3rd Feb 2020
We ask our newly appointed Medical Director, Dr Tom Hurst about his role and how he first started out in pre-hospital care. He tells us about his first secondment with London's Air Ambulance and what he's looking forward to most in the role.
How did you first become involved in pre-hospital care?
As a very junior doctor, a great emergency medicine consultant called Dr Peter Driscoll took me along to a major incident exercise on an airfield on the outskirts of Manchester. I remember thinking “brilliant! You can do this sort of thing as a doctor!”
What attracted you to London’s Air Ambulance?
My first secondment in 2008 was one of the best professional experiences of my life. Back then it was about the only place in the country where you could come and do pre-hospital care full time as a doctor. I felt hugely privileged and excited to be doing the role and the experience was both challenging and supportive in equal measures. Since then I have stayed closely involved with the service and feel immensely privileged to have been asked to take on this role.
What are you most looking forward to getting your teeth into as Medical Director?
It is such an exciting role and with so many amazing bits to it, it is hard to narrow it down to one thing. I believe that even closer working between the three organisations that make up the partnership can help us get to the next level in terms of impact for patients. I am also really keen to help the rest of the team deliver to their fullest capability – we have such an amazing team with projects and ideas across the spectrum of our service.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I love working pre-hospital. Just being on scene and working with the rest of the emergency services is hugely rewarding. And while I do like the odd shift in the medic 1 seat, it is a real pleasure watching our very capable doctors and paramedics not needing any input from me!
What does your typical day look like?
I really don’t have a typical day. I’m still in the early phases of the role, and luckily I have quite a bit of time to dedicate to the London's Air Ambulance part of the job plan. Once it all settles down, my typical week will be made up of a couple of days of medical director work, a clinical shift with London's Air Ambulance and some time in the ICU at King’s College Hospital.
What did you want to be growing up?
For a while I wanted to be an architect but I turned out to be awful at drawing! I settled on medicine as a career quite early on and I’m delighted I did because although it is hard work, I honestly believe it is one of the most rewarding professions.
How do you unwind after a busy day?
I like to do a mixture of things so that I have some balance and variety. Quiet time at home with my partner is really important, and I love cooking which is really good for unwinding. We also like the outdoors and regularly get out into the countryside for walks. If all that sounds a bit too wholesome, I’m happy to admit that I do like a pint in the pub after a busy shift and enjoy making (and drinking!) cocktails, especially those with gin in them!
What is your favourite biscuit?
Dark chocolate hobnob