2022 Winner

Professor Tony Redmond

Manchester medic has led the UK’s response to international humanitarian disasters for more than 30 years.

Professor Tony Redmond, 70,  founded UK-Med, which has deployed doctors around the world to deal with humanitarian disasters since 1988. He’s one of the world’s leading experts in disaster response, and set up field hospitals in west Africa during the Ebola crisis, in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake and the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Whilst working in Sarajevo, he was even shot at.

“I’ve had some very near misses,” he admits. 

His experience in disaster zones saw him appointed to help lead Manchester’s coronavirus fight as medical director of NHS Nightingale North West. “I never thought my experience dealing with outbreaks in developing countries would be required in my own home city,” says Tony.

He was born in Failsworth, Manchester and qualified from medical scho​​ol in the city. He set up the South Manchester Accident Rescue Team in the late 1980s, a local unit to support the Ambulance Service. Their expertise was soon in demand further afield. 

In December 1988, he was asked to take a SMART team to Armenia to assist the recovery effort after a devastating earthquake. Tony saw first hand how inexperienced medical teams struggled to cope in challenging disaster conditions. “How can you prepare someone for the possibility of seeing thousands of bodies?” he said.

Days after returning, his team was dispatched to Lockerbie to help deal with the aftermath of the bombing. 

“In the space of one month I’d gone from being a local accident and emergency doctor to dealing with one of the biggest disasters of the 20th century and the worst terrorist attack on British soil. It changed my life.”

Tony realised that medics needed specialist training to cope in such extreme situations. That is why he set up UK-Med, a pioneering team of medics ready to save lives anywhere in the world. He has been at the forefront of international disaster relief ever since, leading teams in conflict and disaster zones across the world. 

UK-Med has been working in Ukraine since the outbreak of the recent conflict. They have established a system of mobile clinics to provide primary healthcare to those displaced from their homes by war, and have deployed specialist surgeons to frontline hospitals to help treat the severely wounded. They are also training the emergency services in mass casualty management and members of the public as “first responders”.

During the pandemic UK-Med sent specialist teams to over 20 countries to support their COVID response and is continuing its work in Yemen and Myanmar.

Colleague Louise Parnell says: “Tony thinks everyone in the world, no matter their background or situation deserves a good standard of medical care. He has put that belief in practice and his commitment and passion are inspirational.”