Today we are delighted to be able to announce that we will be upgrading to a specially-equipped new helicopter next year, which will have full night flying capability.
As a young charity, this is considerable achievement, keeping us at the forefront of helicopter emergency services care, and allowing us to continuously improve our service to our community. We will begin operating the enhanced model EC135T3 with effect from the second half of 2015.
Our partner Air Ambulance, Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance will also be upgrading to a new helicopter, and as a result, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) will then have the benefit of two helicopters with full night flying capability, and a service that will offer our community progressively longer periods of cover, during the hours of daylight and darkness, 365 days of the year.
Since we started flying seven years ago, we have achieved several landmark milestones, including the carrying of blood on board all flights, longer operating hours, and the introduction of regular doctor-led crewing. In May this year we undertook our 5,000th mission.
As our service continues to evolve, it is demonstrating a real impact on patient outcomes. Figures from University Hospital, Southampton, HIOWAA’s designated Major Trauma Centre, show that a significant number of trauma patients are being transported by the air ambulance – 45 in the past three months alone. Being able to fly after the hours of darkness will make a major difference to patient outcome, particularly during the winter, when we are able to reach those early evening rush hour incidents that we would previously not have been able to reach.
In August last year, we launched our Minutes Matter Campaign, a fundraising campaign which has raised £1.5m in cash and legacy pledges. It is largely thanks to this campaign, and the generosity and commitment of our supporters, that we are now able to take this important step forward.
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