New air ambulance to visit isles
A new air ambulance helicopter for the Scottish Ambulance Service will arrive on Sunday, giving locals the chance to talk to paramedics and pilots.
The new H145 aircraft is one of two which come into service this month and the services says it is bigger and faster than the EC135 helicopters which have been in service since 2006.
The new helicopters have a greater range, reducing the need to stop and refuel, and there will be more room for teams on board to deliver complex treatment. Medical fittings and equipment have been specifically designed to meet the needs identified by the clinicians who work on the aircraft.
The new H145s are also the first air ambulances in Scotland to have night vision equipment, which will enable greater access to remote communities.
The helicopters will work alongside the two King Air 200c fixed wing aircraft, which have been refitted and upgraded to create more room for patient care, along with new patient loading systems and satellite communications for improved consultation with hospitals during flight.
All four aircraft are part of a £120m air ambulance contract awarded to Gama Aviation in 2013 which runs until 2020. Bond Air Services operate the helicopters on Gama’s behalf.
The H145 helicopters will be based in Glasgow and Inverness and the King Air 200c aircraft operate from Glasgow and Aberdeen.
The Scottish government has provided an additional £1.9 million this year, and £200,000 for the next two years, to allow the ambulance service to obtain the larger helicopters.
Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said: “I’m delighted to launch the new and improved fleet of air ambulances. The quality and sophistication of the new technology the crews will now have access to is impressive, particularly as this is the only publicly funded air ambulance service in the UK.
“Not only will the new aircraft improve patient care, but will also help communities living in remote areas.
“This investment demonstrates our continued commitment to the Scottish Ambulance Service, its staff and patients.”