Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal Visits Redhill Aerodrome Marking 30 Years of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex


Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited Redhill Aerodrome on Tuesday (4th February 2020) to meet the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (AAKSS) team and view the new technology and training facilities that will allow the AW169 aircraft to operate in weather conditions where it is currently not possible and the crew to deliver more inflight patient care.

Her Royal Highness’ visit coincides with the 30th Anniversary of AAKSS.  Founded in 1989, AAKSS serves 4.8 million residents across South East England and is a world leader in the provision of helicopter emergency medical services. 

It is the only air ambulance service in the UK to fly 24 hours a day and seven days a week.  Since its inception it has treated more than 30,000 patients.

 Left to Right: Dr Helen Bowcock OBE, DL, Chair of Trustees Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex,  David Welch Chief Exec AAKSS introducing HRH The Princess Royal to Leigh Curtis, Executive Director of Service Delivery AAKSS and Professor Richard Lyon MBE.  Far right: paramedics and pilots of AAKSS.

AAKSS is renowned for leading in the research and innovation of pre-hospital emergency care.  From the introduction of new medical techniques, design of the medical interior helicopter cabin to the introduction of a new operational model the team continuously strives to improve patient outcomes.

David Welch, Chief Executive of AAKSS said “We are extremely grateful to Her Royal Highness for visiting us today and helping to put the spotlight on our Air Ambulance service.’

“We have a fantastic, highly skilled team who are always looking for new ways to provide even better service and care and over the last 30 years the team here has helped pioneer some very significant advancements in operations and emergency medicine which has provided significant benefits for the patients. ‘

“The very nature of our service means we respond to seriously injured or ill patients who require high levels of specialist care. ‘

“Often these patients are a considerable distance from a major trauma centre so it is hugely important that when our medical crew arrive at the scene they are equipped to provide the best possible pre-hospital emergency care they can.

HRH The Princess Royal meets members of the AAKSS medical team providing a medical demonstration.  Pictured from left to right: Dr Helen Bowcock OBE, DL, Chair of Trustees Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex,  David Welch Chief Exec AAKSS and HRH The Princess Royal.

“Amongst our latest innovations we have recently introduced a time critical transfer services, as part of this process we commissioned a unique custom-built simulator which replicates the interior of the new AW169 aircraft allowing us to train our team to take full advantage of the new aircraft cabin, including the ability to perform critical interventions and treat patients inflight.   ‘

“Over the last 30 years, AAKSS has been on an incredible journey and achieved so much however, we still have an ambitious vision which is to continue to introduce innovation to our service that ultimately results in us delivering best in class emergency services, saving more lives and improving many more patient outcomes.”

The Princess Royal completed the visit by unveiling a plaque to mark the 30th anniversary and meet some of the volunteers, fundraisers and patrons of the charity. 

Her Royal Highness was presented with a bouquet of flowers by former patient Jim Hardwick and his two daughters Primrose (6) and Mabel (4).

For further information visit: www.aakss.org.uk.

MDA Extends the Deployment of Defibrillators in the North of Israel


Twelve MDA CPR stands were posted in various communities in the north of the country in the past month, including Yarka, Rameh, Arraba, Yanuh-Jat, Granot HaGalil, Arab al-Aramshe, Sha’ab, Kabul, Peki’in, Deir al-Asad, Kaukab Abu al-Hijaand and  Hurfeish.

In addition to a defibrillator, in each stand there are also two EpiPen injectors for life-saving in the event of a severe allergy attack.

In each of the communities, between 10 to 20 residents were trained to be Life Guardians at Magen David Adom.

They have been trained and connected to the MDA First Responders App, so that in the event of a life-threatening case, such as cardiac arrest or anaphylactic shock, near them, they will be alerted and able to provide life-saving medical care until the ambulance arrives.

MDA is continuing to install CPR stands and training Life Guardians in the north of the country, and in the coming weeks defibrillators will be installed in ten other communities.

Senior EMT Sameeh Abd Elkader, who has instructed the Life Guardians in the communities, explained: “Providing an initial medical response in as short time as possible is critical to saving lives in various cases, such as cardiac arrest and an acute allergy attack.’

“The twelve resuscitation stands and one hundred and fifty Life Guardians we trained will improve the initial medical response in communities, in the first and critical minutes until the arrival of MDA teams.”

MDA Director General Eli Bin added: “Expanding the placing of defibrillators in communities in the North of the country is real news for the public.’

“In the event that a person suffers from cardiac arrest and collapses, civilians, even without medical knowledge, will be able to be guided by paramedics at MDA’s 101 Emergency Line, quickly bring the device and give the patient a life-saving electric shock.’

“This is in the first and critical minutes until the arrival of MDA teams. This is an important collaboration of the Ministry of Health, Magen David Adom and the communities, whose entire purpose is to improve the medical response in cases where every minute can make the difference between death and return to life. “

MDA Stand Set Up At Ben Gurion Airport to Check Passengers Returning From China


A dedicated Health Ministry stand, operated by MDA, has been operating at Ben Gurion Airport since the weekend.

At this stand, arriving passengers who have been in China within the previous 14 days, or who have come into contact with those who have recently been in China, are given a medical check.

