Today, I visited the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust (KSSAT) to see for myself the incredible service provided by this great charity. I met with Adrian Bell, CEO, Helen Bowcock, Chair of Trustees, and some of the medics and pilots. I received a detailed briefing on how the service and Trust operate.
The air ambulances provide a vital service for the local area. Whereas normal ambulances take a patient to the Accident and Emergency Unit of a hospital, the air ambulances take vital equipment and paramedics to enable the patient to be treated where he or she is, saving minutes which can mean the difference between life and death. The air ambulances carry crucial equipment and blood supplies as well as being staffed by doctors and specially trained paramedics, who can treat people on site.
The air ambulances can fly at speeds of up to 150mph and reach any part of Kent, Surrey or Sussex in under 25 minutes. This time-critical factor, alongside specialist, fully-equipped helicopters, is crucial when dealing with major trauma care, including stroke victims who may require immediate treatment and then swift onward transport to a hospital to receive specialist treatment.
I was really thrilled to learn more about the Trust. Last year, I coordinated a team of Kent, Surrey and Sussex MPs supporting the Trust in their (successful) bid for £1 million of funding towards a new air ambulance. The funding comes from the LIBOR grant scheme, which pools fines levied on bankers from the rate-rigging scandal. You can read more about the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust here.