GWAAC's Critical Care Team - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

Learn more about GWAAC's Critical Care Team

Our crew attend the most critical incidents across the region by helicopter or by critical care car. When someone is seriously ill or injured time is of the essence, and they need expert help fast. This is where we come in.

From emergency blood transfusions to roadside amputations or treating cardiac arrests, our crew specialise in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine, bringing the skills and expertise of an Emergency Department to the patient.

Get to know some of the team below

What is your favourite TV Show?

Joined GWAAC: 2017

What is your favourite TV Show: Friends

Favourite band: Mumford & Sons

Most known amongst the crew for: Trying to find the best coffee in the region

When not at GWAAC, you can normally be found: Spending time with family & friends or planning for next years snowboarding trip

Best thing about your job: Being part of an inclusive, committed and compassionate team who provides life saving interventions to the most critically ill and injured as well as hearing about the success stories months later.      

If you didn’t do your current job, what career do you think you would be in: Honestly it is a privilege to work on the air ambulance and something I have wanted to do from a young age. However I do think being an airline pilot would be pretty cool?

Impact surgical skills training has had: Our surgical skills training is an invaluable and essential resource. It helps to support the decision making process and improves competence and confidence when performing these skills in challenging situations. The skills taught are used on our most critically ill and injured patients. Without these skills being performed immediately would mean a greater chance of death. I have seen first hand the impact these skills have had and having physically practiced them has made a huge difference.         

What is the best thing about your job?

Year you joined GWAAC: 2012

Best thing about your job: Lots! Patient care, teamwork with great bunch of clinicians, teaching and mentoring

Favourite food: Chocolate

Most known amongst the crew for: Getting on with things…..

If you didn’t do your current job, what career do you think you would be in: Always wanted to be a vet

Surgical skills training is very important, as some of the critical care interventions we do means we need these skills. For me to be able to do the training ensures I remain competent, especially in the high end skills we deliver that are only needed with very sick or injured patients. It allows me to be confident to deliver the intervention when needed. As an advanced practitioner on scene I may be responsible for deciding on the interventions needed so I have to be confident I can deliver them.

 

 

If you didn't do your current job, what career would you be in?

Joined GWAAC: 2015

Favourite food: Pizza and black coffee.

Favourite song: Noone Knows – Queens of the Stone Age.

Known amongst the crew for: Insisting on going for dinner on late shifts/generally eating!

Best thing about your job: The people; colleagues and patients.

If you didn’t do your current job, what career would you be in? Artisan baker – I’m very proud of my sourdough!

"The surgical skills training course is invaluable. As the skills practiced on it are infrequently used yet only used in extreme cases, it's all the more important that you feel confident when approaching an incident. This training gives you that confidence."

Where would we find you when not at GWAAC?

Joined GWAAC: 2014

Where would we find you when not at GWAAC: Messing around in the outdoors as much as possible, playing with my two children.

Most known amongst the crew for: A voracious appetite for coffee, but a significant dislike of instant coffee!

Favourite TV show: Any of the crime dramas.

Best thing about your job: The variety, the excitement, the teamwork and the opportunity to have a huge impact on the care patients receive.

If you didn’t do your current job, what career would you be in? I wanted to be a vet when I was younger, but honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything other than being a paramedic now!

''The decision to carry out a surgical procedure is often harder than carrying out the procedure itself. Feeling confident in your abilities is key. The surgical skills training course helps us to prepare for difficult situations in the field. One of the highlights is being able to run through procedures with colleagues who you work with on a day-to-day basis, so when you need to use the skills in the real world everyone knows exactly what to do.”

What is your favourite TV Show?

Year you joined GWAAC: 2007

What is your favourite TV show: Only Fools and Horses

Favourite food: Enchiladas

Favourite band/song: Pink Floyd

Most known amongst the crew for: I’d hate to think

When not at GWAAC, you can normally be found doing: Travelling (if not in lockdown)

Best thing about your job: Making a positive contribution to patient care even if I don’t get out much nowadays

If you didn’t do your current job, what career do you think you would be in: Pilot

“Surgical skills training gives you the confidence to undertake a procedure that you haven’t done in real life before, meaning you can perfect techniques and skills that you do not undertake very often. A benefit of the way that GWAAC carries out the training is that it gives us the opportunity to practice surgical skills as a team, simulating how it would be at an incident.”

If you didn't do your current job, what career would be in?

Year you joined GWAAC: 2012

If you didn’t do your current job, what career do you think you would be in: Stuntman or Astronaut (although my career advisor at school told me I’d never make it as a doctor and that She would recommend that I apply for a job at the new out of town supermarket).

Favourite food: Haribo

Favourite band/song: Anything from the 80’s

When not at GWAAC, you can normally be found doing: Most likely I’d be at work in one of my other roles, or maybe I’d be at home cutting the grass, cutting the hedges, burning stuff and generally hiding from the world.

Favourite TV show: Mandalorian

Best thing about your job: I genuinely believe pre hospital care is one of those specialties where you can make a real tangible difference to patient outcomes.

