The North West Air Ambulance charity has welcomed an Air Ambulance Response Unit to its fleet, which the charity’s medical crew hope will provide a lifeline to patients in the region.
The vehicle, decked out in blue and yellow to match the livery of the three helicopters the service currently flies, will allow the charity’s paramedics and consultants to extend their hours of operation and significantly expand their service.
While flight time legislation currently restricts the hours and conditions within which air ambulances can safely be flown, NWAA’s paramedics will be able to drive the AARU at any time, seven days a week, delivering emergency treatment to people across the North West in all weathers.
The BMW X5 vehicle, which has been fully kitted out for medical use, comes in at £65,000.
It is expected to have a lifesaving impact on patients across the region almost immediately; a trial vehicle has already proved to be a crucial transport link for critically ill patients, used in 24 missions by the crew to date. The charity is now looking to raise funds to buy additional units, to give its patients the best possible chance at survival.
Mark Evans, clinical service manager for the North West Air Ambulance, said: “Our team are highly-skilled in major trauma incidents and dealing with life-threatening medical emergencies, and are dedicated to treating patients whenever they need them – our service is ready to go 365 days a year.
"With this new vehicle, our advanced medical team will be able to bring their expertise to as many patients as possible, in a significantly increased timeframe. The AARU will also be essential in situations where we are unable to land our helicopters safely or when the weather prevents us from flying.
“It’ll also mean we will be able to deliver enhanced pre-hospital care literally to the roadside, which is a core element to our service.
"Our team can administer drugs, such as advanced pain relief, and carry out lifesaving procedures, including advanced surgical interventions, which are normally only possible to carry out in hospitals, or via our helicopters. It’s unique to our service and we’ll be continuing our close work with the North West Ambulance Service to deliver lifesaving care hand in hand with their paramedics.”
Heather Arrowsmith, the charity's chief executive, said: “This addition to our fleet wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible support we receive every day from people across the region. We’re incredibly grateful, and our thanks also go to those at BMW and the Halls Electricals team for designing an AARU that is specialised to our crews’ and patients’ needs. ”