The pioneering Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) has reached another milestone by transferring its 500th patient.
Formed in 2012 and operated by The Air Ambulance Service, the national transfer service provides the only intensive care aircraft in the country dedicated to transferring critically ill babies and children, at high-speed, from local hospitals to specialist paediatric and neonatal treatment centres.
it receives no government funding and relies totally on public donations to remain operational. Two helicopters fly out of bases in Oxford and Doncaster with the average cost of each mission £3,500.
The landmark 500th patient transfer was to fly a patient to a specialist hospital in the West of England – alongside the NHS retrieval team Wales and West Acute Transport for Children Service (WATCh).
The flight took just one hour and 17 minutes. This journey by land ambulance would have taken nearly three hours – the longer a child is out of the hospital, the greater that risk, this time saved meant the little patient could get to the specialist care they needed, four times faster.
The charity work with 10 NHS paediatric retrieval teams, including WATCh, across the UK, enabling them to bring their specialist equipment on board to safely transfer their patients from one hospital to another.
If a child is too sick to fly, then TCAA can fly a specialist team directly to them – this has been necessary on a further 83 occasions, meaning the critically ill baby or child could still receive the urgent care they desperately needed.
The Children’s Air Ambulance charity is continually looking at ways in which they can increase support to the NHS and the clinical teams, they recently achieved another first in the UK by enabling the functionality of ECMO and nitric oxide on board their aircraft and are leading the way in paediatric and neonatal transfer aviation.
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