North East doctor who led pioneering life saving project speaks of delight as she is awarded OBE by the Queen

A photo shared by the Great North Air Ambulance as it celebrated the presentation of an OBE to medic Rachel Hawes.
A photo shared by the Great North Air Ambulance as it celebrated the presentation of an OBE to medic Rachel Hawes.

A doctor who has put the expertise she learned from her time in the Army into saving the lives of people across the North East has been awarded the OBE.

Bosses at the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA) charity say they are "hugely proud" of Rachel Hawes after she was presented the title in the New Year's Honours.

The Great North Air Ambulance worked alongside Northumbria Blood Bikes and Blood Bikes Cumbria to introduce blood and plasma transfusions for critically ill patients across the region.

The Great North Air Ambulance worked alongside Northumbria Blood Bikes and Blood Bikes Cumbria to introduce blood and plasma transfusions for critically ill patients across the region.

She is a Consultant in pre-hospital medicine and anaesthetist at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

She is also an Army Reservist with 201 Northern Field Hospital and oversaw the life-saving initiative ‘Blood on Board’ in collaboration with the GNAA, Northumbria Blood Bikes and Blood Bikes Cumbria, introducing blood and plasma transfusions for critically ill patients across the region.

She said: "I was shocked but delighted and honoured to be nominated for the award, which I had no idea was happening.

"I had received a missed call on my mobile phone on Boxing Day from a Brigadier asking me to call back urgently and I assumed that I was being mobilised somewhere at short notice bearing in mind recent incidents and the timing of the call.

"This was a bit of a concern as I’d not long since had a baby.

"When I called back and he said I’d been awarded an OBE, would I accept, I couldn’t quite believe it!

"I was nominated for the OBE for the work I’ve undertaken in transferring lessons learned from my military experiences in Afghanistan in my role as an Army Reservist with 201 Field Hospital to the NHS in the North East and Cumbria for the benefit of the wider community which has saved countless lives.

"This has included developing new services such as carrying blood and plasma on our regional air ambulances, the Great North Air Ambulance so that life saving transfusions can be delivered at the scene of an accident and improving and resulted in nine patients surviving unexpectedly in the first year.

"Also improving the hospital treatment of major haemorrhage patients by adapting major haemorrhage protocols and extensive training and interventions aimed at making the crisis management of high risk bleeding patients more effective and improving outcome.

"These new protocols and technology have not only been used in a trauma setting but in a wide variety of bleeding patients from maternity to Gastrointestinal bleeding, for example severely bleeding ulcers.

"The most important thing to say is that I didn’t work alone but worked with a fantastic team of people who are all experts in their own area from Dr Jonathan Wallis, Consultant Haematologist, Yvonne Scott, transfusion lab manager, and her team, and Northumbria and Cumbria Blood Bikes who deliver our blood on a daily basis.

"Without the endless support and hard work from the countless people who have contributed, these projects just wouldn’t have been possible and it is those people who really do deserve the credit."

More about Dr Hawes' work with the GNAA can be found by clicking here.