Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) and Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) have officially started night-time Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operations across the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) region.
HIOWAA’s Airbus H135 helicopter is flown by highly-trained and experienced Bond pilots operating with the latest-generation of night-vision goggles. The aircraft is fully equipped and optimised for night operations, meaning the Charity’s specialist doctor and paramedic HEMS crews can bring their life-saving care to the most seriously ill or injured people by night as well as by day, saving more lives. Bond operates an identical helicopter on behalf of TVAA.
The two air ambulances, in partnership with SCAS, will work together to provide an additional seven hours of coverage every night until 2am across the counties of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
Both helicopters will remain operational in their respective counties for 12 hours every day and then take it in turn for a period of 16 consecutive nights to cover the seven hour night-service for the whole of the South Central region and the Isle of Wight.
Alex Lochrane, HIOWAA CEO, commented: “Thanks to our unique partnership with TVAA, there is now a dedicated HEMS crew operational until 2am, an additional seven hours every night, covering the whole of the South Central region.
“Working in close partnership with SCAS to crew and deploy the service, our Doctor Paramedic teams can be at the scene of an incident within minutes, ready to deliver an advanced level of critical care to the patient and give them the very best chances of survival and recovery”
HIOWAA, alongside TVAA and SCAS, is committed to developing and enhancing its helicopter emergency medical service in the region to provide the highest level of emergency care outside of a hospital environment. A full range of life-saving equipment is carried on board, including two state of the art ultrasound devices, a blood transfusion kit and an immediate blood analyser, helping to save valuable seconds in the vital golden hour.
The ‘Paramedic Physician partnership’ of doctors and paramedics found on board is essential for a truly gold standard delivery of pre-hospital emergency medicine, all of which is made possible through the Charity’s close working partnership with South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.
HIOWAA and TVAA’s aviation partner Bond Air Services Ltd and their highly skilled Helimed pilots are central to the service, ensuring the most effective coverage for the entire region with the newest version of the Airbus helicopter, as well as the safety and precision and speed of the operation.
Alex Lochrane concludes: “Since the start of flying operations in 2007, HIOWAA has been steadily expanding its service to the community. Introducing night HEMS operations adds another dimension to our service, helping us to save lives and provide emergency medical support and transfer where and when it is most needed.
“I am immensely proud of our teams, who work tirelessly each day and night; not only to deliver a unique life-saving service, but to develop their knowledge and training to ensure we continue to advance on-scene patient care.
“We would not have been able to take this important step forward without the on going support that we receive from the people, companies and organisations that support us, to whom we are and will always be very grateful”.