The ambulance is using the larger HM Coastguard aircraft, an AW189, to safely treat critically ill and injured patients whilst transferring them to hospital. The front of the aircraft is sealed off to protect pilots, who cannot wear Personal Protective Equipment whilst flying, from any airborne droplets, and the back of the aircraft is fitted out with a washable decontamination lining. In addition, the larger aircraft gives the charity the ability to carry ventilated patients on board.
Alex Lochrane, HIOWAA CEO, commented: “The current health crisis facing the country has presented us with new opportunities to collaborate and innovate with others. I am incredibly proud of our crew, whose willingness and flexibility has meant that we can continue providing the best level of critical care to our region whilst also providing a vital lifeline to the Isle of Wight.”
After a joint training exercise between the charity and the coastguard, they were called into action for their first joint mission to attend a patient in Bembridge, Isle of Wight, who had suffered a serious head injury.
Dr Bentley Waller, who was on scene for the first joint missions, said: “This was a fantastic example of interagency working. We came together seamlessly to form one team, allowing us to deliver the right care to the patient at the right time, despite the challenges posed by the current Coronavirus pandemic.”