3-May-2013 Source: Yorkshire Air Ambulance
Paramedics and doctors at Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) have helped design their own medical kit bags that are now being used to treat patients both on the ground and inflight.
The medical teams have worked with manufacturers to produce the revolutionary pouch design bags already attracting interest from other helicopter emergency services.
The new bags, which have taken nearly 18 months to design and pilot, address several key infection control and patient care issues identified by the Yorkshire helicopter medics.
These include the need for kit bags to be totally wipeable, tear and rip resistant and to provide easy access to equipment that can be kept in sterile packaging until it is needed.
YAA paramedic and clinical supervisor Tony Wilkes said: “We have gone right back to basics and worked through exactly what we need a kit bag to do and then come up with a novel design that really works.
“We wanted to keep all the kit that we definitely need when we first get to a patient in one bag. The current bag was too small and you’d open it up, particularly in flight, and stuff would just pour out so finding what you needed was a nightmare.
“We have designed a drawer system in a self-standing bag so when you take kit out the bag doesn’t collapse – which is great. Everything is organized in three big pouches and two smaller ones which means we can quickly get what we need.
“The bag can be used as a rucksack and is really comfortable to carry if we have to cover distance and there is also a strap which means it can be lowered to the ground if the helicopter can’t land.”
YAA worked with Wirral-based manufacturer Openhouse Products to redesign the bag and designer Philip Sim said: “It has been an enjoyable and challenging design roller-coaster.
“After visiting the YAA Base and seeing the conditions in which Tony and his team had to work in it was clear that the traditional split open bag design was just not suitable.
“The challenging aspect of this project was not only giving the user the best access to the equipment once inside the aircraft but to fully encapsulate all the items that must be carried at any particular time and for any eventuality.
“With all of these factors in mind and a few initial designs later Tony and I decided that the front loading; almost shelf-like design with interchangeable modular inserts gave the user not only the best access from their position within the aircraft but also full control over the contents.”
YAA’s two helicopters now carry the new kit bags as does the emergency response vehicles located at the service’s two bases at Leeds Bradford International Airport and RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk.
Yorkshire Air Ambulance is an independent charity providing a rapid response emergency service to five million people across Yorkshire – England’s largest region. It needs to raise £9,900 each day to keep its two helicopters in the air and maintained.