UK-Med medics recognised in King’s New Years Honours for services to Ukraine and Covid-19

Emergency Medicine Consultant Paul Ransom is pictured here at Nork hospital with one of his patients, Miquel, who is 63.

We are delighted to announce that two of our dedicated medics have today been named in the King’s New Years Honours for their services to UK health support overseas. Dr Andy Kent and Dr Paul Ransom have been awarded OBEs for their humanitarian work particularly in Ukraine and during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Andy Kent OBE

Andy's professional career has been dedicated to the services of others. Professor Angus Watson, RCSEd

Dr Andy Kent is a consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon for NHS Highlands and a volunteer surgeon for our Emergency Medical Team (EMT), Surgical Lead for the UK-Med and volunteer Medical Advisor for the Halo Trust. He has been a volunteer surgeon on the on-call register for the EMT for over six years on top of his existing role at Raigmore Hospital. In this time, he has deployed to Ukraine, Lebanon and Eswatini to support humanitarian health crises in these countries.

In 2022, Andy was part of one the first international medical teams to enter Ukraine who travelled tirelessly across towns and cities to visit hospitals, shelters and centres to identify the urgent health needs. Over 25 days, he assessed hospitals and health facilities in Vinnitsyia, Zhytomyr, Bila Tservka, Kremenchuk, Poltava and Dnipro. Andy and UK-Med were one of the first NGOs able to access Ukraine, their determination and bravery to access health facilities in areas of hostilities demonstrated to other organisations that it was possible; leading to large scale humanitarian operations.

On a second mission, he volunteered again for 6 weeks to meet the intense demand for specialist orthoplastic surgical care in frontline areas such as Dnipro where he embedded with the Ukrainian surgical team. UK-Med has received several urgent requests from hospitals who do not have the surgical experience or capacity to deal with complex wounds and trauma. Andy shared his extensive experience and knowledge of working in war zones such as Iraq and has been working alongside fellow Ukrainian surgeons to carry out surgery on those injured in the conflict.

Andy’s role as Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh meant he was able to play an instrumental role in offering College membership for all trainee surgeons in Ukraine who have been deployed to the frontline to give them access to free training and support.

Eswatini  – supporting a health system overwhelmed by COVID-19

Following a request to help from the World Health Organisation, Andy led a team of 11 medics in Eswatini as part of the UK’s international response to control the virus and save lives. Eswatini experienced a huge surge in Covid-19 cases and an alarmingly high death rate, with four ministers, including Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini, dying from the virus. The country’s health system was overwhelmed, and oxygen supplies were in short supply. Staff were exhausted following the second wave. Following an observation period, Andy with his team developed and delivered training to exhausted staff on patient care, wearing PPE and infection prevention control. Equipment was fixed and a plan developed to achieve sustainable oxygen capacity across the hospital. This support was developed to a national level, saving lives and ensuring the health system could cope with the pandemic.

Lebanon – supporting the COVID-19 response following the Beirut explosion

In August 2020, Andy volunteered for 10 days to be part of a Health Assessment Team to provide immediate “on the ground” medical needs health assessment following the Beirut blast which caused over 200 deaths and 7000 injuries. The team were on the ground within hours of the explosion. He supported the country’s COVID-19 response as cases rocketed, rising by 180%, following the explosion.

Hospitals were overwhelmed, forced to absorb additional COVID-19 patients from the damaged hospitals. And with limited PPE available, staff were petrified of catching COVID-19 and taking it home to their loved ones. Andy and the team got straight to work; working shoulder to shoulder with the local staff, treating patients, taking some of the load off and helping find solutions that would improve systems and ease the pressure.

Paul is highly revered by his peers and one of the reasons why I chose him to lead our Emergency Medicine work at UK-Med. Dr Ram Vadi, Health Director

Dr Paul Ransom OBE

Emergency Medicine Consultant Paul Ransom is pictured here at Nork hospital with one of his patients, Miquel, who is 63.
Emergency Medicine Consultant Paul Ransom is pictured here at Nork hospital with one of his patients, Miquel, who is 63.

Dr Paul Alan Ransom is a volunteer for the UK’s Emergency Medical Team, UK-Med volunteer and NHS Emergency Consultant Emergency Medicine (Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals).

Paul has dedicated his career and voluntary service to emergency medicine. In 2017 he built on his previous voluntary work with the Halo Trust to join the UK EMT register, volunteering to be on call to respond to crises when they happen. He has been instrumental in improving the delivery of emergency medicine and sharing his expertise in trauma care in five international responses including Ukraine, Romania and Moldova, Armenia, Bangladesh and Haiti.

In April, Paul joined the UK-Med team in Ukraine for 3 weeks and single-handedly set up an expansive training programme in response to urgent requests from emergency services and hospitals for mass casualty management and chemical biological radiological and nuclear training. He designed and delivered training for Ukrainian doctors, nurses and paramedics on the front lines of the conflict to give them the skills and knowledge to treat and manage conflict-related medical cases and prepare for imminent attacks. The difference this makes is lifesaving. Over 8000 medics have been trained and can now deal with trauma and war related injuries; meaning hospitals and medics can better deal with the scale of casualties. They are also better prepared to treat the impact of a chemical and biological attack.

What makes his voluntary service distinctive is the number of international responses he has contributed towards. In 5 years with the UK EMT he has responded as the Medical Coordinator following the Haiti earthquake and to Armenia and Bangladesh as a part of the UK’s response to save lives and control the Covid-19 virus. He also has extensive experience working in conflict and post-conflict affected countries, including Cambodia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Cote d’Ivoire, Palestine and Angola prior to joining the UKEMT.

In addition, Paul is a leading committee member on the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, contributing and influencing wider good practice in his specialist field. He has contributed significantly to the improvement of health care in emergency situations in various settings home and abroad. The impact to lives-saved is incalculable.

David Wightwick CEO says “I am delighted to hear that Andy Kent and Paul Ransom have each been awarded an OBE today. Both Any and Paul have frequently responded to international emergencies for UK-Med and other organisations such as WHO in some of the most challenging contexts. They bring not only superb medical skills and experience, but also invaluable leadership, strategic vision and sustained commitment to the most vulnerable people in humanitarian crises.”

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