HIOWAA remains operational throughout Covid-19 pandemic

4 June, 2020

Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our supporters, the use of innovative technology and a successful collaboration with the Maritime Coastguard Agency, we have been able to maintain an air and road response throughout the current pandemic.   Our teams of paramedics and doctors have continued to attend incidents across our region, dressed in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to minimise the risk of infection when landing at scene.

Recent changes to guidance from Public Health England state that Air Ambulances are now able to carry patients who may have Coronavirus, once we have conducted appropriate risk assessments, including how best to minimise risks to our pilots and clinical teams.  Working closely with Babcock Aviation Services, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance helicopter has been fitted with a protective screen that provides a good level of separation between the cockpit and the rest of the Air Ambulance.

Also, thanks to our collaboration with the Maritime Coastguard Agency, we are now able to use the larger UK Search and Rescue aircraft, thereby reducing the risk even further to our crews.  This is because, when necessary, our Critical Care Teams can continue to treat critically ill and injured patients during the flight and whilst dressed in full Level 3 PPE. The larger aircraft also gives our doctors and specialist paramedics the ability to carry ventilated patients on board, and the front of the aircraft is completely sealed off to protect pilots from any airborne droplets, whilst the back of the aircraft is fitted with a washable decontamination lining.

CEO Alex Lochrane commented:

‘Innovation and collaboration have been behind our thinking throughout this crisis.  By adapting our operating procedures, making use of new technology and working collaboratively with others, we have been able to be there for the sick and injured when they have needed us most.  A heartfelt thank you to our supporters and to our partners at Babcock and the Maritime Coastguard Agency for working with us to save more lives’

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