Over the last few years we have invested much time and effort in understanding how we best deliver the resilient, sustainable, safe and effective service our patients need. Our key challenges are our people – their recruitment, training and retention; our aircraft – capacity, capability and endurance; and our infrastructure – its suitability to support an increasingly complex service.
The care our highly-skilled, experienced crews deliver makes a difference to patients’ survival and quality of recovery. We constantly update and hone the training our crews need and we run sophisticated and demanding induction courses for all medical staff supported by intensive on-job training and supervision from a cadre of experienced emergency medicine consultants.
So our crews can deliver the best care that our patients need, we must get them to scene as quickly as possible and then be able to transport our patients swiftly and directly to the most appropriate hospital. Our current helicopters are sufficient by day but not best suited to support night operations. They are limited by fuel capacity and the restricted fuel supply points during darkness. Also, weight limitations deny us the means to train and supervise by night. Even by day we are challenged by these limitations and have to adapt and compromise.
Therefore, we are replacing one of our helicopters with an AW169. Flying faster, further and for longer, it will enable us to reach, treat and deliver our patients to hospital even faster, and potentially reach even more people in time.
Similar in size to our existing aircraft externally, the AW169 has a significantly larger cabin, improving in-flight access to patients, allowing for delivery of more life-saving interventions, and offering the potential to carry out those interventions inside the aircraft rather than outside – which can only be better for patients.