Olympic gold medalist Amy Williams tells CLARE O’REILLY why Alastair Wilson, founder of the London Air Ambulance, should win one.
OLYMPIC skeleton champion Amy Williams knows first-hand the value of speedy treatment from medics, having “got away lightly” with a damaged disc in her neck during an accident while training nine years ago.
So the 35-year-old has nominated Alastair Wilson, 70, founder of the London Air Ambulance and a trauma surgeon at the Royal London Hospital during the 7/7 terror attacks in the capital.
She says he deserves our Who Cares Wins Ultimate Lifesaver award for his dedication to the UK trauma service.
Amy, from Bath, says: “It’s thanks to Alastair that doctors are in helicopters across the country now. Alastair’s forward thinking saved thousands of lives.”
Alastair founded London’s Air Ambulance — or HEMS — in 1989 as the capital’s snarled-up streets meant long road journeys by regular ambulance would sometimes prove fatal.
It spawned similar services nationwide.
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Alastair said: “While I no longer use the helicopters, I’m incredibly proud of the London Air Ambulance. Trauma is a disease of time, so the swifter the response, the greater the chance of survival — that was evident on 7/7.”
The morning of the 2005 London terror attacks — which killed 52 and injured hundreds — was fairly quiet at the Royal London Hospital.
Alastair recalled: “Everything went eerily quiet. Then we had a call that there had been an explosion, so I activated a major incident.”
How to enter
We will invite the winners and the person who nominates them to an awards ceremony and party in London in October.
Enter at thesun.co.uk/nhs-heroes-who-cares-wins.
Because of Alastair’s planning, as lead trauma surgeon, “everyone knew what they were supposed to do and everything kicked in exactly as it should.
“There were 33 HEMS callouts that day and while not all came to the Royal London, it was an incredibly emotional day. We got a lot right.”
Alastair, who still works one day a week as a trauma surgeon there, added: “The NHS has changed since I qualified five decades ago but the frontline staff still make it one of the most amazing institutions in the world.
“It’s an honour to be nominated but I’m only as good as the team I work with.”
My NHS – Deidre Sanders
"My stepmum had to be admitted to hospital for emergency surgery for peritonitis when my dad had been bedridden at home for a year with crippling arthritis.
"When we could no longer care for him at home, he was admitted to the same hospital, though a different ward – and as it turned out was to die there about two weeks later.
"But the busy hospital staff had the humanity to wheel one to the other’s bedside every day so they could talk for a while, which made all the difference to my dad’s last days and my stepmum’s feelings.
"It’s great to have this opportunity to honour the end- less excellent7 and caring work."
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