Life saving air ambulance takes to the skies

The paramedic team with David Garbutt, Chairman Scottish Ambulance Service, Health Minister Alex Neil and SCAA chairman John Bullough.
The paramedic team with David Garbutt, Chairman Scottish Ambulance Service, Health Minister Alex Neil and SCAA chairman John Bullough.

A life saving service which has been part funded by the generosity of Forfar and Kirriemuir residents was launched on Wednesday.

As reported in last week’s paper, local businesses have been commended for their support for their fundraising efforts, with Kirriemuir Rotary Club being the latest organisation to come forward with a donation for £170.

On the day the club enjoyed a talk from Gavin Davey of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance it held a hunger lunch with the proceeds gifted to the charity.

James Gray-Cheape has been busy in recent month travelling the area, talking to groups and promoting the service.

As Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance’s Ambassador to Forfar, Kirriemuir and the Angus Glens he has been able to reveal details of journey times that will be slashed in getting to paramedics to a casualty, and then getting the casualty to hospital.

One the eve of the service launching at Scone Airport on Wednesday, he said the aims of the SCCA were to save life, to preserve life, to increase survival rates and to assist with a speedy recovery.

If the incident is not time critical, then a land ambulance would be used.

The growth of the service would be dependant on fund-raising and, as a start, the service will operate in day-light hours only - 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mr Gray-Cheape said: “The ambulance service at the moment works very well. We are not trying to re-invent the wheel, just bolster it.”

He said the demand for the service was very apparent in the area when dealing with flooding, heavy snowfalls, landslides, agricultural accidents, woodland accidents, incidents and wind farms, hydro electric sties and with increased outdoor activities.

Most of Angus will be covered by the air ambulance service in 15 minutes, whilst a casualty could be reached in Glenshee by air in 13 minutes compared to 107 minutes by road and Glenisla nine minutes compared to 80 minutes by road.

It takes some £1.5 million to keep one of the air ambulances in operation to fund-raising was critical. The paramedics attend casualties are trained Scottish Ambulance Service paramedics.

There are two spaces in the ambulance for casualties.

The service at Scone will provide vital, life-saving emergency medical assistance across some of the most remote and dangerous areas of Scotland. Each year thousands of people across Scotland require air ambulance support due to their critical medical condition: in many of these incidents response and patient transfer times can be a matter of life or death. Visit www.scaa.org.uk for further details.