Meet our new Assistant Medical Director Dr Andrew Heavyside - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
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Meet our new Assistant Medical Director Dr Andrew Heavyside

Andrew is a much loved and respected member of the crew here at Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC). Andrew joined us all the way back in 2019 as a Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) trainee. After completing anaesthetic training, Andrew re-joined the Critical Care Team as a consultant in 2022. We are very pleased that Andrew has recently taken on the role of Assistant Medical Director for a three-year term.

The role of the Assistant Medical Director will help new Medical Director, Dr Andy Lockyer, in duties focused towards training, governance, and general medical team organisation. The focus of the Assistant Medical Director is to ensure that the team have the tools to provide the best possible care for patients.

“I wanted to be the Assistant Medical Director here at GWAAC because of the team. It’s an exceptional unit, filled with exceptional people”.  Andrew shared that “the idea of being part of leadership team and moulding GWAAC’s future is exciting to me”.

The experience of being a Critical Care Doctor at GWAAC has been “hugely rewarding” for Andrew. He has been able to attend a wide range of incidents, from newborns to the elderly and “everyone in between”. As a Critical Care Doctor, “you see people often times at their lowest moments”, and “being able to improve those times, save lives, or just make them more comfortable for patients and their families” has been fulfilling for Andrew. In his new role of Assistant Medical Director, Andrew will continue to treat patients as a Critical Care Doctor.

Outside of GWAAC, Andrew is currently a Consultant Anaesthetist at Southampton General Hospital where he specialises in a number of areas, including major trauma. As well as this, Andrew also does Trauma Team Leader shifts at Southmead hospital in Bristol and has previously served in the Royal Navy.

GWAAC is a leading air ambulance service, utilising some of the best technology available to help our patients. Andrew remarks that, as a Critical Care Team, “we can’t do what we do without the kit. From the most basic to the most complex intervention, it all needs kit and here at GWAAC we have excellent equipment”. However, “the real value comes from our investment in people – we have some of the best clinicians from across the South West”.

Our Critical Care Team are “exposed” to “hugely emotive” incidents regularly. One standout memory of Andrew’s is being a “small part of the care delivered to Jasmine… it’s wonderful to see her come back to the charity and share her story”.

One thing that Andrew would like to see happen in the future is to “integrate” more with the hospitals to follow up on patients. Through doing this Andrew believes the team “would be able to learn more about diagnosis, and in doing so improve care for future patients”.

Outside of work, Andrew loves to cook, is an avid deep-sea scuba diver and winds down by going on long walks in the countryside. If he wasn’t a Doctor, Andrew thinks he would have liked to have been a vet!

What’s a fun fact about you? “The first time I ever rode a horse I jumped a five-bar gate (completely by accident). It was pretty terrifying; I don’t think I’d be able to repeat it again!”

What are your three favourite and least favourite things? “Love: chocolate, wine and cheese… Hate: cabbage, heights and football”.

What is one word you would use to describe yourself? “Probably passionate, or maybe energetic…”

Andrew has always been involved in the charity sector. One of his proudest achievements is organising a charity ball for over one thousand people, raising £85,000. Whilst working with GWAAC, Andrew is proud of his involvement in the development of guidelines and processes with the aim of simplifying the processes of delivering care to patients.

Seeing the care that we can deliver to patients and the difference it makes to their lives” is what inspires Andrew. His ambition for the future is to “continue my involvement in the leadership of GWAAC and the wider ambulance service”.

If you want to continue learning more about our crew members, why not read Medical Director Andy Lockyer’s bio?