It's following substantial investment and recruitment.
As 2018 gives way to a new year, and the nation celebrates, the critical care crews at your local air ambulance will usher in a new era for the lifesaving charity as it expands to offer the vital service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Crews at Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) and Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance will be out in force on New Year’s Eve as they commence the start of 24hr operations.
The lifesaving charity will be introducing 24hr cover, all year round, after responding to an identified need.
Local air ambulance Head of Operations Phil Bridle explained: “Currently our late shift finishes at 0200, however, it has always been an aspiration of the charity to provide vital clinical services across the full 24hr period.
“Over the last two years the operational team has collated data to fully understand what demand looks like between the hours of 0200 and 0700. This data clearly highlighted the need for us to increase the hours of when our clinical teams are available.”
The charity is investing significantly in 24hr operations and it marks yet another milestone for the charity since it began providing critical care services back in 2003 with one aircraft.
“It’s incredible now to see how the charity has progressed over the past 15years,” said Mr Bridle, “to now provide four critical care platforms. This increase to the operational hours will mean we will be able to further support our NHS Ambulance Service colleagues across the region with vital clinical care for the most severely injured and ill patients during a time where there are less resources available which can provide critical care.
“Critical care will be provided by two helicopters across the regions during the day and then via two rapid response vehicles during the night. The vehicles will be based at East Midlands and Coventry Airports and are able to make good use of the excellent road networks which span across the region we cover.”
The expansion has come about through substantial investment, both financially and in operational infrastructure, and has included the requirement to increase staffing levels across both paramedics and doctors.
Each operational base has also have been upgraded so the working environment is able to support staff during the longer periods that they will be working.
“We receive no government funding,” explained Mr Bridle, “and rely solely on public, legacy and corporate donations.
The increase in hours will mean an increase to the annual operational costs, therefore we are asking the public to once again support the cause so we can provide our vital clinical services 24 hours a day helping to save even more lives.”