Flying paramedics to be airborne longer

First published in Search

PEOPLE involved in serious incidents could benefit after the County Air Ambulance announced it is to extend its operational hours.

Flight crews currently provide a 12-hour service from their base at Strensham Services but they will work an extra two hours every day from Thursday, May 1.

Meanwhile, at RAF Cosford a shift system will be introduced with two teams of pilots, paramedics and doctors working a 16-hour a day.

In readiness for the extended service, the helicopter bases are being equipped with new landing lights required for night flying.

It is also hoped helicopter pad lighting will be installed near each of its major receiving hospitals.

Operations manager Ian Clayton said patients will benefit from the fact crews will be able to respond to serious incidents at times when they previously could not fly.

"Part of our work will also focus on the rapid transfer of patients between specialist hospitals in the region, with some critically ill casualties being airlifted during the hours of darkness," he said.

County Air Ambulance airlifts over 3,500 patients each year.

It costs about £24-a-minute to keep the aircraft flying, and the charity relies solely on voluntary donations to raise £5.6m needed every year to ensure the service continues to save lives across the region.

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