We are proud of our Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) team. Meet some of the women whose work saves lives in Devon and beyond.

Dr Sophia De Maria

Dr Sophia De MariaSophia is a Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine Consultant with Devon Air Ambulance and an Emergency Medicine Consultant at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. She has been working as a Pre-Hospital doctor in the UK since 2017 when she undertook the National PHEM Training Programme in the East of England for a year before passing the Fellowship exams in Edinburgh. Sophia has also spent the last 22 years serving in the British Army, and as well as deploying a few times over the years, is involved in developing small team trauma training for military medical personnel due to deploy to austere and remote environments.

The last 22 years have not been without their challenges, but anyone wanting to pursue a career in Pre-Hospital Medicine, her advice would be to start gaining experience early in your training. For example, Sophia spent many years working with the British Superbike Medical Team as a junior doctor and still works as part of the Formula 1 Medical team in the UAE. The military also presented many opportunities over the years to work in the Pre-Hospital environment.

Outside of work, Sophia has just started her Advanced Motorcycle Training and has taken up swimming with the aim of doing a Triathlon some day.

Kate Adlam - SPCC/Patient and Family Support Manager

I hope I can be a role model for my daughter and future generations to show that with determination, drive and hard workKate Adlam - SPCC/Patient and Family Support Manager you can follow your dreams and pursue the career that will make you happy. When I began my career, I was often in the minority in both age and gender, but this never stopped me and I still love my job. If you are even thinking maybe I could do this, just go for it! You won’t look back. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always provided challenge, adrenaline, camaraderie and a sense of pride in my work.

Kate's career in the ambulance service began in Berkshire in 1997 before moving back home to the Southwest in 2002. She was lucky enough to join Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance as a HEMS paramedic in 2003 and then transferred to Devon Air Ambulance in 2007, where she has remained and completed her Masters in Critical Care, Transfer and Retrieval. Kate now works as part of our Patient and Family Support team.

Dr Clare Bosanko

Dr Clare BosankoClare qualified from Birmingham University Medical School in 2001, and first became interested in prehospital care after completing a training course with the West Midlands CARE Team. After qualifying she volunteered as an observer, completed training and worked as a doctor with the team, and gained her Diploma in Immediate Medical Care in 2005.

She completed anaesthetic, orthopaedic, intensive care and emergency medicine training in Shrewsbury and Royal Stoke Hospitals, and joined Midlands Air Ambulance (MAA) in 2008 and worked as a prehospital doctor with them and West Midlands MERIT Team until 2015.

Clare completed a fellowship in paediatric retrieval with KIDS before moving to work as a consultant in Emergency Medicine at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and starting as a Critical Care Doctor with Devon Air Ambulance (DAA). She has held the position of governance lead at both MAA/MERIT and DAA, hosts a prehospital medicine podcast with Tim Nutbeam, her colleague at DAA, and is an examiner for the Diploma in Immediate Medical Care.

Clare has two children, now aged 18 and 16, and lives were her husband on the edge of Dartmoor. She is a volunteer responder for Devon BASICS.

Dr Lauren Weekes

Dr Lauren WeeksHi! I'm Lauren (BM FRCA PGCert (Safety & Simulation) DipIMC RCSEd), one of the critical care doctors with Devon Air Ambulance, and a consultant anaesthetist at University Hospitals Plymouth. 

I've taken a circuitous route to my current roles! I spent a lot of time observing prehospital clinicians in Hampshire when I was a junior doctor, then joining a BASICS scheme here in Devon. I became a responding doctor for BASICS Devon in 2010, attending incidents as a volunteer on behalf of the ambulance service. In 2018, I undertook a full-time HEMS doctor role with Warwickshire Northamptonshire Air Ambulance in Coventry. After this, I came back to Devon and started my consultant job in Plymouth, as well as my job here at DAAT. 

I have been extremely fortunate to have had excellent role models in my career. Prehospital medicine has a reputation as a male-dominated speciality and having mentors and supporters who have blazed a trail before you is phenomenally helpful. I feel strongly that for optimal team performance, we need diversity and psychological safety; by highlighting inequity where we find it, we can change the culture for future generations.

Rhiannon Darling, Operations Manager & Paramedic

Rhiannon Darling, Operations ManagerAfter qualifying as a Paramedic, I worked in the South East specialising in leadership. I now work for Devon Air Ambulance as a Paramedic and Operations Manager. Advice for other women who wish to work in pre-hospital care: Be authentic, your talents will fit into the right environment. Find mentors who embolden and inspire you, and make sure you share the opportunities you’ve had with others so that they can benefit too.

Cat McMorrow, Operations Manager & Advanced Prehospital Practitioner

My career in the ambulance service started nearly 16 years ago in central London.Cat McMorrow, Operations Manager & Advanced Prehospital Practitioner Since then, I’ve worked with some incredible teams and continue to be inspired by colleagues throughout the UK and further afield. 

It should be unremarkable that some of those people are women. However, whilst gender inequality continues to be a reality, these women should be celebrated for emboldening those who follow in their footsteps.

Dr Emily Foote, PHEM Fellow & EM trainee 

Dr Emily FootePHEM training and its requirements can be difficult to fit in around life. I have now been with DAAT for a year, and am piloting a new scheme where I am gaining regular PHEM experience and working towards the FIMC alongside my Emergency Medicine training.

I would encourage all women who want to work in PHEM to continue working hard towards your goals, but also to look at creating new, exciting and equitable ways of getting there! 

Dr Kate Sharpe

Kate qualified from Leeds Medical School in 2002 and completed training in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine in the South West region in 2013. She has been working in Pre-hospital Emergency Medicine for 16 years having initially started by working for Great Western Air Ambulance when it was first launched in Bristol in 2008. 

She spent a year doing Paediatric Intensive Care and Retrieval in Auckland in 2011-12 and was also a founder member of the Auckland HEMS Critical Care team whilst there. She was one of the first doctors to work with Devon Air Ambulance developing the Critical Care team in 2015-16 and became Clinical Governance Lead in 2020.

In 2018 she was appointed by the Royal Cornwall Hospital as a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Major Trauma to help set up the Major Trauma Consultant led service. She has truly trans-peninsula job plan that gives her a unique insight into the challenges of patients across our region and her clinical governance role helps to ensure that learning is disseminated from patients attended.

Kate has taught and examined critical care paramedics on the MSc in Pre-hospital Critical Care, Transfer and Retrieval at the University of Plymouth and has spoken at Medical School conferences about the development of PHEM Critical Care.

She feels extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to help develop critical care teams in PHEM and would actively encourage
more women into the speciality. Kate balances work with bringing up
her two sons aged 3 and 9, but still finds time to enjoy singing in a choir and yacht racing with Royal Western Yacht Club as a foredecker on a J109.

Inspired to become a HEMS professional? Find out more about our education, outreach and conferences on our Devon Air Ambulance Trading Company pages.