A new air ambulance has taken to the skies as Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) launches its second life-saving emergency response helicopter.
The only charity of its type in Scotland has operated a single aircraft nationwide HEMS since 2013 from its base at Perth airport, impacting on thousands of lives. Now the charity has doubled its capability with a second helicopter service (callsign Helimed 79) launched from an additional base at Aberdeen International Airport. Helimed 79 is an EC135 T2E operated by Babcock MCS Onshore.
Together, the charity's two air ambulances will cover the whole of Scotland, working alongside two government-funded helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft, all tasked through the country's 999 emergency response service.
John Bullough, founding chairman of SCAA, describes the launch as a ‘major milestone' for the charity: “There's never been a more crucial time for additional emergency pre-hospital care resources in Scotland, and SCAA is proud to be able to strengthen the country's air ambulance fleet. Within seven years, this relatively young charity has been able to sustain one helicopter and then fund a second, which is a remarkable achievement for everyone involved, not least the public, whose generous support funds our entire life-saving service.
“During these difficult times, the demands on frontline emergency services has never been greater, and we hope the public will continue to support us, ensuring that, with the launch of Helimed 79, we can fly more care, more quickly, to more people wherever the need arises in Scotland. We wish Helimed 79, her long-serving stablemate Helimed 76 and their experienced and professional crews safe flying in the years to come."
Tom Steele, chair of the Scottish Ambulance Service, welcomes the arrival of the country's latest air ambulance: “SCAA has proved a vital component in the 999 emergency response network, responding to nearly 2,500 emergencies since the charity launched. Working very closely with the Scottish Ambulance Service, SCAA has saved many lives, especially in the more remote and rural areas of Scotland, and a second helicopter will add very significant capability to the entire Scottish air ambulance fleet, bringing fast medical care to sick and injured patients as well as quick life-saving transport to hospital if required.”
SCAA chief executive David Craig points out that the new air ambulance asset is launching in unprecedented and challenging times: “The need for air ambulance resources in Scotland is proven and we stand ready to deploy Helimed's 79 and 76 as and when they are required by the Scottish Ambulance Service. Our new air response asset in Aberdeen will serve not only the northeast but the whole of Scotland as and when required during these difficult times and into the future."
Director of Babcock's onshore business, Hayley Belmore, said: “It's a real honour to be working with our partner SCAA to bring this new air ambulance service, Helimed 79, to Scotland. We are looking forward to helping SCAA deliver a truly lifesaving service to people and communities across Scotland.”