Yeovil Hospital ED Consultant and clinical lead Dr Stevan Bruijns has won the William Rutherford International Award for his excellent work in African emergency care activities and research over two decades.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) presents this annual award to an individual who has displayed evidence of excellence in emergency care or humanitarian activities within low- or middle-income countries.

Dr Bruijns said: “Emergencies happen every day, whether the systems are there to support these or not.  In high-income countries, like the UK, we often take our emergency care systems for granted. In lower-resourced settings like many African countries, acute health services face many barriers related to access, funding and training.”

Dr Bruijns’s main academic achievements include being one of the most published authors in African emergency care, leading the African Journal of Emergency Medicine as chief editor since its founding in 2011 and serving as associate professor of emergency medicine with the University of Cape Town. Dr Bruijns’s main research interest is emergency care systems. The South African Triage Scale, for which Dr Bruijns laid the foundations back in 2005, has been adapted for use across three continents. The scale is a simple tool that allows junior nurses to accurately assign the priority for patients attending to a low resourced emergency centre.

Dr Bruijns has strong views on research equality and access to research, specifically related to low- and middle-income countries. Dr Bruijns set up a conference peer support programme in 2009 that has allowed sponsorship of 205 emergency care nurses, clinicians, and prehospital staff from low- and middle-income countries up to 2019. He has also set up a publication peer support network for emergency care workers from low- and middle-income countries.

As part of the award ceremony, Dr Bruijns will be delivering a virtual lecture at the RCEM Virtual Scientific Conference on Tuesday 13 October, with fellow editor and colleague Dr Hendry Sawe (associate professor of emergency medicine from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania). The title of the lecture is ‘Under African Skies’ and will address the need and impact of emergency medicine in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Bruijns continues: “I have found it difficult to get my head around how, by doing my job, I can be awarded this award. Nevertheless, I am grateful and pleased that by winning the award, I can highlight the emergency care needs for countries facing extreme resource challenges. It is important that we aspire to promote diversity, inclusion and belonging and seek to not just ensuring everyone has a voice, but that that voice is heard.”

Speaking about Dr Bruijns’ Achievement, Yeovil Hospital Chief of Medicine Dr Meridith Kane said: “We are exceptionally proud of the work Dr Bruijns has done to support low and middle income countries and it is wonderful to see this recognised in this way.

“Yeovil Hospital is very supportive of research work and seeing staff making a difference across the world is a great example for us all.”

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