Scottish Air Ambulance will take two new H145s next month
The Scottish Ambulance Service will take delivery of two new helicopters in August.
The new Airbus Helicopters H145 aircraft will replace the current EC135s that have been in service since 2006.
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The helicopters will be the first air ambulances in Scotland to operate with night vision equipment which will allow greater access to remote and rural communities.
Both helicopters will work alongside two King Air 200C fixed wing aircraft, which have been refitted and upgraded to create more room for patient care, along with a new patient loading system and satellite communications during flight.
All four of the aircraft are operated as part of a £120m air ambulance contract awarded to Gama Aviation in 2013. The contract runs until 2020.
Bond Air Services operate the helicopters on Gama’s behalf. The H145 helicopters will be based between Glasgow and Inverness, with the King Air 200C aircraft operating from Glasgow and Aberdeen.
The Scottish Government has provided an additional £1.9 million in funding this year, and £200,000 for the next two years, to allow the Scottish Ambulance Service to fund the procurement of larger helicopters.
Shona Robison, Scottish Parliament health secretary said: “I’m delighted to be here today to launch the new and improved fleet of air ambulances. The quality and sophistication of the new technology that the crews will now have access too is impressive, particularly as this is the only publicly funded air ambulance service in the UK. Not only will the new aircraft improve patient care and experience for those that need an urgent response from the ambulance service, but will also help communities living in remote and rural areas.”
“This investment demonstrates our continued commitment to the Scottish Ambulance Service, it’s staff and of course the patients who rely on the emergency service day in and day out across Scotland,” Robison added.
David Garbutt, chairman, Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “Our air ambulance service provides a vital lifeline to the people of Scotland, particularly those in remote and rural communities. The new helicopters, along with the refurbished planes, ensure that the air wing continues to one of the most advanced in the world providing the best possible in flight environment for the specialist clinicians to deliver consistently high standards of life saving patient care.”
Pauline Howie, chief executive, Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “The H145 helicopters, along with upgraded King Air planes, are the result of a four year consultation and procurement programme that involved key stakeholders, NHS clinicians, patients, carers and community groups. The result is a world-class air ambulance service that is future proofed and designed to specifically meet the needs of the people of Scotland. The air ambulance service is crewed by teams of dedicated clinicians and pilots who operate 24/7, 365 days of the year, bringing first class care to patients across the country.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service provides the only publicly funded air ambulance service in the UK.