Ex-Army doctor named as EMAS Medical Director

Dr Leon Roberts, Medical Director, East Midlands Ambulance Service.

An ex-Army doctor who regularly flies with one of the region’s 999 emergency helicopters has been appointed the most senior doctor at East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).

As the service’s new Medical Director, Dr Leon Roberts MBE, is responsible for maintaining and improving clinical standards of 999 care across 6425 square miles and six counties.

Well versed in being first at the scene of a medical emergency, Dr Roberts has flown weekly with the Derbyshire, Leicestershire Rutland Air Ambulance for the past seven years and was awarded the MBE in 2010 for his voluntary pre-hospital emergency care work and his military service with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

The 41-year-old served as an Army senior doctor, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, after studying medicine at Leeds University. His overseas tours of duty include Sierra Leone, Belize, Uganda, Kenya, Canada, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

As well as working as a critical care doctor with the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, Dr Roberts has worked as a GP in the Emergency Department at Leicester Royal Infirmary and as an urgent care doctor in Corby. He will continue to work as a GP associate at Oakham Medical Practice in Rutland.

Already a familiar face at EMAS, having also worked to support the senior leadership and provide clinical guidance for the past two years, he says he is relishing the chance to drive further improvements during a critical and exciting time.

“It is important to me that everybody delivering care at EMAS felt like they were doing it under a Medical Director who understood, who delivers care in similar circumstances and wouldn’t ask crews to do anything that he wouldn’t be prepared to do himself.

“The best care happens when different parts of the NHS work together, and I am keen to combine my primary care skills and knowledge with my pre-hospital and in-hospital experience to develop the most effective care pathways for patients,” said Dr Roberts.

“There are great opportunities to collaborate across the health and social care sector and I want EMAS to play a leading role, particularly where new technology can play a part in improving the way we assess and treat patients. I want to develop a culture where we develop things that work well but we are not afraid to look at things that haven’t gone well and we learn from them – lessons learned and professional development are both part of the same process.”

Dr Roberts previously worked with EMAS as an Assistant Medical Director and Strategic Medical Adviser and has supported the service’s Clinical Assessment Team in the Emergency Operations Centre to prioritise and offer the best and most appropriate care to patients dialling 999. He believes his experience of the local NHS from different perspectives will help as the NHS moves towards more effective and collaborative working, finding solutions to patient needs that use skills and expertise from across health and social care sectors.