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November 2012

New Air Ambulance Charity Launches in Scotland

A new air ambulance charity, Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance, is to begin operations in Scotland.

The charity will be providing, free of charge to the Scottish Air Ambulance Service, one Bolkow 105 helicopter complete with pilot and paramedic crew. The cost will be met through community fundraising across Scotland. There is no Government or NHS financial support. The aircraft will be based at Perth Airfield and provide an air ambulance and HEMS response across the whole of Scotland. 

The East and Central areas of Scotland will be the predominate areas of operation. The helicopter will be fully integrated in to the Scottish Air Ambulance Service and will be routed as part of the 999 Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre.
Scotland has previously been covered from the air by two Eurocopter EC135s, operated by Bond Air Services on contract to Gama Aviation who hold a contract with Scottish Ambulance Service.  This is the only EMS operation in the UK funded by central government. 

November 2012

Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) has successfully launched a ‘new generation’ helicopter at its Mid Wales base, completing its fleet of three EC135 air ambulances for Wales. 

The new aircraft (G-WASC), which will operate from Welshpool Airport from 2nd November, supersedes the charity’s 20 year-old Bolcow-105. It is the third and final of WAA’s helicopters to be upgraded, after two successful campaigns to replace aircraft at its Swansea and Caernarfon bases.

The upgrade comes after months of fundraising to generate an extra £600,000 for the purpose-built aircraft. ‘Leap into Action’ was WAA’s nationwide campaign for 2012, appealing to supporters to act now to help replace the charity’s aged helicopter before it was decommissioned by the Civil Aviation Authority.

July 2012

The North West Air Ambulance is excited to announce significant changes, which will enhance the service being provided to patients across the region.

The North West Air Ambulance aircraft are moving to bases at two of the region’s dedicated trauma hospitals, allowing qualified doctors to travel onboard to incidents which require specialist clinical care on scene and becomming the first air ambulance service outside London to operate from hospital helipads.
In a £¼ million investment, our two helicopters will move from their current bases at City Airport, Manchester, and Blackpool Airport to the University Hospital of South Manchester, Wythenshawe, and Royal Preston Hospital, respectively.
Doctors in each of the hospital’s A&E department will subsequently be able to fly onboard the air ambulance to incidents where patients require specialist treatment on scene.

July 2012

A Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) program being run by the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (ARHT) and the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) is showing better health outcomes for patients.

In a first the two-year pilot program, which began in September 2011, see Emergency Department (ED) Doctors on board emergency flight missions.

HEMS Medical Director Dr Christopher Denny says being able to perform hospital-level critical interventions means the patient’s path to recovery is accelerated. Rather than individual actions, he says it is the way paramedics and doctors working as a seamlessly integrated team which makes the difference for patients.

May 2012

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust Critical Care Paramedic Laurie Phillipson was surprised live on ITV’s Daybreak by Dr Hilary who presented him with a Health Heroes Award.
Every day this week, Dr Hilary is surprising people with his Health Heroes Award; recognising and celebrating our unsung heroes of the health community.
Joined by Laurie’s family, friends, Dr Pamela Chrispin, medical director and other colleagues from partners East of England Ambulance Service Trust, plus two airlifted patients - 14-year-old Danny Williams and Jim Cox whose lives have been touched by Laurie and the air ambulance crew - Dr Hilary burst into the Crew Room at the air base in Earls Colne where Laurie and the on duty doctor and pilot were having their morning briefing, to surprise him with the award.

May 2012

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today announced a change to night flying regulations which will allow aircraft to operate under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in the hours of darkness. Currently, all civil aircraft flying at night in the UK must comply with Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) but, from the 8 June 2012, this requirement will be removed allowing pilots to decide whether to fly VFR or IFR. 

Visual Flight Rules are an internationally agreed standard set of operating rules designed to help prevent collisions between aircraft and the ground by ensuring that pilots fly in weather conditions that enable them to see a potential collision and take action to avoid it. Instrument Flight Rules are a more restrictive set of internationally agreed operating rules which include additional measures to help prevent collisions between aircraft particularly when flying in weather conditions where pilots may not be able to see other aircraft or obstacles (such as in cloud or poor visibility) and in areas with high volumes of traffic.The changes are being made to take into account new and emerging European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations for pilot licensing and rules of the air. 

April 2012


The National Association of Air Ambulances (AAA) has appointed Clive Dickin as its new National Director. The Association of Air Ambulances has been established as a representative body for the Air Ambulance Services in the UK, which formally recognises the integral part that Air Ambulances play in the Medical Service provision. Previously Mr Dickin, 38, led two national organisations from the built environment, helping to improve performance as well as working closely with the Health and Safety Executive to launch the “Gas Safe Register”, the national safety programme for domestic gas safety. More recently he has established a charity to preserve the largest collection of vintage operational jet aircraft in Europe. 

April 2012

Herts Air Ambulance has completed her  1000th  mission. The landmark call-out was on Thursday 12th April where the aircraft was despatched to provide critical care to a patient in cardiac arrest. This is one of the many types of injury and illness that the HEMS Team bring their life-saving support equipment and skills to. 

Once back at base the team were immediately called out again and Chief Pilot David Kerr-Sheppard flew the aircraft to the other side of the county to assist the East of England Ambulance Service in treating a patient with a life-threatening medical emergency. HEMS Doctor Marc Wittenberg and Critical Care Paramedic John McCusker administered a pre-hospital anaesthetic; a specialist treatment only afforded by having full time doctor and paramedic team on the helicopter, then made the important decision to airlift the patient to hospital where they received further expert clinical care.

