Air am­bu­lance flew 365 call-out hours last year

Flights for emer­gen­cies were equiv­a­lent to an hour a day

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - PAUL REOCH pre­[email protected]­courier.co.uk

Scot­land’s Char­ity Air Am­bu­lance (SCAA) spent the equiv­a­lent of one hour ev­ery day last year fly­ing to and from emer­gen­cies.

Fig­ures re­leased by the Perth-based or­gan­i­sa­tion show its fly­ing hours to­talled 365 in 2018, and that crews went to the res­cue in 325 life-threat­en­ing in­ci­dents.

SCAA, which flies out of Perth Air­port, Scone, also air­lifted a to­tal of 174 pa­tients who were in need of hos­pi­tal care last year.

Its medics dealt with in­ci­dents in ev­ery cor­ner of Scot­land, with the ex­cep­tion of Orkney and Shet­land.

The group is cur­rently rais­ing funds for a se­cond he­li­copter, which will be based in the north-east.

The ma­jor­ity of emer­gen­cies at­tended by the char­ity’s dis­tinc­tive yel­low, blue and green air am­bu­lance were in Tay­side (28%) and High­land (34%).

Ninewells Hos­pi­tal in Dundee and the Queen El­iz­a­beth Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal in Glas­gow topped the ta­ble for the num­ber of vis­its by the SCAA team last year – each re­ceiv­ing pa­tients from 26% of all emer­gency re­sponses.

The sta­tis­tics also re­veal that of the 260 rapid air re­sponses made by the ser­vice last year, 105 were to se­ri­ous trauma emer­gen­cies. Some 55 of these in­volved road ac­ci­dents.

A to­tal of eight emer­gen­cies the SCAA re­sponded to in­volved in­fants, with a fur­ther 13 in­volv­ing chil­dren un­der the age of 12.

And 18% of call-outs in­volved car­diacre­lated ill­nesses and a fur­ther 12% in­volved a stroke.

The 2018 mis­sion log shows the busiest months were July and Au­gust, while Satur­days and Mon­days saw a greater de­mand for the ser­vice than through the week.

SCAA cur­rently op­er­ates one he­li­copter, an EC135-T2i, and one rapid re­sponse ve­hi­cle. How­ever, it has launched a fundrais­ing drive to raise the £6 mil­lion needed to buy a se­cond he­li­copter, which will be sta­tioned at Aberdeen.

SCAA chief ex­ec­u­tive David Craig re­flected on the value of the char­ity air am­bu­lance to Scot­land.

“There is no doubt that SCAA con­tin­ues to prove a vi­tal na­tion­wide as­set in terms of pre-hos­pi­tal care and, with the con­tin­ued gen­er­ous sup­port of the pub­lic, we can main­tain that life­sav­ing role into the fu­ture,” he said.

Pic­ture: Steve MacDougall.

The air am­bu­lance search­ing an area at Mil­ton of Drim­mie Farm, by Blair­gowrie.

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