On Monday 14 November 2022, the Air Ambulances UK Awards of Excellence returned to Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham. It was a chance to celebrate and recognise the specialist lifesaving skills and commitment of all those working tirelessly within, and in support of, the air ambulance community.
The night turned out to be a huge success for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC); out of our six shortlisted nominees, we were delighted to bring home one award and be highly commended in two other categories.
APCC Vicki Brown brought home the Breaking Barriers award for her trailblazing work in carving a career pathway for paramedics in the UK.
Earlier this year she became the first person in the country to get on the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care (FPHC) Register of Consultant (Level 8) Practitioners by qualifying from a purely paramedic background. Since the first registration in 2015 to Vicki’s registration, there were only 70 individuals on the list. This achievement followed hot on the heels of Vicki becoming the South West’s first Advanced Practitioner in Critical Care in 2020.
Vicki’s drive and ambition help GWAAC provide the best possible care to patients in the region while giving other paramedics across the country an opportunity to follow in her footsteps.
“I am very honoured to receive this award and hope to continue to push the boundaries of paramedic practice and set up pathways for others.”
Vicki Brown, Advanced Practitioner in Critical Care, GWAAC
GWAAC’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, Joe Hughes, was highly commended in the award category of Charity Staff Member of the Year for his eleven years of exemplary service and, in particular, the initiatives he has spearheaded during the last twelve months; Joe built an amazing relationship with Spirax Sarco, a Cheltenham company that assembled a small army to refurbish GWAAC’s new Cheltenham shop in no time at all.
But his most ambitious project to date is GWAAC’s public access defibrillator campaign that serves to equip businesses and communities with an all-in-one lifesaving automated external defibrillator (AED) package.
“I am humbled to have been nominated for Charity Staff Member of the Year, but let’s be honest – it’s not hard to go to work when work is supporting such an amazing cause.”
Joe Hughes, Strategic Partnerships Manager, GWAAC
Pino has only been a Great Western Heartstarters volunteer for six months, but in that time, he has taught CPR and defibrillation to around 900 people in schools and at events. This is something he has done in between working shifts as an Emergency Care Assistant, where he spends 37.5 hours a week in ambulances across the region. To have taught so many people in such a short space of time, whilst juggling a demanding job, is amazing.
“I’m very passionate about educating the next generation in CPR and defibrillation. I believe that all children should be taught CPR; It will save lives. I know from my job that patients who receive early CPR stand the best chance of survival… It was a lovely surprise to be nominated by GWAAC, and to then be highly commended at the awards is a lovely recognition.”
Pino Giannitti, Great Western Heartstarters Volunteer
Chief Executive Anna Perry said: “I’m so pleased that Vicki, Joe and Pino have received this recognition at the 2022 Awards of Excellence. Their passion and dedication to GWAAC and to the communities they serve is truly inspirational. We’re very lucky to have them!”
GWAAC’s Critical Care Team is called to an average of over five incidents every single day, bringing the skills and expertise of a hospital emergency department straight to patients - where it’s needed the most. Every mission is potentially lifesaving and the charity relies on charitable donations and support from its local community to raise over £4 million a year to keep flying.
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I’m so pleased that Vicki, Joe and Pino have received this recognition at the 2022 Awards of Excellence. Their passion and dedication to GWAAC and to the communities they serve is truly inspirational. We’re very lucky to have them!”