GWAAC appoints new Medical Leadership Team

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) welcomes Dr Andy Lockyer and Dr Andrew Heavyside as Medical Director and Assistant Medical Director respectively.

The Consultant Doctors have been an integral part of GWAAC’s Critical Care Team for a number of years and are highly thought of by peers and colleagues across the charity.

Following a rigorous selection process, Dr Lockyer and Dr Heavyside started their new leadership roles on 1 July 2023. Both Doctors will continue working shifts as Critical Care Doctors for GWAAC.

New Medical Director, Dr Andy Lockyer

Dr Lockyer joined GWAAC in 2016 when he started his pre-hospital emergency medicine (PHEM) training. He qualified as a Critical Care Doctor in 2017 and achieved the Fellowship in Immediate Medical Care in 2019.

He has been a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Bristol Royal Infirmary since 2018, where he is the Clinical Lead for major incident planning, public health, major trauma, education, and global health. He is also the BRI’s Global Emergency Medicine Program’s lead consultant, for which he won their 2023 Unsung Hero award, and a Trustee of the related international medical charity.

Prior to his appointment as Medical Director at GWAAC, Dr Lockyer among other activities completed several fundraising challenges, organised a Women in PHEM event to encourage female Doctors to consider this career path, and was Blood Transfusion Clinical Governance Lead for three years.

Dr Andy Lockyer, Medical Director, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity said:

“It will be a great honour to serve GWAAC going forward. The organisation has seen a few challenges over the years including the move to our current airbase and the pandemic. I can see a real opportunity to progress the medical team. We have an incredibly talented team of people; I want to harness this as best as possible so we remain a cutting-edge critical care service, with all the latest developments that we can provide.”

New Assistant Medical Director, Dr Andrew Heavyside

Dr Heavyside completed his PHEM training with GWAAC in 2019 and 2020. He continued clinical shifts into 2021 and rejoined the team as a Consultant in 2022. He achieved the Fellowship in Immediate Medical Care in 2021 and is a Level 8 Practitioner.

Through the pandemic Andrew took on many extra shifts with GWAAC, ensuring the charity didn’t have any uncovered shifts. He threw himself into all the GWAAC activities that those times allowed and took on the role of Pre-Hospital Emergency Anaesthesia Lead at GWAAC earlier this year.

Andrew currently works as a Consultant Anaesthetist at Southampton where he has a varied job plan. He also works Trauma Team Leader shifts at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.

Dr Heavyside has previously served in the Navy and has lots of experience in small charities and fundraising; he is Chair of Trustees at BRAVO Medics as well as a Volunteer Responder for the service.

Dr Heavyside, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity said:

“Ever since starting at GWAAC, I realised what an exceptional unit it is and that it’s filled with exceptional people. The idea of being part of the leadership team and moulding its future is exciting.” 

Dr Lockyer says:

“Andrew has already been a great asset at GWAAC since his arrival as a Critical Care Doctor, and I’m delighted he will be part of a new medical leadership team going forwards. He brings a huge amount of expertise and energy to help support the medical team in its future progress.”

Keeping GWAAC at the forefront of pre-hospital emergency medicine

GWAAC was formed in 2007 and is the youngest air ambulance in England and Wales. Over the last 16 years, the charity has seen many clinical advances, and operations have increased year on year, meaning the management has become more complex and challenging, developing the need for increased management capacity and expertise.

“We are a small but expert team, doing what we can with charitable funding, and the demands on our clinical crew have never been greater. The previous Medical Director and Deputy Medical Director did an amazing job and I’m delighted and thrilled that the reins have been handed over to Dr Andy Lockyer and Dr Andrew Heavyside.

Andy and Andrew have the passion, drive, and experience to keep GWAAC at the forefront of pre-hospital emergency medicine, which will make a real difference to lives in our community.”

Anna Perry, Chief Executive Officer, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

GWAAC would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr Lockyer and Dr Heavyside on their new leadership roles.