2017 was a fantastic year for our Charity – we not only took delivery of our new, state-of-the-art AgustaWestland 169 helicopter, but we also began to carry blood on board for the first time. These advancements have proven to be of great benefit to the pre-hospital critical care that our clinical crew already provides every day of the year. As a further reflection of our commitment to providing a first-class Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, our Board of Trustees recently approved the decision to extend our helicopter’s operational hours.
Karen Jobling, CEO said: “Emergencies don’t stop at 7pm and nor will we. Thanks to our fantastic supporters, we are now in a position to fund the extension of our service and provide advanced clinical care to the people of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This extended service won’t happen overnight, but the wheels are already in motion towards the provision of a 24/7 helicopter emergency service for the communities we serve by the end of the year.”
As well as our state-of-the-art helicopter, our Charity also has a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) which can quickly transport a Critical Care Paramedic and Pre-Hospital Care Doctor to a patient; this vehicle carries the same life-saving equipment as our helicopter. This means we can deliver an advanced level of clinical care and equipment to our patients that goes above and beyond that of a land ambulance. Our RRV will continue to be used when our helicopter is grounded due to bad weather or unplanned maintenance.
Doctor Susan Dashey, joint Clinical Lead at the Charity added: “I am delighted that we are gearing up to extend our pre-hospital emergency medical service. Trauma, serious illness, and cardiac arrests can happen anytime, day or night and, working with our partner East Midlands Ambulance Service, we have identified the need for an extended critical care capability in our area. It’s tremendous news that the Charity can continue to build upon its strong foundations of excellent clinical care in this way.”
Our commitment to fly 24 hours a day, together with the additional benefits that our new helicopter provides, along with the advancement in carrying blood on board, puts our Charity at the very forefront of medical aviation – somewhere we intend to remain!
We want to continue to provide our patients with the very best and most advanced critical care possible outside of a hospital environment. Hundreds of families still have their loved ones today because of the fast actions and expertise of our crew and this is something we are extremely proud of.
Increasing the hours that we fly is something that requires not only careful planning, but also significant investment. From a practical standpoint, we need additional crew, increased training, more aviation fuel and more medical supplies.
Vitally, we also need to raise even more funds, as the cost to provide a 24-hour HEMS service will increase from £2.5m per year to around £4m.
Currently, our HEMS team operate 7 days a week between 7am and 7pm. The new 24-hour service will initially be for a two-year trial period during which the medical emergencies our helicopter is dispatched to will be closely reviewed and analysed to ensure we continue to provide the most appropriate critical care possible across our two counties.
East Midlands Ambulance Service CEO Richard Henderson added: “I welcome the decision of the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance to increase their operational time to 24/7 which will ensure that more patients are able to receive enhanced pre-hospital care. East Midlands Ambulance Service has a close relationship with the Charity and I look forward to our continued partnership working.”
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