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An Hour To Save Your Life: Meet our academics

Updated Friday, 28th February 2014

What's it like working on a BBC show for an Open University academic? Our An Hour To Save Your Life academic team reveal all...

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Hilary MacQueen

Hilary MacQueen is a Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences. For the last few years she has been leading The Open University's Paramedic Sciences programme. Originally a microbiologist, Hilary has researched in a wide range of health science areas, including cell biology, developmental biology and embryology, immunology, and latterly the effects of diet, particularly dietary fat, on health and ageing.

Hilary has taught on 18 Open University distance teaching modules, at all levels up to Masters. She has a particular interest in improving public understanding of science, and has contributed to a number of access initiatives.

Following this interest she has worked on a number of TV, radio and multimedia productions including, most recently, Bang Goes the Theory.

Hilary's involvement in An Hour to Save Your Life came about through her interest in Paramedic Sciences and emergency care.

"This has been a fantastic programme to work on. The use of head cameras and on-site actuality footage has brought an immediacy and enormous drama to the screen in a way I haven't experienced before", she says. "And the expert production and editing have made these very exciting programmes. You really are right there with the patients as they go through their treatments. But it's not all about medical drama – the programmes emphasise the role that new technologies have to play in patient care, and show how their availability can enhance clinical decision-making by providing a sound evidence base."

Duncan Banks

Duncan's involvement in An Hour to Save Your Life came about through chairing several of the courses that are studied as part of the Paramedic Sciences programme. Duncan has been a lifeguard and life-saving instructor with first-hand experience of saving lives and, as an examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons, has kept up to date with current trends in the treatment of trauma and in emergency care.

"The programme has given me the opportunity to understand the technology, protocols and new treatments that are now saving lives. The field is advancing rapidly and as a gadget freak I have been amazed just how much of the equipment has shrunk in size and how it is now possible to monitor things that we not possible a few years ago. What has surprise me the most is how much the understanding of trauma and emergency care has come from the UK and US military's experience in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"Although I have been involved in other TV and radio series, An Hour to Save Your Life has been the most enjoyable. It has been a pleasure working with various staff at the OU and the production team at Boundless. The standard and the general professionalism have been extremely high. There is a real sense that we have learned from each other and have successfully produced a series that has an almost unique educational message.

"It is not the usual fly-on-the-wall emergency documentary but one that explains what a heart attack or stroke is and why trauma can potentially be such a serious problem. The series has an obvious element of drama but what you also see are people working together in teams, how the role of the paramedic is critically important and how the development of trauma centres has been a success."

You can follow Duncan Banks on Twitter @duncan_banks.





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