Leigh Curtis, Executive Director of Service Delivery for Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS), has been recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021 and awarded an MBE for his work over 14 years to improve the service, particularly during the 2020 Covid-19 restrictions.
Curtis joined KSS in 2007 and has led on multiple initiatives, including collaborating with the Service for Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV) to enable blood to be carried onboard KSS helicopters – the first HEMS outside of London to do so – for patients to receive blood transfusions at the scene and adding a night-capable aircraft to KSS, making KSS the first 24/7 HEMS in the UK. As a result, KSS was the first HEMS rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission in March 2020 in all five key inspection lines: safe, effective, caring, responsive, and well-led.
Love in the time of Covid
Curtis also adapted the KSS service for operations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to operate safely 24/7 despite the increase in staff absences with team members needing to self-isolate.
Curtis commented: “I am deeply grateful to receive this Honour on behalf of KSS for services to the Air Ambulance Service, particularly during Covid-19. I very much see this as an achievement for KSS as a whole.
“Over the past year, we have all faced an unprecedented challenge, and I am immensely proud that we have not only continued to deliver our life-saving service 24/7 throughout but we have also extended our service. We have continued our focus on pushing boundaries and setting new standards in life-saving pre-hospital emergency care through our research and collaborations, taking further steps towards realizing our vision of an end to preventable loss of life from medical emergency.”
The Queen’s Birthday Honours celebrate outstanding individuals across the UK, with the 2021 list focusing on achievements made in the face of Covid-19. In the 2020 Queen’s New Year Honours list, Phil Cowburn, Critical Care Doctor for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, was also awarded with an MBE for his service transporting 35 critically-ill patients over a four-week period.