Great Western Air Ambulance Charity appoints Tim Ross-Smith in new Operations Officer role

On 2 October 2023, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) appointed Tim Ross-Smith to a brand-new role that was created in collaboration with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASfT).

As GWAAC’s Operations Officer, Tim is line-managing the Advanced Practitioners and Specialist Paramedics in Critical Care. He will be leading on the operational, rather than the clinical side, of the crew’s work.

Anna Perry, GWAAC’s CEO, said: “The GWAAC crew have an incredibly difficult job to do, and it is imperative that they have excellent management and leadership support to help them be the best they can be and to cope with the challenges. So, when it came to recruiting a new manager for our Specialist Paramedics this year, we broke with tradition and worked with SWASFT to appoint a professional operations manager with a strong history of managing and leading teams, rather than a clinical leader. We were able to do this because we already have excellent clinical leaders in our other roles – our Advanced Practitioner and our Medical Director.”

Tim is responsible for the crew’s welfare and making sure they stay up to date with training and appraisals. He is also responsible, along with GWAAC’s Operations Manager Sean Coles, for the day-to-day running of the airbase; he’ll be making sure the crew has all the medication and kit they need, and that the cars have been serviced. Last, but not least, he is the primary point of contact at the airbase for the charity staff.

GWAAC believes it is the first air ambulance charity in the South West to have worked with SWASfT to create a role focused solely on the operational leadership of the crew. Anna said, “We are delighted to have Tim on board. He is a longstanding professional Operations Officer within SWASFT and already knows most of the crew well from working with them at incidents.”

Tim Joined Avon Ambulance in the Patient Transport Control Room in 2004 and worked his way up to Operations Officer at South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust in 2016. His move to GWAAC in 2023 seemed a natural progression:

“Having worked alongside the team at critical incidents, it was the team ethos and the way they worked together that impressed me and I thought I could bring my skills from both an incident management and line management perspective and have a positive impact on the team here. The new challenge for me is working with a charity but a new challenge is always good. I’m excited to be part of such a well-known and respected team and brand.”
Tim Ross-Smith, Operations Officer, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

GWAAC wants to wish Tim every success in his new role.