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Taking to the skies... Cornwall's brand new air ambulance

Taking to the skies... Cornwall's brand new air ambulance

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:36am 1st April 2020.

Cornwall's brand new air ambulance is officially taking to the skies.

The state-of-the-art AW169 helicopter is now ready for its first life-saving missions in the Duchy and Isles of Scilly.

After the success of the two-year Heli Appeal, which raised £2.8m, the new 'A&E for the skies' is going into active service on 1st April.

It will be seen flying overhead as it travels to patients in need of critical care.

The new aircraft brings a range of benefits that ultimately adds up to saving more time and more lives. 

"It is with immense gratitude and pride that I thank the wonderful people, businesses and communities of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly and beyond. So many have donated so much.

"Today is a moment that will ensure Cornwall Air Ambulance saves even more lives in the future. A moment for our county to feel proud." 

Barbara Sharples, Trustee and Chair of the New Heli Appeal

How is the new helicopter different?

The greater space and access to patients is a major benefit of the new aircraft. 

The scene of an emergency can be a very difficult place to treat a critically ill or injured person. Whether the crew land at the aftermath of a car accident or find themselves treating someone on a busy beach, the environment can cause additional stress to a patient.

Removing them from the public gaze into a warm, safe environment so teams can assess and treat them in a cabin with enough space to do so will make a huge difference.

The AW169 gives the team 360-degree access to the patient with a stretcher down the middle, whereas in the current aircraft they can only treat them from one side.

The team says that having the extra space to allow two crew members to work on a patient will greatly improve the care they can give.

heli appeal - cornwall air ambulance

Air Operations Officer, Steve Garvey, explains the difference the new aircraft will make to the service the critical care team can provide.

“We had one priority in mind when we were looking at bringing a new air ambulance to Cornwall – it must help us save more lives. Part of this means having the ability to carry more medical equipment so we can make more lifesaving interventions. The extra power of the AW169 will allow us to do this.

"As paramedics and doctors, we talk about patient outcomes a lot. That basically means we want the people we treat to make the best recovery possible. The faster we can reach a patient and treat them, the better their chances of survival are. The AW169 will allow us to reach patients more quickly. We are in turn able to start their treatment earlier and improve that patient’s outcome."

Steve Garvey, Air Operations Officer

What about coronavirus?

Despite the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, the charity continues to operate its lifesaving service, ensuring that those in urgent need of care receive the best possible chance of survival.

“We have taken active steps, in accordance with government and NHS guidelines to ensure that the service the crew provides remains intact.

"In today’s climate dominated by Coronavirus headlines, the fact that the new helicopter is ready to take flight is some positive news.

"As a charity, our focus will always remain on providing the best possible service to the people of Cornwall and the new helicopter marks a new era in the level of care the crew can provide.”

Paula Martin, Chief Executive of Cornwall Air Ambulance

As the current outbreak makes fundraising challenging, the charity is calling for support to help keep the helicopter flying in these difficult times.

Visit cornwallairambulancetrust.org to find out how you can show your support and help continue to save lives. 

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