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Air ambulances in the United Kingdom

Air ambulance services in the United Kingdom are provided by a mixture of organisations, operating either helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft to respond to medical emergencies, and transport patients to, from, or between points of definitive care. These air ambulances fulfil both emergency medical services functions, as well as patient transport between specialist centres, or as part of a repatriation operation.

Air Ambulances in the United Kingdom
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Contents

HistoryEdit

The first air ambulance services in the UK commenced in Scotland in November 1933 with a flight from Wideford Airport, Kirkwall Orkney and in February 1939 the first night time ambulance flight was undertaken from Wideford to the island of Sanday, using car headlights to help take off and landing. The aircraft used was a General Aircraft Monospar G-ACEW operated by Highland Airways.

Emergency air ambulancesEdit

Emergency air ambulances are generally helicopter based, and used to respond to medical emergencies in support of local ambulance services. In England and Wales, all of these services are charitably funded, and operated under contract with a private provider.[1] The ambulance staff crewing these flights are generally seconded from the local NHS ambulance service. In Scotland, there is the only publicly funded air ambulance service, with the Scottish Ambulance Service operating two helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft in this role, alongside a single charity helicopter (EC135T2), operated by Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance.

Service Radio call-sign Aircraft Reg Photo
Cornwall Air Ambulance Helimed 01 2 × MD-902 (Only one operational at any single time) G-CNWL  
G-CIOS  
The Air Ambulance Service Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance Helimed 54 AgustaWestland AW109SP G-TAAS  
Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance Helimed 53 AgustaWestland AW109SP G-HEMZ  
Children's Air Ambulance (emergency patient transfers only) Helimed 80 2x AgustaWestland AW169 G-PICU  
Helimed 81 G-TCAA
Devon Air Ambulance Helimed 70 2 × EC 135 G-DAAN
 
Helimed 71 G-DVAA  
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Helimed 10 AW169 G-DSAA  
East Anglian Air Ambulance Helimed 85 2 x H-145 G-RESU  
Helimed 88 G-HEMC  
Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Helimed 07 MD-902 G-EHEM  
Helimed 55 AW169 G-HHEM  
Great North Air Ambulance Helimed 58 3 × AS-365 G-NHAA  
Helimed 63 G-NHAB  
Helimed 58 or 63 (operates as spare) G-NHAC
Great Western Air Ambulance Helimed 65 EC-135 G-GWAC  
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Helimed 56 EC 135 G-HIOW  
Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Helimed 60 2 x AW169 G-KSST  
Helimed 21 G-KSSC  
Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Helimed 29 AW169 G-LNAC  
London Air Ambulance (HEMS) Helimed 27
Spare (Helimed 28 if required for major incidents)
2 x MD-902 (Only one operational at any single time) G-EHMS  
G-LNDN  
Magpas Air Ambulance Helimed 66 MD-902 G-HMDX  
Midlands Air Ambulance Helimed 03 1x H145 G-RMAA  
Helimed 06 2 × EC 135 G-OMAA  
Helimed 09 G-HWAA  
North West Air Ambulance Helimed 08 3 × EC-135 G-NWAA  
Helimed 72 G-NWAE  
Helimed 75 G-NWEM  
Northern Ireland Air Ambulance Helimed 23 2 x EC-135 G-NIHM  
Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance Helimed 76 1 × EC-135 G-SCAA [1]
Scottish Air Ambulance Helimed 02 2 × EC-145 T2 G-SASN  
Helimed 05 G-SASS  
Gama xxx 2 × King Air 200C G-SASC  
G-SASD  
Thames Valley Air Ambulance Helimed 24 EC 135 G-TVAL  
Wales Air Ambulance Helimed 57 3 x H145 G-WENU  
Helimed 59 G-WOBR  
Helimed 61 G-WROL
Helimed 67 (Children's) 1 x EC135 G-WASC  
Wiltshire Air Ambulance Helimed 22 Bell 429 G-WLTS [2]
Yorkshire Air Ambulance Helimed 98 2 × H145 G-YOAA
Helimed 99 G-YAAC  

Patient transport operationsEdit

 
Privately operated fixed wing air ambulance from the UK

There are also a number of patient transport operations in the UK, generally using fixed wing aircraft, and which are part of a system of moving patients between points of care, or as part of a repatriation to the UK. There is a helicopter based patient transfer service, focused on paediatric cases, called the Children's Air Ambulance, which first flew in 2012.[2]

The Scottish Ambulance Service operates two fixed wing aircraft in this role, and there is a similar service provided under contract in Northern Ireland, with patients flown to the mainland UK for treatment.[3] In 2015 the neonatal, paediatric and adult emergency care and retrieval operations were brought together with the Scottish Ambulance Service and utilise the aircraft and road ambulances for this purpose. They are co-located at the Scottish Ambulance Air Base at Glasgow International Airport.

SkyAngels Air Ambulance is the UK's first planned jet equipped air ambulance charity. Plans are for a Bombardier Learjet aircraft to operate in 2020 on behalf of the general public and support the NHS within the UK. Charity number: 1168225

There are also a number of private providers offering transport by fixed wing aircraft.

In 2012, the Children's Air Ambulance was launched, providing a national service for the transport of paediatric patients to specialist centres. In 2017, G-HEMZ was retasked to emergency HEMS operations with the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and replaced with 2 brand new AgustaWestland AW169 helicopters - registered G-TCAA and G-PICU.

Notable accidents involving air ambulancesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Amazing Facts about your Air Ambulance". Association of Air Ambulances. Retrieved 26 July 2009.
  2. ^ "The Children's Air Ambulance". Express and Echo. 18 December 2012.
  3. ^ "New air ambulance for NI after flight ordeal". BBC news.
  4. ^ Air Accidents Investigation Branch. "BN2A-26 Islander, G-BEDZ, 19 May 1996". GOV.UK. Department for Transport, Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  5. ^ Helicopter crash kills three BBC News, 27 July 1998
  6. ^ "AAIB Bulletin No: 2/2000" (PDF). Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  7. ^ "Air ambulance crash pilot cleared". BBC News. 19 February 2004.
  8. ^ "Piper PA-31-350, G-BMBC" (PDF). AAIB. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Air crew search called off". BBC News. 15 March 2005.

External linksEdit