We were lucky enough to catch up with our newest HEMS Doctor, Luke Banks, on board the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, to get an idea of the unique challenges he faces.
Can you describe your journey to becoming a HEMS Doctor on board the air ambulance?
I first began my training at Barts & the London School of Medicine & Dentistry. In 2004 I started working as a junior doctor in A&E, then moved onto my training in anaesthetics and intensive care medicine. I finished this program in February 2016 just prior to joining the air ambulance.
What is the best thing about working for the air ambulance?
What I particularly like is working as a small and highly functioning team, supporting each other on a daily basis. We rely on each other greatly and there is a big sense of learning from one another, particularly the experience of the paramedics. For me it has been great to draw on their vast experience of the high intensity environment, and how they are able to manage a scene.
What has been the biggest challenge of working as a HEMS doctor?
Learning to read the scene and trying to control the situation. As a hospital doctor you aren't used to being out on the road, faced with completely unique situations. You arrive at a very complex incident or scene and need to work out what has happened extremely quickly. It's a challenge trying to bring some control to often frantic or chaotic scenes and create a sense of order, and the best plan of action.
How long have you wanted to be involved in HEMS?
I've wanted to do it for quite some time, particularly after I undertook my anaesthetic and intensive care training, and was involved in learning about major trauma. During this training I saw the huge benefit of bringing an enhanced care team directly to the patient, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that.
What is your greatest ambition within your career?
Well in all honesty I am pretty much there... doing this job is very close to my ultimate goal and represents something that I've wanted to do for a very long time. Moving forward, I want to ensure that I continue to provide the absolute best care to every single person that I encounter whilst I am working in this position.