April 2012

A new website has been launched which will be of interest to anyone involved in the air ambulance community in the United Kingdom. is the new home of UK HEMS on the Internet. We hope that this site will act as a hub of information for anyone interested in helicopter emergency medical services and the provision of high quality pre-hospital care in the United Kingdom and around the world. UK HEMS is a registered charity in the United Kingdom that was set up in 2005 to promote discussion and the sharing of ideas and best practice within the air ambulance community. We passionately believe that helicopter air ambulance services are a vital part of the health care system that enhance survival and minimise disability for the most seriously ill and injured in society.

It is our hope that the information on these pages will stimulate discussion of some of the most important issues facing air ambulance services at a national and international level.

April 2012

People living and working in the East of England will again benefit from a unique partnership between the region’s two air ambulance charities this Summer.

Under the agreement, trialled successfully in 2011, the charities will collaborate with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) to extend their service to cover the longer Summer days.  The new arrangements take effect on Monday 2 April, ensuring that air ambulance crews are operational across the region from 7.00 am until sunset.  Currently the aircraft go off line at around 5 pm. Between them, the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT), which each operate two aircraft, cover the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk. From 2 April, one helicopter from the EAAA and one from the EHAAT will cover the early part of the day while each charity’s second aircraft will cover the end of the day.  All four aircraft will be operational for the main part of the day.

March 2012

On Wednesday 28th March 2012, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) hosted the third Aeromedical Case Study Conference at Ford Dunton, near Basildon, the largest automotive technical centre in the UK, which houses the main design team of Ford of Europe. This year’s conference was titled ‘The Human Contribution to HEMS Patient Safety’ and the theme was Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Team Resource Management (TRM) within the HEMS Team – ‘Getting it right when things go wrong’.

March 2012

The helipad at Peterborough City Hospital has been formally opened. The East Anglian Air Ambulance completed a trial run and then became the first operational aircraft to use the new helipad with a patient on board the following day. The helipad is a trolley push from the emergency department and negates the need for a secondary transfer and the inherent delays in definitive patient care. The East of England Trauma Network will go live this year and it is expected that Peterborough will be designated a Trauma Unit, receiving critically injured patients for stabilisation prior to transfer to the region's Major Trauma Centre.

March 2012

East Anglian Air Ambulance intends to extend operating hours with the aircraft flying during the hours of darkness from the Cambridge base from September 2012.

Chief executive Tim Page said air ambulances in Germany and the Netherlands which had introduced night flying had been able to attend around 30% more cases.

He said: “We have got the aircraft on order and that’s been a big part of the battle. We have to get Civil Aviation Authority approval but we are pretty confident of all the aircraft providers in the country that Bond has the greatest existing capability in this area.”

December 2011

Since its launch in November 2008 this vital Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) has flown over 900 life-saving missions.
The landmark call-out was on Tuesday 13th December to a road traffic collision involving three vehicles on the QE2 Bridge in Thurrock.
Chief Pilot David Kerr-Sheppard was unable to land the helicopter straight away due to the live carriageways below and remained hovering overhead until the bridge was closed to traffic. Due to difficult weather conditions it was a challenging landing for David in 40 mph winds, putting his extensive skills and experience to the test. David said: “The strong wind made an otherwise straightforward landing slightly more challenging and with great teamwork inside the aircraft we made a safe landing in what were fairly tough conditions.”

November 2011

The East Anglian Air Ambulance has awarded a seven-year contract to  Bond Air Services for two new aircraft which will provide the region with the most advanced air ambulance fleet in the UK.
Both aircraft will also, for the first time, be capable of night flying, bringing the prospect that the life-saving air ambulance service could in future be extended to cover the hours of darkness.
The EAAA operates the only dedicated air ambulance service across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, with aircraft based at both Norwich and Cambridge airports, and has been operating interim helicopters provided by Bond since its previous operator, Sterling Aviation, had its fleet grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority.

February 2012

Cornwall Air Ambulance have begun operations from a new airbase. The base is located on Trevithick Downs, on the southern boundary of Newquay Airport, includes a 492 square metre hangar for the EC135 and 335 square metres of high quality office space.  With the charity’s headquarters and office staff previously based at Roche, the new accommodation brings the charity and operations team together for the first time. The construction of the new base was made feasible by an investment of £949,760 from ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Convergence.

January 2011

Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey is to build a £20 Million Emergency Department which will include an elevated helipad. Currently, air ambulances land at Kings International College and complete the remaining distance by road.  Vital minutes could be saved for time critical patients. Frimley Park Hospital is a Trauma Unit and part of the London Trauma Network.

March 2011

Members of the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust and London’s Air Ambulance teams were invited to Hungary to speak at a pre-hospital and emergency care conference organised by former EHAAT and London’s Air Ambulance doctor Peter Temesvari.

Following Peter's time with EHAAT, he went to London HEMS for six months before returning to his homeland and taking up the role of managing director for an organisation providing seven air ambulances within Hungary. Consultants Gareth Grier and Anne Weaver, both of whom lead on clinical governance in EHAAT, Dr Adam Chesters who also flies with EHAAT and London, critical care paramedic Laurie Phillipson, joined fellow London HEMS doctors and paramedics who were guest speakers at the event. Over 100 delegates from the specialities of emergency and pre-hospital medicine attended this inaugural national HEMS conference.

September 2011

The Department of Transport of the United Kingdom has released the annual report of casualties on the roads in Great Britain for 2010. This publication presents detailed statistics about the circumstances of personal injury accidents, including the types of vehicles involved, the resulting casualties and factors which may contribute to accidents. In addition to detailed tables there are six articles containing further analysis on specific road safety topics.

Most of the statistics in the publication are based on information about accidents reported to the police. However, other sources such as mortality, survey and hospital data are also used as well as population and traffic data to provide a wider context.