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Capital Air Ambulance

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Capital Aviation beats 11 rivals to land three-year aeromedical contract
UK-based Capital Aviation has won a three-year contract to provide the Channel Island of Jersey with aeromedical charter services.

UK-based Capital Aviation has won a three-year contract to provide the Channel Island of Jersey with aeromedical charter services.

Capital Aviation, which operates a total of eight PA31 Chieftains and Super King Airs, utilises the Lifeport Patient Loading System which is fitted in both types of aircraft. "This combination of aircraft and equipment allows us to safely and cost-effectively carry all types of patient, including neonatal and other paediatric patients and the attending medical staff in the most cost-effective manner," says Capt. Malcolm Humphries who launched the company in 1991. "Our service consciously addresses the issue of whether patients with specific medical conditions can support pressurised transfer or not."

He adds: "The company is proud and delighted to have won this highly prestigious contract and we are continuing to work with the Jersey health and social services department to provide a patient transfer regime which we believe will help to save even more lives and provide the ultimate in medical air transfer."

The department says it has worked hard to consolidate and formalise the aeromedical requirements for the transfer of Jersey patients to and from the UK. It says that 3,500 to 4,000 seats are booked annually on scheduled flights so that patients can attend hospitals in the U.K. for planned and elective care, including some outpatient consultations. For patients that are unable to travel scheduled, normally those whose condition is acute or already an emergency, the only option is private charter or air ambulance flights.

In 2001, 94 charter flights were used to transfer patients to and from Jersey but this increased to 238 flights in 2007 and around 300 in 2008. "It is anticipated that there will be year-on-year growth in this area," the department adds.

A working party was formed in 2004 to explore and develop Jersey's aeromedical transfer service with particular focus on charter flights. The working party determined that Jersey needed a service that was more responsive, cost-effective and developed around the specific needs of the island. It was decided to appoint a single charter aircraft operator.

"Since then a tendering process has taken place, which attracted interest from 12 aeromedical companies. This number was gradually reduced through a rigorous process and led to Capital Aviation being awarded a three-year contract," the department says. Capital Aviation has provided air charter, including aeromedical services, into and out of Jersey for over 17 years.

The department says: "The high quality of Capital Aviation's services, personnel, aircraft, maintenance standards and safety procedures - together with its ability to meet the fast turnaround times required by the nature of transferring critically ill patients - were all key factors in the company's appointment."

Andrew Woodward, consultant for anaesthesia and critical care, says: "The new processes and the close working relationship with Capital Aviation is allowing the development of a state-of-the-art regime delivering the best possible care for Jersey patients and which we believe will become the benchmark for patient transfers across Europe."

The company's major charter focus is medium haul, into and around Europe for executive charter and air ambulance. Its operating bases in Jersey, Exeter and Plymouth are well placed to service demand to destinations ranging from France and Belgium to Greece and Ireland, Capt. Humphries says.

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