Air Ambulances UK has appointed Simmy Akhtar (above) as its new Chief Executive Officer, to lead the organisation supporting the UK’s air ambulance charities and wider air ambulance sector.
The appointment, effective from 1 March 2021, follows the successful merger of the former membership-based Association of Air Ambulances and the national charity Air Ambulances UK, which took place in January last year.
Simmy will build on the team’s great work in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing strong, dynamic vision and leadership and further building on the roll out of the strategy for the future. She will also be at the heart of the charity’s plans for increasing its fundraising income, ensuring the successful delivery of Membership Services and government lobbying with the team.
Simmy brings a wealth of experience to the CEO role. She was Chief Officer of Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent and Healthwatch Staffordshire, where she championed the patient voice to support positive change in health and social care to meet their needs. She worked on high-level strategic issues with two independent Boards of Trustees and led two staff teams.
Simmy has held roles in the NHS and local authority environments, following which she practiced as a solicitor in the private legal sector. She has held senior leadership roles in the charitable sector and is a former trustee of the Patients’ Association, where she sat on the Finance Committee.
Simmy said, “It is an honour to be appointed to this crucial role and to lead AAUK to further support the lifesaving work that the air ambulances do daily. Air ambulance charities have been incredibly proactive to adapt support during the current pandemic, which further demonstrates their unique position in providing pre-hospital care and supporting the health sector. This is an exciting new era for the organisation, and I am elated to be joining the team to build on the excellent work to date.”
Heather Benjamin, Chair of Air Ambulances UK, said, “I am delighted to be announcing the appointment of Simmy to join our team. Simmy brings a wealth of experience in many areas, including motivational leadership, strategy, governance, stakeholder engagement and income generation and we believe her professional experience and personal traits will support our important work going forward with all our stakeholders.”