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In 2020 Ed Coats was a specialist doctor in a busy hospital in the west of England as a clinician working in obstetrics and acute care focussed on clinical improvement and optimising outcomes in healthcare through best practice and the use of technology. He speaks on patient safety and quality to audiences of medical professionals across the UK and Europe. Ed has degrees in Medicine, Extreme Physiology, and Medical Law.
Ed’s life is medicine plus adventure. In 2009 he joined James Cracknell and Ben Fogle on the first ever race to the South Pole, the first attempt of its kind since Amundsen beat Captain Scott in 1912. The trip and selection process was filmed for a 5-part TV documentary series for BBC2 called On Thin Ice.
Six teams from around the world took part in what has been billed as the toughest endurance race on the planet. The team raced 500 miles unsupported across Antarctica for 16 hours a day in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius, while pulling 80kg sleds behind them. The team raced across crevasse fields while battling blisters, frostbite, hallucinations and pneumonia. They eventually finished in second place, an achievement due in no small part to Ed’s clear-headed support and mediation between his two more experienced team mates.
Prior to The South Pole Race, Ed was no stranger to physical hardship. He has represented Great Britain as a track and field decathlete, is an accomplished swimmer, and has led two teams to successfully swim the English Channel.
In 2010 his 30 at 30 project saw him attempt thirty adventurous challenges, including a swim, a Coast to Coast race across Scotland and an endurance marathon.
Over the last two years Ed has helped lead a series of Extreme Classroom projects in the High Arctic and in Africa. All were filmed for the BBC and challenge the labels that children with behavioural difficulties have, demonstrating that children labelled ‘un-teachable’ can be taught with the right approach. In 2013 The Highest Classroom on Earth trekked to Nepal and Everest Base Camp. Ed has also helped lead a successful ski expedition to the geographic North Pole.
Ed talks about maximizing performance in teams and how to develop a cohesive understanding of teams dynamics. He weighs up individual and collective responsibility in teams and how to form efficient and effective bonds. Ed looks at the highs and lows of target focused teamwork and the difficulties that the team dynamics can have on different leadership styles and how both the team, its leaders and individuals can learn to deal with adversity and challenge.
Back in the world of healthcare in 2018, and in collaboration with Phil Reynolds, Ed successfully built the Total Fertility brand, a new web comparison platform designed to engage the IVF consumer, and to bring clarity to a complex and competitive market.
During the Coronavirus pandemic Ed worked as an NHS Consultant on the frontline ensuring the safe delivery of maternity services. With tight deadlines and in demanding conditions he has led his teams in significant change during the emergency to prepare everyone for new, unknown, and very challenging conditions.
Ed Coats appeared on Channel 4 Television’ s NHS Heroes: Fighting to Save Our Lives on Wednesday May 6 at 9pm BST.
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