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2021 Rising Star Interview with Alfie Daly

A conversation between Alphalake Ai's Founder & CEO, Olly Cogan, and recipient of the Rising Star Award, Alfie Daly.

On the 17th of September 2021, Alphalake Ai's Founder and CEO, Olly Cogan, had the honour of giving out the Rising Star award to Alfie Daly at Vox Conference Venue in Birmingham.


The Rising Star Award provides the opportunity to demonstrate firsthand how lives are saved and families reunited thanks to individuals going above and beyond the call of duty. This charity has had a significant impact on our society, and the evening honoured courage, creativity, compassion, and the fundamental spirit of human endeavour.


Alphalake Ai is proud to be the sponsor for the Rising Star award for The Air Ambulance Service's Annual Showcase & Awards evening for 2021. We would also like to give our warmest congratulations to all award winners, nominees, presenters, and the events staff for putting on such a fantastic event!


In a one-to-one interview with Olly Cogan, Alfie Daly talks about his career in emergency care and the day-to-day operations in his current role as the Air Ambulance Operations Manager for the Children's Air Ambulance. 





OLLY COGAN: A warm congratulations from myself and the team at Alphalake for being awarded the Rising Star Award for The Air Ambulance Service. It was an honour to play a very small part in awarding that to you on the night. It was a great evening put on by Andy and the team. Well done, again.


ALFIE DALY: Thank you very much.


OLLY COGAN: Is there anything specific to why you are awarded the Rising Star Award or any work you do across the organisation?


ALFIE DALY: I am the Air Ambulance Operations Manager for The Children's Air Ambulance. We have two helicopters one based in Oxford and one based in Doncaster. We also have an air desk team based in Coventry. We are different from most Air Ambulance services that you've seen or heard of; they are what you call HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service). They respond to emergencies.


But we work with eleven clinical partner teams across England as specialist teams in neonatal and paediatric transfers. We do inter-hospital transfers by going to a hospital along with our clinical partners' teams, stabilising the patient and transferring them to a specialist hospital. 


I've been with the service now since November last year, so overall, not very long. Prior to joining the charity, I worked for the NHS in Urgent and Emergency Care. I oversaw seven treatment centres, primarily managing the day-to-day operations.


I've taken a big jump in aviation; I'm used to the clinical aspect. Being mixed with aviation and clinical is a bit of a minefield, but I absolutely love it. I think this is one of the best positions I've ever been in.


OLLY COGAN: And bringing all of that experience into one role, really, and adding to it from an aviation perspective. It sounds like a great role, and you're doing some great work. 


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OLLY COGAN: In terms of the numbers, how many flights are there per month or per year? Could you perhaps tell us the scale of what you're doing?


ALFIE DALY: ​​It does really vary. On average, it is four a week. Now, that may not sound like many but obviously, bear in mind that the majority take 6-7 hours per mission. They're out for the entire day. Also, bear in mind as well that it can take longer. We can be looking at 8-9 hours. For a lot of our teams, when they call us, we are the last resort and they really do need help to get where they need to go. The weather can also be against us. Because we do fly long distances, the pilots will always plan that journey, and if there is any bad weather along the route, they will do the best they can to avoid it.


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OLLY COGAN: In terms of the teams that are working with the NHS, are all of those 11 separate organisations to the NHS or is it within the NHS? Are some of them independent?


ALFIE DALY: They are all NHS teams. Some of them, for example, STRS (South Thames Retrieval Service), so they're based at the Evelina Hospital. What they'll be doing on a daily basis is working at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, but they have a small core team, and when they get a phone call, they may call them. So, for example, the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, they may call up and say, "we've got a very sick child".

They'll try to give them some advice over the phone on how to try to stabilise the patient. But then, at the same time, you may get one of the consultants, and they say, "we'll have to go and get this child and bring them here". So, they'll select people from the unit who are trained to do retrievals. Then they'll hand their patients over, go down, get into an ambulance and head to Margate Hospital.

However, we have different teams that work differently. So, in EMBRACE, in Yorkshire, they're based in a completely different environment where they do retrievals day-in-day-out and cover a much larger area. They're very similar to an ambulance station, where they have all the equipment. They have ambulances there, and they give clinical advice over the phone and go out to retrieve patients as and when needed.


OLLY COGAN: One thing I'm getting from this conversation is that an absolute prerequisite for the role is a good sense of UK geography. You need to know your Yorkshire's from your Margate's. You must have a very good sense of where various places are and learn that map very well that's behind you, Alfie.


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OLLY COGAN:  Thanks for your time Alfie. Congratulations on getting recognised, and I'm happy to be a part of helping support that. Enjoy the rest of the year, and we'll catch up maybe at some point in the future!


ALFIE DALY: Definitely, thank you very much. Have a good day and speak to you soon!



At Alphalake Ai, we continue to capture the essence of our #RiseoftheHumans ethos as automation has, throughout history, connected us, advanced us and ultimately elevated us. Healthcare is no different.


It was a great opportunity to sponsor The Air Ambulance Service's Rising Star award. To showcase the work that is done to save the lives of thousands of people in rapid response emergencies and transporting children in critical need between the UK's children's hospitals gives us great pride.


If you'd like to see our involvement and further contributions to the healthcare industry, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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