Phil is part of the GWAAC Critical Care Team who remained operational throughout 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, Phil collaborated with a wider team to help relieve pressure on the region’s hospitals by setting up the South West Critical Care Transfer Service – the first of its kind in England. Over a four-week period, the service transported 35 critically-ill patients between intensive care hospitals and has since won an award in The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care category of the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2020.
Dr Cowburn, who is also Acute Care Medical Director for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, appeared alongside hundreds of unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic in the New Year Honours list for 2021, which recognises the outstanding achievements of people in the UK.
Dr Cowburn said: “I am truly humbled by this recognition. To me this is not really a personal accolade, it is a celebration of the great teams I work with. None of the great achievements could have succeeded without the superb group of colleagues I have the pleasure of working alongside.
“The passion and enthusiasm to deliver excellent patient care is so embedded within GWAAC and SWASFT; particularly the Critical Care Teams and Hazardous Area Response Teams. The progress made in improving paramedic practice within this region is exemplary.
“This year has put immense pressures on the entire NHS. However, the collaboration between colleagues in the air ambulances, NHS ambulance service and hospitals has maintained high quality care and developed services that will continue for the future. Working together we can achieve so much.”
Dr Phil Cowburn has been involved in pre-hospital care for over 20 years, completing his emergency medicine training here in the South West. Phil was fundamental in setting up the local air ambulance charity in 2007, where he joined Professor Jonathan Benger, Founding Clinical Director, Trustee and Critical Care Doctor for GWAAC, to begin delivering the critical care service to those in need across the region. In 2012, he became the Medical Director of GWAAC for two years, and continues today to be a member of the Critical Care Team who were called to over 2,000 patients across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire in 2019 alone.