Tamar’s Rhiann shines in RN awards recognising our finest medical and healthcare professionals

Topic: PeopleHonours and awards Storyline: HMS Tamar

Medics who provided vital welfare and care during last year’s carrier group deployment and paved the way for patrol ship operations around the world were among those honoured at the RN’s Healthcare and Medical awards.

Following a symposium at RNAS Yeovilton, medals and trophies were presented to individuals and teams whose efforts went above and beyond what might be expected of them to maintain – or generally improve medical provision at sea or on establishments across the Service.

Leading Medical Assistant Rhiann Dilmore received the Medical Director General (Navy) Award from Surgeon Commodore Fleur Marshall for her outstanding efforts aboard HMS Tamar.

Rhiann was one of the patrol ship’s first crew, bringing the ship – and her sick bay – to life through trials, training and finally deployment to the Indo-Pacific.

Shipmates used words such as “exceptional”, “phenomenal” and “exemplary” to describe her performance on the River-class vessel. She not only helped ensure Tamar became the quickest-generated ship since World War Two, but changed the way first aid is delivered in an emergency – changes which have since been introduced throughout the five-ship class of patrol vessels.

She also stepped in to help sister ship HMS Medway when they were short of a Medic, helped reorganise its sick bay along Tamar’s lines… while making sure everything on Tamar was up to scratch.

And just for good measure, her citation named her not just as an outstanding RN Medic – but the “number one able seaman across 148 in the Offshore Patrol Squadron”.

The Medical Director General (Navy) Award was, says Rhiann – now serving at RNAS Yeovilton, “a real privilege”.

She continued: “It reflects the work that has gone into generating a new class of ship and was an exciting opportunity to put my own stamp on her medical capability.

“It goes without saying that this wasn’t a solo effort and I am grateful to all who helped me deliver her medical department to the Fleet.

“This was the most challenging and turbulent experience of my naval career to date, but one that has given me the confidence and competence to undertake any role that comes my way. Mahalo! [Hawaiian for thank you].”

Petty Officer (Naval Nurse) Karen Scott, serving at Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (Operational) in Birmingham, was awarded the Ruth Carter prize for her “notable and long-lasting contribution to nursing and patient care”.

She came to the fore during the evacuation of Afghanistan in August 2021 (Operation Pitting).

With hundreds of children among those being flown out of Kabul, the rapid evacuation underlined the need for military nurses to be trained in paediatric care.

PO Scott drew up a package to provide that training. So good is the five-day course she put together that it is being used across the MOD, replacing the existing instructions drawn up during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, with critical care, ward and operating theatre staff all among those benefiting.

“The award came as a great shock – I’m very humbled considering the calibre of nurses I work with,” Karen said. “The award reflects the team effort in achieving all we have with the paediatric course – I couldn’t have achieved all we have done without the combined efforts of all involved.”

Medical Services Officer Lieutenant Commander Lindsy Robinson was presented with the Reed Sword for her work to create a logistical hub for Maritime Deployed Hospital Group in Devonport to be used when the facilities are not needed.

Building M066 in the base is now ‘owned’ by the hospital group, allowing it to safely and easily store the kit and caboodle of a Role 2 Afloat or the Maritime Role 3 Deployed Hospital Capability modules to be stored when a ship is in refit, or needed for other duties.

There were other award winners who couldn’t make it to the evening.

A regular face in HMS Nelson in Portsmouth, Surgeon Commander Alan Bowie received the Alan Hirst Memorial Prize for his work at its medical centre for nearly four years, not least dealing with a pandemic while ensuring Portsmouth-based ships and their sailors remained operational.

He was central to preparing crews for last year’s Carrier Strike Group mission (Operation Fortis), was deployed operationally at short notice to sea and abroad on several occasions, never shirking his duty, leading and inspiring by example, despite the personal and family impact that this may have had.

And continuing the Fortis theme, the eight-strong Carrier Strike Group ‘forward mental health team’ earned the Kennedy Award for innovation.

The eight provided mental health support, guidance and help throughout the deployment, focusing on promotion, prevention, detection and treatment.

In all, 82 patients were assessed by the team, with 63 found to be requiring treatment. Of those requiring treatment, some 229 sessions were delivered with almost half of patients completing their treatment during the deployment, which meant they didn’t have to be sent back to the UK, thus affecting the operational capability of the deployment.

Another Fortis recipient is Petty Officer (Medical Assistant) Andrew Addison of HMS Defender, one of the carrier’s guardians, winner of the Sick Berth Petty Officers’ Efficiency Medal.

Described as “an extremely capable practice manager and a devoted clinician” who struck “an excellent balance of teacher, manager and clinician”, PO Addison stepped up in the absence of a medical officer, and his foresight meant that his destroyer was the only ship on the deployment to not require the resupply of PPE or lateral flow tests despite two substantial Covid outbreaks.