Another informative presentation and from an organisation that can potentially and directly affect the safety of the entire population of the two counties of Lincs and Notts and as we heard, occasionally further afield.
Steve Ullyatt, himself a volunteer, held our attention for an hour last night describing why he supports the service. He considers the service personal insurance policy being a road user – motorist, motorcyclist, cyclist and pedestrian as all these groups are vulnerable and especially in such a large county as Lincolnshire where the distances by road to the nearest hospital are great.
Access to Trauma Centres
In our county, the time it takes to travel by road to a major trauma centre such as the QMC Nottingham, could be the difference between life and death. Any delay reduces the chances of recovery there being a short window of opportunity when crucial administration of life saving drugs can have a positive effect on outcome.
The nearest Trauma Centres for Adults and Children are in Addenbrooks Hospital Cambridge, Leeds General Infirmary, Queens Medical Centre Nottingham and for Adults the closest are Hull Royal Infirmary and Northern General Hospital Sheffield. Concentrated at these centres are experts in various specialties such as burns, neurology, cardiology who are able to care for patients involved in for example, road traffic collisions generally with multiple injuries. It has been demonstrated that these centres have four times improved survival rates however it is crucial that treatment begin within the critical 'Golden Hour' post injury. The Air Ambulance Service based at RAF Waddington can achieve this rapid transport thereby helping to increase survival rates and reduce the impact on families of collision and other victims of serious injury.
Waddington RAF Base provides a central location, high security and refuelling facilities for the Air Ambulance Service which covers 3470 square miles. The range of the current MD 902 Explorer, launched in 2000 is 300 miles between refuelling and with a current flying speed of 134 mph, means anyone for example in the Newark area could be admitted to the QMC in Nottingham in 11 minutes.
Helicopter and Crew
The craft is leased from Med Aviation Services the contract including the pilot, two paramedics and doctor. The training standards of the crew are at the highest level with equipment carried which includes night vision equipment essential considering the crew are available 12hrs a day, 7 days/week. The flight doctor, Dr Peter Holden, has a long list of achievements including a lifetime achievement award for his emergency care work. He is a GP in one of the top 4% of practices in the UK and has been involved with the service since 1998 having given voluntary service for over 17 years. Dr Holden has a wealth of experience in emergency medicine and he was one of the first on the scene of the bus bomb blast outside the BMA offices where he helped set up a field hospital to treat victims in the immediate aftermath of the explosion.
Funds raised annually in the order of £2.5 million by families and groups have ensured that the service can continue and a new larger Augusta Westland 169, is shortly to be put into service which will allow greater cabin space around the patient during transit and for any relative and extra emergency equipment to be carried. The Augusta is the service's first brand new craft and one of three certified by the CAA, Civil Aviation Authority. The flying speed of this unit is around 180 mph which will mean a quicker journey to the nearest hospital which is potentially a life saving difference.
As a token of our appreciation for the work the service does for Lincolnshire and beyond, we presented Steve with a donation of £100 towards the charity fund.
You can find out more about the work of the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance at http://www.ambucopter.org.uk