication to the charity is second to none. He has worked 15 days in a row when the helipad was short of staff, has taken one sick day in two decades, and given up numerous family occasions when required at the helipad at short notice.

On the night of the London Bridge attacks, John had just arrived home at 10pm when he was informed of the incident. He was back at the helipad by 11pm running helipad operations, coordinating the response of our medical teams and keeping an eye on communications around the events. He left the helipad at 4am.

John is one of the most experienced and loyal air ambulance fire officers in the country, and we could not be prouder of his nomination.

Dr Tony Joy — Air Ambulance Doctor of the Year

Dr Tony Joy joined London’s Air Ambulance for a year-long secondment in 2014, where he requested to be the clinician in charge of the Physician Response Unit (PRU). Tony quickly realised that the PRU could be redeveloped to provide an even better community service.

Tony’s vision of the remodelled PRU was of one with longer hours, permanent clinicians, and better integration with London Ambulance Service , Barts Health NHS Trust and community healthcare. Tony’s drive and dedication was integral to turning this vision into a reality; writing the business proposal in his own time, attending meetings with decision makers and presenting his case for the next steps in the process. Tony’s passion for outstanding emergency care won over the key organisations required to remodel the PRU, and the improved service launched earlier this year. The benefit that the improved PRU is bringing to patients is just one reason why Tony is a worthy recipient of the Doctor of the Year award.

Bill Leaning — Air Ambulance Paramedic of the Year

Bill Leaning is probably the only air ambulance paramedic to have coordinated the response to three terrorist attacks. Not only this, but Bill did so over only four months. During the Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park mosque attacks, Bill was on duty in the London Ambulance Service control room to dispatch London’s Air Ambulance, deciding where whether to send his colleagues into situations of potential danger. Bill made his decisions with confidence, and coordinated the team response. Bill’s decisions made a genuine difference to the outcome on those days.

As well as his involvement in these Major Incidents, Bill carries with him two decades of experience as a paramedic working on the streets of London. Last year, Bill was part of the team recognised with the Pride of Britain Emergency Services award for their pioneering use of REBOA on a young cyclist, Vicky, preventing her from bleeding to death. Bill’s dedication to the charity and calmness during unimaginable circumstances make his nomination truly deserved.

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