Black Pear Engineer Receives Ambulance Service Award

Black Pear is proud to announce one of our team has been recognised for his work volunteering as a community first responder. Alongside his role as our chief technology officer, Dunmail Hodkinson has been doing incredible work helping out paramedics in his spare time. A third of our team has direct experience in the medical sector and we believe this is central to ensuring that clinicians and patients are front and centre of everything we do.

Dunmail was one of 81 volunteers singled out for their service to the North East Ambulance Service as part of the NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations this summer. Talking about how his volunteering affects his work with Black Pear, Dunmail said:

“It is really easy to come up with great plans sitting at a computer, but that will often be useless in the real world. I remember being called out to a patient in a nursing home with a paramedic. While he was dealing with the patient he asked me to quickly tell him all the relevant bits of information from the medical history. They had a printout of the GP record and I was flicking through it trying to find the right part – but it was buried on page five. This sort of thing makes a real difference on the ground. We produce these sorts of records now, but when we do it we have direct experience with patients and clinicians.

“Because a good proportion of us at Black Pear have had patient contact we tend to know fairly quickly which ideas are great and work and which are bad. My volunteering also means a number of my friends are people who are paramedics. This is great because if I’m unsure I can call them and say: ‘Is this a good plan?’ It means when our products are tested by clinicians, we tend to get it right first time.”

Dunmail started volunteering as a community first responder in 2010, around the same time he joined Black Pear, and he has since gone on to become a Heartstart instructor too.

His role means he can be on call for 50 hours a week, which is something the company supports. Dunmail said:

“There have been situations where I have been in a meeting, the phone has gone, and I’ve had to apologise and head out with the paramedics. But Black Pear caters for this. It’s kind of understood that if you want to work on a health system, you need to really understand the daily challenges. It’s one thing to come up with abstract ideas to help someone with dementia , with diabetes, with heart disease – but it’s very different when you’re with a real person who has these illnesses.

“My volunteering means I can immediately help a patient, but then I can go back to Black Pear and use that experience to help improve the wider structures for the future. Everything we do is geared towards that. Ultimately it’s not about the business or IT – it’s about helping people. The business and technology is just a stepping stone to get you there and provide that help.”