A group of nurses from Craigavon Area Hos­pi­tal has put to­gether a recipe book to raise funds for the Air Am­bu­lance NI in mem­ory of their much-loved col­league, fly­ing doc­tor John Hinds. Here, they talk to Stephanie Bell

Belfast Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

With John, it was never about him­self and al­ways about other peo­ple, his pa­tients and the ser­vice

Ateam of lo­cal nurses has paid trib­ute to late col­league Dr John Hinds by rais­ing thou­sands to sup­port the air am­bu­lance ser­vice he so pas­sion­ately cam­paigned for be­fore his tragic death.

In a mov­ing se­ries of in­ter­views, the team that worked closely with the doc­tor re­veal just how pas­sion­ate and ded­i­cated he was to im­prov­ing trauma ser­vices for ev­ery­one in North­ern Ire­land.

Dr Hinds (35) was known as one of the fly­ing doc­tors of mo­tor­bike road rac­ing. He trag­i­cally died in a mo­tor­cy­cle crash while pro­vid­ing vol­un­teer med­i­cal cover at the Sk­er­ries 100 race in Dublin in July 2015.

Be­fore his death, he had been a vo­cal ad­vo­cate for a med­i­cal he­li­copter for North­ern Ire­land and had lob­bied Stor­mont.

The Gov­ern­ment fi­nally an­nounced fund­ing for the ser­vice which, fit­tingly, was given the Delta 7 call sign used by Dr Hinds.

De­tails were un­veiled on what would have been Dr Hinds’ 36th birth­day, in March 2016, at his place of work, Craigavon Area Hos­pi­tal, where he was a con­sul­tant

anaes­thetist and in­ten­sive care con­sul­tant.

Since it took to the skies in July 2017, the air am­bu­lance has at­tended more than 570 calls, pro­vid­ing vi­tal and life-sav­ing med­i­cal aid on the spot, just as John Hinds did for the mo­tor­cy­cle world.

Run as a char­ity, it takes £2m a year to keep the ser­vice aloft and, for John’s dev­as­tated col­leagues, sup­port­ing it has been the best way they could ex­press their grief and ad­mi­ra­tion for the col­league whose death stunned them all.

While John qui­etly went about sav­ing lives, not just in hos­pi­tal but at mo­tor­cy­cle races across North­ern Ire­land, his col­leagues re­veal that at work he was also an in­no­va­tor, men­tor­ing and tu­tor­ing theatre staff to im­prove stan­dards of care. Now, a year of fundrais­ing by a team of seven of his theatre col­leagues has just cul­mi­nated in the launch of a recipe book, which flew out of lo­cal shops where it was on sale over Christ­mas.

The book, called The NHS He­roes Fam­ily Favourite Recipes, al­most sold out its first print run of 1,500 in a mat­ter of weeks, and the de­lighted team at Craigavon Area Hos­pi­tal are now set to print an­other 1,000 copies to meet de­mand.

Theatre man­ager at Craigavon Pamela John­son (52) re­vealed why she and her team have ded­i­cated the last year to rais­ing what cur­rently stands at around £10,000 in mem­ory of their late col­league.

Pamela, who has been nurs­ing for 30 years, has a part­ner, Kevin Magee (47), a physics teacher, and lives in Dollingstown.

Work­ing in theatre and deal­ing with very chal­leng­ing and trau­matic in­juries bonds the en­tire team.

And while she and all of her col­leagues are in­cred­i­bly pas­sion­ate about their work, Pamela says John stood out for go­ing the ex­tra mile.

“John was a fan­tas­tic col- league, a great in­spi­ra­tion to us all and we have all felt his loss greatly,” Pamela says. “To us he was piv­otal in get­ting the air am­bu­lance ser­vice off the ground in North­ern Ire­land.

“He was also a very mod­est per­son. He would have done things be­hind the scenes, push­ing for­ward in a mod­est way.

“He talked about the air am­bu­lance among his col­leagues. It was never about him­self, but al­ways about the ser­vice, other peo­ple and his pa­tients, and how we could get a bet­ter trauma ser­vice in North­ern Ire­land.

“John re­ally has lived on in our hearts. The day he died is one we will never, ever for­get.

“It is such a shock that he is no longer with us and an aw­ful tragedy for us.

“He was one of those in­spir­ing in­di­vid­u­als who left a mark on our lives.”

There is no doubt that the air am­bu­lance is seen as John’s legacy, but col­leagues re­vealed how he has also left his mark in the hos­pi­tal. An in­no­va­tor, he was pas­sion­ate about en­sur­ing med­i­cal trauma stan­dards were the best they could pos­si­bly be.

He in­tro­duced train­ing for theatre staff, recre­at­ing po­ten­tial real-life trauma sce­nar­ios so that medics could prac­tice how best to pro­vide treat­ment. That work con­tin­ues to this day.

