IMPROVEMENTS are to be made to air ambulance services across the south, ensuring patients receive the best possible emergency care.
From the beginning of this month, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) and Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance (TVACAA) will be staffed by a regular, doctor-led crew to deliver specialist emergency care during critical helicopter missions.
The air ambulances, supported by the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), will also start flying at night to transfer patients from local hospitals to specialist trauma centres.
The plans were announced today (Friday), during National Air Ambulance Week.
John Perry and Yusuf Firat, respective chief executives of the HIOWAA and TVACAA, said the improvements would not have been possible without the generous support of communities across the south.
They said in a joint statement: "We are confident that a pre-hospital emergency medicine experienced doctor on-board air ambulances will mean improved patient outcomes. We are very pleased to be able to deliver these significant service enhancements that our communities can rely on, should the need arise."
With their EC135 helicopters, the air ambulance charities jointly provide a service covering 14 hours a day, seven days a week, using NHS paramedics provided by the SCAS.
Since the air ambulance service was launched five years ago, it has undertaken nearly 4,000 missions.
It receives no government funding, and relies on donations to raise the £4,000-per-day cost of running the service.
• For further information, visit www.hiow-airambulance.org.uk