The UK’s air ambulance community has bestowed its highest honour, a lifetime achievement award, upon Professor David Lockey, National Director of Wales’ ‘Flying Medics’ service.

The Association of Air Ambulances (AAA) presented the prestigious accolade to Professor Lockey during an event held at the Millennium Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London, yesterday (18/11/19).

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises those who have made a lifetime contribution to the world of air ambulance operations and have demonstrated personal passion for the sector. It honours individuals who have changed the course of events for an air ambulance charity for the better.

Professor Lockey is National Director of the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS), also known as the ‘Welsh Flying Medics’. EMRTS is a unique Third Sector-Public Sector partnership between the Wales Air Ambulance Charity and NHS Wales. As a result, the air ambulance service in Wales in consultant-led and provides pioneering pre-hospital critical and emergency medical care across the country. The service, which takes the emergency room to the patients, is described as a ‘Flying ED’.

While the medical provision and equipment are supplied by the ‘Welsh Flying Medics’, it is the generosity of the Welsh public, through donations to the WAA Charity, which keeps the helicopters flying. This Charity needs to raise £6.5 million every year and, with its four helicopters, Wales has the largest air ambulance operation in the UK.

Both clinically and through his research, Professor Lockey has supported significant advances in the field of pre-hospital emergency medicine (PHEM). He was the UK’s first Professor of Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine and has held a number of prominent national and international roles in the development of PHEM as a speciality.

In addition to his work with the ‘Welsh Flying Medics’, he was the transitional lead for the development of a Major Trauma Network in South Wales and South Powys.

Outside Wales, Professor Lockey has played a major role at London’s Air Ambulance, as an on-board medic, as their Consultant and Research Lead and as a Trustee of the Charity. He has also helped develop several other air ambulance services in the UK and overseas.

His other positions include Clinical Director for Major Trauma at the Severn Major Trauma Network and a consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia in Bristol. He is also Chair of the Faculty of Pre-hospital Care at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and was previously Chair of the Intercollegiate Board for Training in PHEM.

Academically, Professor Lockey is an honorary professor at the University of Bristol and Queen Mary University, London.

Angela Hughes, Wales Air Ambulance Chief Executive, said: “Much of the research David has undertaken has changed air ambulance practice and contributed to national and international guidelines, and best practice advice. He has contributed to international guidelines on trauma and emergency care including the last three sets of European Resuscitation Council Guidelines. One of David’s focuses has been to develop and improve the delivery of pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia by air ambulance services, and he has contributed hugely to this particular area of clinical air ambulance practice.”

Responding to the announcement, Professor Lockey said: ‘It has been a huge privilege to work in so many great organisations that exist to improve the care, outcomes and survival of patients when they most need it.”