Sis­ter Siob­han McAr­dle (54), from Ban­bridge, who has worked at Craigavon Hos­pi­tal for 30 years, ex­plains how John im­pacted on her work and that of her col­leagues.

“A lot of our pa­tients have used the air am­bu­lance, and we’ve had two pa­tients brought in by it since we launched the cook­ery book at the end of Novem­ber,” she be­gins.

“There is no doubt it is sav­ing lives. John was a quiet gen­tle­man and very unas­sum­ing.

“He was a great men­tor for all of us, as well as for new staff com­ing in.

“He or­gan­ised a lot of train­ing days and cre­ated emer­gen- cy trauma sce­nar­ios to help with staff train­ing.

“He held sim­u­la­tion work­shops to help staff be bet­ter pre­pared to deal with all sit­u­a­tions. He was so pas­sion­ate about it.

“A lot of what John in­tro­duced, we have car­ried on. He left us that legacy.

“In work he was a very ap­proach­able per­son — you could have asked him any­thing.”

An­other col­league who has been help­ing with the recipe book and fundrais­ing, Chris­tine Tay­lor (59), who is the goods and ser­vices of­fi­cer at the hos­pi­tal, also worked with John in the theatre.

Chris­tine played a huge part in de­vel­op­ing the cook­book by per­suad­ing many of the com­pa­nies who sup­ply the hos­pi­tal to spon­sor a page.

The team se­cured spon­sor­ship for all 118 pages of recipes, which were con­trib­uted by staff and which are all tried and tested fam­ily favourites. “I have ac­cess to com­pa­nies, so I ap­proached them about spon­sor­ship, and the ma­jor­ity were very keen to get in­volved in the book. That helped raise funds to cover the costs of print­ing,” Chris­tine says.

“Many lo­cal busi­nesses through­out the Craigavon and Ban­bridge area also sup­ported us. Many were happy to take the books to sell in their shops.

“We are thrilled that there are only about 60 copies of the book left from the first print run. We can’t be­lieve how quickly it sold.

“Even though he was unas­sum­ing, ev­ery­one knew about John, and the sup­port we’ve had has been amaz­ing.

“I was on hol­i­day when news of his death came through. I was just numb. I could not be­lieve what I was hear­ing.

“I think what John did in help­ing to get an air am­bu­lance for North­ern Ire­land is ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic.

“None of us know when we might need it. We are just so happy that peo­ple have been so sup­port­ive of our fundrais­ing.”

The recipes in­clude ev­ery­thing from starters to tray­bakes, main cour­ses and desserts.

Pamela says: “We are all very proud of the work that John has done. He was such an in­spi­ra­tion and, even as I talk about him now, I feel that sense of pride. He was a calm­ing pres­ence in the team, and the con­tri­bu­tion that he made to our ser­vice has made it a much bet­ter ser­vice for ev­ery­one.

“We are very priv­i­leged and proud to have worked with him and his part­ner, Dr Janet Ach­e­son.”

The ladies’ fundrais­ing ef­forts have so far raised more than £10,000.

While their ef­forts were meant to run in 2018 only, the medics will con­tinue to do what they can to sup­port the air am­bu­lance.

This doc­tor and para­medic ser­vice, which is based at the for­mer Maze prison, ben­e­fits those whose lives are at se­ri­ous risk

fol­low­ing a ma­jor in­jury or trauma, ef­fec­tively bring­ing emer­gency hos­pi­tal care di­rect to the ca­su­alty.

The prov­ince-wide ser­vice op­er­ates seven days a week for 12 hours a day, and the am­bu­lance can any­where in North­ern Ire­land in around 25 min­utes.

Be­fore the start of op­er­a­tions in July 2017, North­ern Ire­land was the only part of the UK with­out an emer­gency he­li­copter ser­vice.

The speed of the ser­vice is im­prov­ing out­comes and sav­ing lives, and it is used on av­er­age at least once ev­ery day.

It works in part­ner­ship with the North­ern Ire­land Am­bu­lance Ser­vice, which pro­vides the med­i­cal teams on board the he­li­copter.

One of the very first mis­sions of the ser­vice was to pro­vide emer­gency care for an 11-yearold boy from Co Down.

The child was in­jured in a farm ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent, and after be­ing treated at the site of the in­ci­dent was flown to Belfast in a frac­tion of the time it would have taken by road.

The speed of the ser­vice is sav­ing lives — it’s used on av­er­age at least once a day

Heart­felt trib­ute: from left, Su­san Eng­land, Jackie McKe­own,Siob­han McAr­dle, Pamela John­ston, Claire Nicholl and Chris­tine Tay­lor with the cook­book they cre­ated in mem­ory of John Hinds (below)

Life­saver: the air am­bu­lance tak­ingoff from its base

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