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International Women’s Day at WAA

To mark International Women’s Day, Wales Air Ambulance is taking the opportunity to celebrate the WAA Women who help to run the lifesaving charity.

March 8 is a day marked to raise awareness for the economic, political and social achievements of women across the world.

To honour the day, profiles of Wales Air Ambulance women will be shared – thanking them for their work, whether that is saving lives or raising funds.

Angela Hughes, Wales Air Ambulance chief executive, said: “Women play a huge role in helping to keep our helicopters flying, with 58% of WAA fundraising and retail staff being female.

“The third sector is a female dominated workforce, but throughout the industry often we find that women tend to occupy the positions at the lower end of the pay grade.

“At Wales Air Ambulance, we work hard to empower the women who work for us, and because of this, two thirds of our management roles are occupied by women.

“We are currently recruiting two more female trustees to ensure we maintain diversity on our board.

“Our WAA Women do a fantastic job in helping to the raise the £6.5 million needed every year to fund our operations, helping to save lives across Wales - which certainly deserves to be celebrated on International Women’s Day.”

As well as the fundraising side of WAA’s operations, the charity is also using International Women’s Day to celebrate the work of the female medical staff, who fly on board their helicopters.

Although women make up the majority of employees in the third sector and the majority of the workforce in WAA’s fundraising and retail team, women still are very underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine – otherwise known as STEMM.

Dr Ami Jones is one of the doctors that flies on board Wales Air Ambulance’s South Wales aircraft, helping to save lives across Wales.

Ami said: “Although many anaesthetists are female, for the vast majority of my job I work in a predominantly male world.

“I am one of 2 female doctors in our air ambulance service, with the other 23 doctors being men. I am also one of a minority of female senior officers in the army reserve.

“I am quite a petite female so do not have the physical presence that perhaps my male colleagues have, but I definitely make up for this with my clinical expertise and straight talking.

“I am the clinical lead consultant for our South Wales base and also the Officer in Command for my army detachment, so for a large proportion of the time I am in charge of most of my male colleagues.”

She joined the crew in April 2015, when consultant-level doctors joined the services, bringing new, pioneering pre-hospital care techniques with them.

When she is not working on board the charity’s helicopter, Ami works as a consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) and a major in the army reserves, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan on the military pre-hospital service. 

On board Wales Air Ambulance Dr Ami Jones can fly the A&E department to the patient, completing surgical procedures and blood transfusions at the roadside.

“I think I’m very privileged to be able to provide lifesaving care and treatment to patients when they are at their most sick and vulnerable.

“As I get to treat the patient so early in their injury or illness I can also potentially make the biggest impact on how well they do throughout their whole hospital journey.

“If I’m called to a severely injured patient involved in a car crash, I’m able to give them an anaesthetic, perform chest surgery and give them a blood transfusion.

“This means that I can not only save their life and take them to the exact hospital care they need, but receiving this hospital level care at the roadside gives them a better chance as spending less time in hospital and getting home to their loved ones more quickly and in a better clinical condition.”

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