Air Operations Officer, Steve Garvey, explains the difference the new aircraft will make to the service the critical care team can provide.
“The faster we can reach a patient and treat them, the better their chances of survival are. As paramedics and doctors, we talk about patient outcomes a lot. That basically means we want the people we treat to make the best recovery possible. The faster AW169 will allow us to reach patients more quickly. We are in turn able to start their treatment earlier and improve that patient’s outcome.
The greater space and access to patients is a benefit of the new aircraft. The scene of an emergency can be a very difficult place to treat a critically ill or injured person. Whether we land at the aftermath of a car accident or find ourselves treating someone on a busy beach, the environment can cause additional stress to a patient. Removing them from the public gaze into a warm, safe environment so we can assess and treat them in a cabin with enough space to do so will make a huge difference.
The AW169 gives our team 360-degree access to the patient with a stretcher down the middle, whereas in our current aircraft we can only treat them from one side. It may sound simple, but having the extra space to allow two crew members to work on a patient will greatly improve the care we can give.”
Emergencies don’t stop when the sun goes down, neither do we
The helicopter and crew can fly in darkness using a specialist Synthetic Vision System, powerful searchlights and advanced mapping systems. The AW169 has some of the most advanced navigation capabilities in the industry.
This equipment allows the crew to be on call in the hours of darkness when the aircraft is online, 365 days a year.
Rapid response by road
The Cornish weather can be a challenge for the helicopter. Low cloud, fog, ice, high winds and heavy rain mean that the helicopter has to be grounded until conditions improve.
But that doesn’t mean that we stop responding to critical emergencies. The crew use two rapid response vehicles, an extension of what is carried in the helicopter, with the same specialist equipment that you can find in a hospital A&E.
The crew bring the hospital to the patient and the rapid response vehicles enable the highly skilled paramedics to reach people in their hour of need, regardless of the weather.