Working with the Coastguard

19 May, 2020

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance will be collaborating with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in order to safely transfer time critical patients with unknown Coronavirus status from the Isle of Wight to hospitals on the mainland.

Utilising the larger the Maritime and Coastguard Agency aircraft, our Critical Care Teams can continue to treat critically ill and injured patients whilst in flight and safely transferring them to hospital. In addition, the larger aircraft gives our doctors and specialist paramedics the ability to carry ventilated patients on board. The front of the aircraft is sealed off to protect pilots, who cannot wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) whilst flying, from any airborne droplets, and the back of the aircraft is fitted out with a washable decontamination lining.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight CEO, Alex Lochrane, comments:

“The current health crisis facing the country has presented us with new opportunities to collaborate and innovate with others. I am incredibly proud our crew, whose willingness and flexibility has meant that we can continue providing the best level of critical care to our region whilst also providing a vital lifeline to the Isle of Wight.”

Following a joint training exercise at our Airbase in Thruxton, HIOWAA and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, alongside Isle of Wight Ambulance Service, were called in to action for our first joint mission on the 19th May, to attend to a patient in Bembridge, Isle of Wight, who had suffered a serious head injury.

Dr Bentley Waller, who was on scene for the first joint missions, says:

“This was a fantastic example of interagency working, allowing us to deliver the right care to the patient at the right time, despite the challenges posed by the current Coronavirus pandemic.”

In the meantime, our Critical Care Teams continue to respond to critically ill patients across the region with both the Air Ambulance and emergency response vehicles remaining operational seven days a week, day and night. Full personal protective equipment (PPE) has been made available for our doctors and Specialist Critical Care Paramedics in order to ensure that risks of infection are minimised when they attend the scene of an incident.

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