6th Jan 2014

From the Lifetime Achievement Award for Dr Gareth Davies to the Pilot of the Year for Neil Jeffers, London’s Air Ambulance celebrated its success at the Association of Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence 2013. The charity that delivers an advanced trauma team to critically injured people in London collected four key awards yesterday at a ceremony that recognised the individual achievements of professionals from the air ambulance industry nationwide.
Air ambulances from across the UK gathered in Kensington at the event organised by the Association of Air Ambulances, the trade body which unites not only Air Ambulance charities from across the country, but also operators and ambulance services.
London sees some of the highest levels of trauma in the world and the Capital’s air ambulance treats approximately seven patients every day.

Commenting, Graham Hodgkin, CEO of London’s Air Ambulance said: “It is always an honour to be nominated for any award, but to win 4 of the categories, and to be runner up in a fifth was truly humbling. The Association of Air Ambulances’ Awards of Excellence make this even more profound as the recognition comes from our colleagues and peers who understand the nuances of pre-hospital care and the challenges that the air ambulance industry faces, particularly as charitable organisations.  We are extremely proud of all our nominees and winners, as well as the team as a whole who provide exceptional care in exceptional circumstances to our patients every hour of everyday”
This is the first year the awards have been held and they were hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin with GP and noted comedian Dr Phil Hammond on hand to present each winner with their award in front of an enthusiastic gathering.

Chosen by a panel of professionals from the British air ambulance community, the following winners were announced.

Dr Gareth Davies, Medical Director — Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Gareth Davies led London’s Air Ambulance through the transformation from an anti-establishment pioneer, operating on the margins of emergency medicine, to a global leader. He pioneered the ‘doctor on board’ model for air ambulances, taking life-saving surgery and advanced pain relief from the hospital to the roadside.
Gareth remembers the single moment when he recognised the need for a doctor-led helicopter emergency medical service. A motorcyclist in one of the TT races he was watching, near his home in the Isle of Man, had crashed into a bridge and was critically injured. The helicopter landed near the crash site and the doctor immediately began delivering medical care. In Gareth’s words: "The irony was the general public wouldn't get that service, it was only the riders at the race.  It seemed obvious to me that the public deserved the same standard of care if they crashed a bike or fell off a roof.  When I was a kid that pretty much did it for me."

London’s Air Ambulance became the first in the UK to carry a doctor on board and other air ambulances followed, delivering advanced procedures to patients in the moments of their greatest need. He has developed standards in pre-hospital medical care and introduced many innovative procedures, including roadside open-chest surgery that have been adopted throughout the world. London’s Air Ambulance still has the world’s highest survival rate (18%) from this pre-hospital procedure that is performed on clinically dead patients, after the heart has stopped. The award is recognition of Dr Davies’ contribution to air ambulance industry over the last 20 years.

Dr Anne Weaver, Lead Clinician — Doctor of the Year Award
Dr Anne Weaver led the blood on board initiative that brought pre-hospital blood transfusion from battle fields to civilian pre-hospital medicine in March 2012. Not only was a precedent set in London, Anne also led the development of relevant protocols, making this innovation available to any air ambulance, aspiring to deliver the same standards of care. Anne has years of experience in pre-hospital care spanning the UK and Australia.  In 2007 she became Lead Clinician for London’s Air Ambulance and co-founded the first Pre-hospital Care Programme in the UK for medical students. 

Graham Chalk, Lead Paramedic — Paramedic of the Year Award
Over the last nine years, Graham has selected, trained and mentored hundreds of paramedics seconded to London's Air Ambulance from the London Ambulance Service. From the 5,000 medical 999 calls, approximately seven cases of major trauma each day are identified by London’s Air Ambulance as requiring the attention of the charity’s advanced trauma team. Graham has fine-tuned and developed the model of dispatch at London's Air Ambulance to reach its full potential - the dispatch is cited in national guidance as an example of best practice in the field.

Captain Neil Jeffers, Chief Pilot — Pilot of the Year Award
Neil Jeffers conducts approximately one hundred emergency landings per year in the highly urbanised and populated landscape of London, one of most busy airspaces in the world. During his eight years with London’s Air Ambulance, he has safely landed on bridges, multi-story car parks, box junctions and busy, high profile locations such as Trafalgar Square. In addition to his ‘day job’ delivering an advanced trauma team safely to the side of critically injured patients, as Chief Pilot, Neil is responsible for the effective leadership of the aviation aspect of the service.
Neil's commitment to patient care goes beyond safe and efficient delivery of the trauma team to the scene of serious injury. As a certified First Responder, Neil provides invaluable assistance to the medical team in time critical situations.

London's Air Ambulance Runner Up
John Power, Senior Fire Officer — Charity Member of Staff Award
When the aircraft motor burnt out, John and a colleague drove to France to get a replacement and return London's only emergency medical helicopter back online as quickly as possible. When a storm threatened to blow the aircraft off the helipad, John’s swift actions prevented it from moving towards the edge. During his 20 years with London's Air Ambulance, John has enabled thousands of take offs and landings and assisted in the offload of patients transported to The Royal London Hospital.