UK air ambulance works with RAF during pandemic
The UK Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) are among the first air ambulance services to collaborate with the Royal Air Force (RAF) to carry ill patients from remote areas to trauma centers
On 7 April, the charity undertook the first time-critical transfer of a patient from Jersey to University Hospital Southampton in an RAF Chinook.
The charity’s crew worked alongside military personnel to prepare themselves during a joint training exercise the previous week. The initiative is aimed at bringing support to patients on the Isle of Wight and other more remote areas during the Covid-19 crisis.
Alex Lochrane, CEO at HIOWAA, said: “It is absolutely our duty to do everything that we can to ensure that patients on the Isle of Wight, and other more remote areas, get the necessary critical care during the current pandemic.
“This is a hugely impressive and vitally important collaboration with the RAF and I am immensely proud of our Critical Care clinicians and the Care Group Management team within University Hospital Southampton who have responded with flexibility and total selflessness to the rapidly evolving health crisis, displaying their usual professionalism, dedication and teamwork.”
The charity’s crews of paramedics and doctors will be on hand to fly onboard military helicopters to transfer patients to major trauma centers such as University Hospital Southampton and the new NHS Nightingale hospital in London.
Dr Simon Hughes, a senior Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine Consultant with HIOWAA, commented: “A Chinook helicopter not only has the advantage of range and speed, but it also offers more space than the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, allowing us to continue care for patients who could potentially be Covid-19 positive, whilst maintaining a safe distance from the military aircrew.”