Gama Aviation has opened a purpose-built base at Glasgow airport to support its contract with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS). The base will house Scotland's national specialist transport and retrieval service SCOTSTAR for critically ill NHS patients and will be the first time anywhere in the UK that a country's national retrieval services will operate from a single, central base.
SCOTSTAR brings together the Scottish Neonatal Service, the Transport of Critically Ill and Injured Children Service and the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, alongside the SAS which co-ordinates the teams. The result is an integrated national service with a multidisciplinary medical and clinical team, making use of a range of specialist aircraft and ground vehicles.
Gama Aviation has carried out air operations for the SAS since 1993 with its current contract, which was renewed in June 2012 and is due to run until 2020. The number of flights operated by the company has grown annually: last year Gama carried out 491 missions out of a total of 2,654 cases handled by SCOTSTAR.
The operator currently flies two King Air 200C turboprops based at Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, along with two EC145T2 helicopters located in Glasgow and Inverness. This core fleet is supplemented when required by a fleet of Super Pumas based in Shetland and Aberdeen.
Says regional manager Ryan McGrath: "The contract with the Scottish Ambulance Service covers some of the most important missions we undertake as they can literally be a matter of life or death. Our investment in the new base will allow for a seamless incident response and patient transfer which is a bespoke service for Scotland. This highlights the advantage to our clients of pairing their own capabilities with our external aviation expertise to deliver a high quality, cost effective service."