The Central Management Team

The Central Management Team

The Central Management Team (CMT) supports the director to manage the day-to-day activities of NARU. The CMT comprises the Director (acting as Chair) and the three other Department Heads.

The CMT is also supported by Finance and Procurement Leads from the host Trust WMAS, as well as NARU’s own administration staff.

Director

Keith has over 36 years experience with the NHS Ambulance Service commencing his career as a cadet in 1981 with Greater Manchester Ambulance Service.  More recently he has been Director of Operations at West Midlands, Yorkshire, and Welsh Ambulance Services leading each of those services to high levels of emergency response performance whilst delivering real changes in service delivery for the benefit of patients. In 2011 Keith returned to West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS FT as Director of the National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU).

Keith leads NARU in its liaison with Government, NHS England, NHS Ambulance Trusts and stakeholders ensuring effective governance through the development and maintenance of an organisational strategy, an annual work plan and regular progress reports to stakeholders and commissioners. Under his leadership NARU has grown to become widely recognised as the leading organisation for national Ambulance Service emergency preparedness, resilience and response.

Keith is a HCPC registered Paramedic, a strategic level Commander and holds an MSc in management. Keith is married and has two daughters. In his spare time he is a committee member, team manager, coach and player with his local Charter Standard Community Football Club.

Keith was awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal in the 2021 New Year Honours list.

Head of Operations

Christian has extensive strategic management experience in the NHS, holding dual qualifications in clinical and legal practice.  As NARU’s Head of Operations he is responsible for maintaining the effectiveness of several specialist capabilities throughout England.  His portfolio includes standards, operations, planning and improvement.

Before joining the NHS he worked as News Editor for the Guardian Media Group.  He subsequently became a Broadcast Producer with placements in South Africa, New York and Los Angeles.  Christian joined the NHS in 1999 and spent 10 years delivering emergency care as an Ambulance Paramedic in Bristol becoming First Response Manager and then Divisional Commander.

He went on to develop his NHS management and commissioning experience working as Resilience Manager for the South West Strategic Health Authority.  He has successfully delivered a range a capital projects including a £5 million construction and the implementation of new NHS service lines, including the introduction of Hazardous Area Response Teams for which he received a Commendation.  He has managed NHS resources during a number of major incidents and in 2015 he was seconded by NHS England to support the Cross-Government Ebola Programme.

Christian is a national subject matter expert on emergency preparedness and ambulance operations.  He was recently instructed to act as national ambulance expert to the Manchester Arena Public Inquiry.   He has also undertaken extensive research into the legal duty of care for emergency responders and lectures on several national courses for the emergency services.

He lives in the Cotswolds with this wife and their two sons.  Christian also serves his local community as a Magistrate sitting on the Wiltshire Bench.

Head of Education

David is responsible for the NARU team that design and deliver a range of EPRR related educational modules, courses and exercises. David holds a plethora of academic qualifications in both education and disaster management and strives to ensure that the patient is the focus of every course. Building on his EPRR role in SECAmb, David was seconded to the Police National CBRN Centre with responsibility for the development of competency based multi-agency command training.

Key achievements include developing and implementing the National training and education for Hazardous Area Response Teams and planning national live exercises. David has developed and maintained close links with other service EPRR colleges and has established excellent International links, always sharing best practice and benchmarking NARU courses.  The Education Centre has won various awards and now holds the Skills for Health Quality Mark as a recognised NHS Education provider.

In 2013 David was decorated with the Queen’s Ambulance Medal for Distinguished Service and in 2014 David was the only Ambulance finalist in the Health Service Journal Rising Stars Category. Being a national role David spends many nights of the week away from home and he is grateful for the support of his family. Off duty David is keen on military history and is both Chairman and Parade Marshal for a branch of the Royal British Legion, which reflect on his 14 years military service.

Dr Phil Cowburn MBE BSc (Hons) MBChB FRCS FRCEM DipIMC

Head of Clinical

Phil is a consultant in Emergency Medicine working at both Acute Trusts in Bristol; Bristol Royal Infirmary and North Bristol NHS Trust, the regional Major Trauma Centre. He completed his Emergency Medicine accreditation in 2008 and has additional training in surgical specialities, anaesthesia and intensive care medicine.

He has been active in prehospital care since 2004 and was one of the founding members of Great Western Air Ambulance in 2007, becoming medical director for the service from 2011-2015. He remains clinically active with the team delivering prehospital critical care on the helicopter and response car.

He has held medical directorate roles within NHS Ambulance Trusts for over a decade and is currently the Acute Care Medical Director for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), providing clinical leadership to support enhanced and critical care within the Trust. This includes major trauma, resuscitation, Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART), Major Incident response plus advanced and specialist practice in critical care.

His ethos is to develop well-governed systems that provide seamless care for critically ill or injured patients from the point of first contact through to definitive care. To facilitate this he has a passion for advancing clinical practice in multidisciplinary teams believing this should be competency based practice, rather than defined by professional background. This has resulted in the creation of an extended clinical skills package for HART paramedics and innovation of specialist and advanced clinical practice for critical care practitioners in SWASFT.

He was appointed as Medical Advisor to the National Ambulance Resilience Unit in 2021 and is actively involved in clinical development and education with the team. His key areas of interest include clinical decision making in high stress environments, Major Incident management, particularly triage, prehospital emergency anaesthesia and Acute Behavioural Disturbance. In addition to these roles he provides clinical governance and medical advice to regional police specialist units and Fire Rescue Services, and is the civilian ambulance advisor to UK military prehospital care board.

He is an examiner for the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care (Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh) and maintains a strong educational commitment on a number of national and international courses.

Phil was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Years Honours list for services to Emergency Medicine and prehospital care. In his limited spare time he enjoys expanding his culinary prowess and foraging for wild food around his Gloucestershire home.

Read about the structure of NARU here.

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