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24/7 air ambulance service launched

Posted in: Personal Injury 

The South East of England has seen the launch of Britain’s first ever air ambulance that will be in action 24/7. The helicopter, which will operate from Redhill, will allow an additional 500 patients to be treated every year in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The air ambulance has extended its service to ensure that patients can be treated overnight, with their previous service only running between the hours of 07:00 and 19:00. The ambulance will be in operation 365 days a year with two pilots, a paramedic and a specialist doctor onboard.

Between the hours of 07:00-19:00, two helicopters will reach about 5 missions from their bases in Marden (Kent) and Redhill (Surrey) – providing treatment to around 1,000 patients every year. The new helicopter, which will fly overnight, will be based in Redhill, reaching an average of 3 missions across the region. The chief executive, Adrian Bell, said that a forecast suggested that an additional 500 patients a year would be treated as a result of the improved service. He continued by saying that its Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) begun flying at night around three months ago.

‘Complexity of the area’

Mr Bell said that operating the daytime flights costs the charity around £5m a year, with the nighttime operation due to cost an extra £1m. One contributory factor towards this cost is the requirement of two pilots to be onboard when flying over night, due to the “complexity of the area”. The flights cover three counties, spanning around 3,500sq miles.

Mr Bell said: “We have produced the safest, the most reliable, the most effective operation that we can, and using all the technology, all the aids to make this safe and effective”.

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