Date Posted: 31st March 2017
Providing the level of service our patients need 24 hours/day, 365 days/year is a complex and challenging task that requires us not only to have highly trained and equipped specialist care teams operating from both helicopters and response cars, but also an engineering and operational support infrastructure that is configured for maximum availability.
To this end we are bringing two new aircraft into service this year (the AW169) to replace the older MD902. These new aircraft are larger, faster and have greater endurance and, crucially, allow us to explore the potential of in-cabin interventions and, quite possibly, in-air interventions. Not only does this lead to a higher quality of care for our patients, it should also allow us to save significant time which is hugely beneficial both for the patient we are treating at the time and free us up more quickly so we are ready for the next patient who might need us.
To deliver such a service effectively and efficiently, and as previously announced, we are establishing a service delivery hub at Redhill aerodrome alongside our aviation partner (Specialist Aviation Services) where our aircraft will be garaged and maintained. But, the community we serve is spread across a region of some 3,600 square miles and thus we need to establish a forward-operating-base which allows better coverage. We had hoped that this would be at our present site at Marden but unfortunately our aircraft require a larger helipad than we are able to develop at this site.
We have thus submitted a planning application for offices and crew facilities at Rochester Airport from which we can run the Charity and maintain the required forward-operating-base; we have already acquired the necessary hangarage facilities at the airport to support such an operation. This facility also allows a certain degree of resilience as a contingency measure should Redhill be unavailable for any period.
Should we be granted the appropriate planning permission and achieve the various safeguards we need to deliver operational sustainability then we plan to move in the autumn – coincident with the inauguration of the service-delivery centre at Redhill.
We will of course be very sad to leave our Marden site from which we have operated for so long, and especially the people who have supported us so generously. We are doing all of this for very good reason however and that is the very tangible benefits for our patients who are the most badly injured and sick patients in the pre-hospital environment and who desperately need the specialist care only we deliver in the region.
This move maintains the Charity’s roots in Kent and, combined with the service-delivery hub, allows us to deliver the best possible care for all our patients, all day and night, throughout the year and across the region.