Dumfries and Galloway Doctor Wins National Award

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CONGRATULATIONS are flooding in for DGRI’s Dr Freda Newlands, who was presented with a national award for her work by HRH the Prince of Wales (now HM the King) earlier this year. Dr Newland works at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in the Emergency Department and is the global citizenship lead for NHS DG. The formal Who Cares Wins award ceremony will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Sunday 27th November.

Dr Newlands recently spent two months in Ukraine with the frontline medical aid charity UK-Med, treating victims of the war. She has also helped treat trauma casualties on the Syrian border and helped tackle a deadly outbreak of diphtheria in Bangladesh, as well as working in Gaza and Bhutan. She has many years of experience in humanitarian emergency response, with UK-Med, Médecins Sans Frontières, Health Volunteers Overseas and Médecins du Monde. She was nominated for the award by UK-Med.

Dr Newlands says: “I went to Ukraine twice. The first time was in early March, mostly doing health needs assessments, finding out what UK-Med could do in the way of medical and surgical treatment for displaced persons. The Ukrainian medics were treating the injured in war areas, so we were backfilling for them, providing primary health care and treating the chronically unwell. We sent out a tented field hospital to a village near the eastern border where the hospital had been bombed – a couple of surgeons from Inverness have been out helping Ukrainian surgeons there.
“On the second trip I was helping set up mobile clinics in the east of country in May. We were treating things like hypertension, asthma – treating people who couldn’t get medication, displaced people, or elderly people who were very steadfast and who wanted to stay in their villages. It was very humbling to see these people who had been devastated, lost homes and families, and moved all the way across this huge country for safety.
“A lot of what I was doing wasn’t medicine, it was providing hugs and support – more as a person than as a doctor, and as a symbol that the rest of the world was there.
“Three of my colleagues from UK-Med were there at the ceremony to support me – they had nominated me and I didn’t know that until last night, it was an amazing feeling.”

She was presented with the award by HRH the Prince of Wales (now HM the King) on 7th September, in what turned out to be his last public engagement before the sad death of HM the Queen the next day.

Dr Newlands says: “I was told I was at Dumfries House to meet the other nominees – but it was just me there. I was ushered in to a room, asked to wait and then in came His Royal Highness – you should have seen my face, I was completely speechless. He gave me an envelope and I thought it was just the invitation to the ceremony but everyone said ‘open it, open it’ – so I opened the envelope and it was the notification of the award!
“He knew a lot about UK-Med’s work in Ukraine, and about Bangladesh. We talked about UK Med and the importance of vaccination programmes – he was very well informed about what I had done and UK Med’s work.”
Jeff Ace, Chief Executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said: “Anyone who knows and has worked with Freda in any capacity knows her passion and expertise in emergency humanitarian medicine helping those in need as a doctor.
“Freda deserves every recognition that this award brings, and on behalf of NHS Dumfries and Galloway we are immensely proud of her achievement and congratulate Freda on her well-deserved award.”