“The use of Emergency Surgical skills (ie. the concept of operating by the roadside) is one of those rare occasions where people can be literally brought back to life immediately by something you do with your surgical instruments. These surgical skills were once only available in hospital, but often patients did not survive the journey to hospital. So being able to provide them without delay is invaluable.

''The skills performed are technical, so by their nature need to be learnt and well practised.  Having the opportunity to practise these skills away from the roadside and with others who have built up hints and tips over the years is invaluable and allows for excellent shared mental models and teamwork.”

What are you most known amongst the crew for?

Year you joined GWAAC: 2008 

Most known amongst the crew for: Being a bit messy but always happy to tidy up

Favourite food: Pizza 

Favourite band/song: Bruce Springsteen

When not at GWAAC, you can normally be found doing: Working at the BRI or paddleboarding

Favourite TV show: The west wing

Best thing about your job: It is a privilege to be able to help people in their darkest hour, to be part of an incredible team and for those like me who are longer in the tooth to see colleagues come into the unit and become outstanding clinicians and leaders, our future is in excellent hands

If you didn’t do your current job, what career do you think you would be in: Police officer or lawyer

“These skills mercifully are only needed on rare occasions, but when they are needed we have to be decisive and skilled in delivering them. This training gives us that expertise and confidence.”

What is your favourite food?

Joined GWAAC: 2017

Favourite food: A roast dinner with mayonnaise hands down.

Favourite band/song: Imagine Dragons is such an awesome band.

Known amongst the crew for: Erm I’m not sure hopefully friendly.

When not at GWAAC, you can normally be found doing: Spending time with my family and renovating our house.

Favourite TV show: The Big Bang Theory- best TV show ever, when it finished it left a void 

Best thing about your job: The people I work with and being able to relieve pain and suffering in our community.

If you didn’t do your current job, what career would you be in: I think being a vet would be pretty cool.

 

What is your favourite food?

Year you joined GWAAC: 2017

Favourite food: Medium-rare T-bone steak with ‘bistecca pizzaiola’ sauce. I’m pretty sure my dad made it up as I’ve never seen it in a restaurant, he used to try to get them to make it for him and offer extra. It worked sometimes but so embarrassing as a child! The family recipe is 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, a beef stock cube, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, black olives, 4 anchovy fillets finely chopped, table spoon of capers, rosemary, oregano and basil to taste, Worcester sauce and some salt and pepper. Leave to simmer down and thicken up. Double fried chips and some fresh salad. Buon Appetito!

Favourite band/song: Gasoline - Audioslave

Most known amongst the crew for: A dark sense of humour…

When not at GWAAC, you can normally be found doing: Enjoying time with my family.

Favourite TV show: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Best thing about your job: Being able to relieve suffering in a way I wasn’t able to other roles within the Ambulance service eg. Giving advanced pain relief or sedation for extreme pain.

If you didn’t do your current job, what career do you think you would be in: The Police or Fire and Rescue.

“After completing the surgical skills day myself and a Doctor colleague performed a clamshell thoracotomy (opening a person’s rib cage up to have direct surgical access to their heart and organs in the chest). This allowed us to administer blood products directly into his heart and get a pulse back. The training made me much calmer, able to problem solve when his anatomy was slightly different (within a normal range) and allowed me to have a clear mental plan before starting. When you have a rough plan going into a case I find I am better able to adapt as I’m not using up brain processing power to do the basic of the procedure.

In a more general sense it had taken the anxiety out of attending a case where these skills are required, which allows me to focus on being flexible and maintain a wider situational awareness.”

When not at GWAAC, you can normally be found doing?

Year you joined GWAAC: 2018

When not at GWAAC, you can normally be found doing: Trying to control my wayward dog and child

Favourite food: Oranges!

Favourite band/song: Muse

Most known amongst the crew for: Making coffee so strong you could float bricks in it

Favourite TV show: Game of Thrones

Best thing about your job: The team, the team and the team (and the helicopter)

If you didn’t do your current job, what career do you think you would be in: 15th century explorer

“Surgical interventions are vital and lifesaving skills with GWAAC, however they are also technically challenging and scary to perform. The surgical skills training gives us the opportunity to perfect these skills in a safe environment, enabling us to bring the best practice to our patients”

What are you most known amongst the crew for?

Year you joined GWAAC: 2018

Most known amongst the crew for: Wellbeing stuff?

Favourite food: Pretty much anything that includes melted cheese

Favourite band/song: Just one?! Come on... OK- Sweet Child o' mine. Band? Too many to pick

When not at GWAAC, you can normally be found doing: Drinking cocktails and playing board games

Favourite TV show: Archer/ Spaced

Best thing about your job: Being in a position to save patients that others can't

If you didn’t do your current job, what career do you think you would be in: If I had to leave this job I'd probably become a counsellor. If I'd never done it? Personal trainer to the stars?

“Being practiced at these skills means that you don't have to think about them so much when you're on scene. That means you free up more mental space to perform more tasks in a shorter space of time, thus improving the performance of the team.”

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