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WATCH: Air ambulance crews on call for longer

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1:05pm 19th October 2017
(Updated 1:05pm 19th October 2017)

Cornwall Air Ambulance has announced some of its crews will be on call for longer.

The charity says critical care paramedics will respond by road until the early hours four days a week, as part of a new trial.

The new on-call shift will be in place for a year, on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Each day the helicopter crew works a 12-hour shift from 7.30am to 7.30pm, responding to emergencies in the charity's critical care cars when the weather is too bad to fly.

The trial means the helicopter crew will operate under the same hours with an additional shift now worked by two critical care paramedics, responding to emergencies by road from 6pm to 2am.

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Paula Martin, Chief Executive of Cornwall Air Ambulance says: "Historically, data has shown that demand for the type of critical care response the air ambulance crew provides fell after about 7.30pm.''

''However, we have recently seen examples of serious incidents outside of normal operating hours. We think these types of incidents could benefit from the specialist skills that the Cornwall Air Ambulance crew possess and this trial will allow us to truly assess that demand".

The critical care cars carry the same advanced life-saving equipment as the helicopters, such as the LUCAS chest compression system; an automated device that can sustain a higher blood flow to the brain and heart compared to manual chest compressions.

The trial period will be run by the same paramedics who fly the helicopter missions, providing the same level of critical care into the early hours.

This includes administering strong pain relief with medication such as Ketamine, as well as using their surgical skills.

Steve Garvey, Air Operations Officer for Cornwall Air Ambulance says: ''We typically have more call outs towards the end of the week. By trialling the extended service from Wednesday to Saturday we want to reach more people in need of urgent care as well as assist other emergency services where needed.

''Due to the trial taking place in the evenings, we can use the cars to reach people who are in need of emergency care at that time as there will be less traffic on the roads".

The announcement comes as Cornwall Air Ambulance celebrates its 30th year and you can watch more here...

1:05pm 19th October 2017

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