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MBE for innovative Army doctor whose projects broke new ground during pandemic

The ‘extraordinary personal contribution to the COVID-19 response’ by British Army Doctor Major Andrew Buckley, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, is being recognised with the awarding of an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021.

Major Andrew Buckley, of Tunbridge Wells, is being recognised for developing two unprecedented innovation projects in support of the NHS, whilst an Innovation Fellow in jHubMed, the Army's Strategic Command's medical innovation unit.

On learning of his award Major Buckley, a Regular Army officer, said he found it ‘absolutely overwhelming’. “I’d never even begun to consider myself as someone deserving of such a prestigious award. I was just absolutely thrilled to have been so empowered by and lucky to work in such unbelievable teams throughout the pandemic,” he said.

Under the most extraordinary pressures, in not one but two, unprecedented innovation projects, he has shown great vision, leadership, drive, and brilliance.” Major Buckley's citation

Major Buckley, currently a Medical Officer in Specialist Training Secondary Health Care for the Sandhurst-based Army Medical Directorate, is also training to be a Doctor in Intensive Care and Acute Medicine at West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth, West London.

He said: “jHubMed is a fantastic organisation, focussed on delivering the right high-tech solution to serving personnel on the front line, at pace.  Its parent organisation, jHub, was born out of a recognition that the military is well optimised for improving what’s already there, while considering how something might be done differently.

“It aims to make time, money and expertise available to enable rapid piloting of novel solutions, and if they work, to have extremely high-level leadership to drive those changes through into routine military ways of working. It’s a fabulous concept.”

Major Buckley, is married to Olivia and has two children, two-year-old Hugo and three-month-old Alfie. He has also just been given his Long Service and Good Conduct medal, having joined the Army in 2005 whilst at medical school.

Speaking of the projects that he worked on, he said: “We felt that at the outset of the pandemic, many wonderfully resourceful companies were working hard using the tools available to them to understand the pandemic; how it was spreading, how human behaviour was impacting that. There were so many great ideas, that there was a risk of fragmentation of the information they could provide into many silos.

“At the same time, government was being approached with staggering numbers of offers for support, particularly from the academic domains. We envisaged a place where we could bring these wonderful groups and their data together, a sort of digital OASIS, to help provide the NHS with a clearer picture,” he said.

After his first couple of years as a doctor, he undertook the routine military medical training for six months, after which he was posted to Germany as a regimental doctor for two years. He says it was the hospital and emergency side of life he found most interesting, ‘combined with the puzzles you get with medicine’.

“As a result,” he says, “I specialise in both Intensive Care and Acute Medicine. My experience with Intensive Care and understanding of life support put me in a great position to be able to support one of the ventilator challenge projects.”

Major Buckley deployed on HERRICK 16 to Afghanistan, and his citation states: “His personal contribution to the response was extraordinary: conceiving and delivering an ambitious data coherence project to support the NHS at the same time as providing embedded clinical insight to support a highly novel commercial ventilator programme.

“Under the most extraordinary pressures, in not one but two, unprecedented innovation projects, he has shown great vision, leadership, drive, and brilliance.”