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Every Poppy Counts


A John Radcliffe Hospital Doctor and Navy Reservist is urging people to support this year’s Poppy Appeal like never before.

Dr Adham Khalek is a Consultant working in the Emergency Department at the John Radcliffe, run by Oxford University Hospitals (OUH), and a Surgeon Commander in the Royal Navy Reserve.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic means the Poppy Appeal, launched by the Royal British Legion last month (October), will be different this year, it is still a time to reflect and remember.

Adham said: "In my experience, the Poppy Appeal and national response to remembrance ceremonies show that it is a unifying event that crosses many traditional divides.

"We owe a lot to the hard work and sacrifices of those who came before us and served their country.

"Some people are unable to leave their homes as they normally would to find a poppy, so there is a range of new ways for people to show their support remotely.

"From donating for poppies through the post for your neighbours and local community, displaying a poppy in your window, donating online, or undertaking a virtual Poppy run, there are many ways to support the Poppy Appeal from home in line with COVID-19 restrictions."

Claire Rowcliffe, Director of Fundraising at the Royal British Legion, added: "Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly makes running the appeal more difficult, the additional hardships it has brought about means our work is now more vital than ever.

"Every poppy makes a difference to the lives of our armed forces community. Whilst you may have to do something different to support the Poppy Appeal this year, every poppy counts so we're asking people to please support us in any way you can."

As an OUH Consultant, Adham oversees the admission and discharge of all Emergency patients.

As a Maritime Reservist, Adham, who initially joined the Navy as a reserve medical officer in 2001, was mobilised to serve in Afghanistan in 2013 and has taken part in multiple maritime medical exercises. He also instructs on several military clinical courses.

He said: "When on duty I am responsible for overseeing the initial assessment, emergency treatment, resuscitation, and admission and discharge of all emergency patients alongside a team of doctors, nurses, porters, and other allied health professionals.

"This is no different from my job description normally but now entails working in various levels of PPE to manage the added risks of coronavirus transmission."

During the pandemic, Adham has worked alongside other military nurses and doctors.

He said: "In Oxford we already had regular military nurses and doctors integrated into our Emergency Department and so we worked alongside military medical staff throughout the pandemic – the doctors and nurses are integrated into our staffing rotas and part of the team.

"The use of Armed forces personnel and expertise in multiple roles during the pandemic highlights how versatile and relevant a resource the military is - it exists for the benefit of the country and not just for armed conflict."