This is part of the actions taken to prevent the Corona Virus from arriving in Israel. Leaflets given out to these passengers instruct them to attend the stand where Magen David Adom EMTs and Paramedics then carry out medical checks and question the passengers in accordance with Health Ministry protocols.

Magen David Adom is coordinating with the Health Ministry, the Israeli government and all relevant authorities who are dealing with this issue. MDA General Manager Eli Bin participated in a meeting about the crisis that was led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“MDA EMTs and Paramedics question and perform medical checks on the passengers who arrive at the stand, according to clear guidelines as provided by the Health Ministry. If necessary, passengers are then referred for further treatment by Health Ministry staff,” explained Deputy General Manager Dr Refael Strugo.

MDA Director General Eli Bin added: “We in Magen David Adom responded to the call by the Health Ministry, and since the weekend have placed EMTs and Paramedics at the dedicated stand at Ben Gurion Airport, 24 hours a day.’

“We are following the instructions of the Health Ministry and are fully prepared along with the government and other authorities to prevent further spread of the Corona virus.”

This safety measure follows a delivery of 2000 masks and 200 full protection kits including special suits, masks, glasses, shoes and hats covers (pictured right) from MDA to fourteen Chabad-based branches across China following a request from the Chabad organisation.

The shipment arrived to Hong-Kong last week on February 3rd, along with a Chabad Shaliach who will distribute the equipment.

New £8m ambulance station for Cardiff will boost productivity


A MULTI-MILLION pound new ambulance station is coming to Cardiff, it was announced today.

The Welsh government is investing £8 million in a state-of-the-art facility in the capital’s Pontprennau area, which will be the new home for emergency and non-emergency crews currently based in Blackweir. 

Emergency crews will collect their vehicles from the new station at the start of their shift and some will take up positions at deployment points across the city.

Left to Right: Catherine Darer (Area Operations Manager) Vaughan Gething (Health Minister) and Robert Brunnock (Locality Manager)

Dedicated Fleet Assistants will clean and re-stock vehicles in the station’s ‘Make Ready Depot’, enabling frontline crews are more readily available to respond to emergencies.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething was in Blackweir Ambulance Station to make the announcement.

He said: “This investment in the Welsh Ambulance Service shows our commitment to driving improvements in response times following my announcement last week of plans to increase ambulance availability through a Ministerial Taskforce.

Staff from the service at the announcement including Chief Executive Jason Killens (second right) at Blackweir Ambulance Station with Health Minister, Vaughan Gething

“The new station will give space for vehicles to be cleaned and restocked by a dedicated team, a job previously undertaken by ambulance crews, to enable frontline staff to be more readily available to respond to patients in the community.” 

A business case for the new premises was put together in full consultation with staff and Trade Union partners whilst a re-configuration of the industrial park’s Merton House has been led by the Cardiff-based Lawray Architects.

Renovations of the Merton House building on Avenue Industrial Park in Pontprennau will begin in May and take around a year to complete.

Chris Turley, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Interim Executive Director of Finance and ICT, said: “We welcome and thank the Minister for his investment in our new station.’

“This is the culmination of a number of years of planning and is a major step towards us finally vacating Blackweir station, which crews will agree is outdated and not fit for purpose.’

“We’re especially excited about the Make Ready Depot, which will enable our crews to access clean and fully stocked vehicles at all times, and thus spend more time in the community with patients — not to mention improving infection control.”

Vaughan Gething (Health Minister) in conversation with Alan Thomas (Locality Manager). In the background, Robert Brunnock (Locality Manager) stands on the left and Mark Cadman (Area Operations Manager) stands to the right

Robert Brunnock, the Trust’s Locality Manager in Cardiff, added: “It’s taken quite some time to progress this development, so we’re thrilled to be entering the next stages of acquisition and construction. 

“We would like to thank all who have been involved to date and look forward to progressing this modern and fully integrated facility for a leading ambulance service that serves the communities of Wales.”

Blackweir station’s fleet workshop will remain for the time being while a separate business case is developed with Welsh Government for consideration.

Survival Rate in London for Cardiac Arrests That Happen Away from Hospitals Reaches All-Time High


The proportion of people surviving a cardiac arrest that happens outside of a hospital setting has reached its highest level of 10.8 per cent — twice the rate it was a decade ago.

Figures published by London Ambulance Service also show that when a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) was used by a bystander and at least one shock was delivered to patients, the survival rate was more than five times higher (57.1 per cent).

Ambulance bosses today renewed calls for people to get life-saving training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use a defibrillator. However they also emphasised that even those who have not been trained should still use a PAD if there is one available. The device gives users clear instructions and can only increase a person’s chances of survival.

And with around 70 per cent of cardiac arrests taking place in the home and half being witnessed by a bystander, quick intervention could mean the difference between life and death for a family member or friend.

Dr Fenella Wrigley, Chief Medical Officer at London Ambulance Service, said:

“I want to recognise the work of everyone who has helped us achieve this highest ever survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests — from the bystanders who call us for help, attempt CPR and where possible use a defibrillator, through to our call handlers, our teams who prepare the ambulances and equipment and frontline clinicians who arrive at the scene to deliver care.

“The key to a patient surviving a cardiac arrest is for them to receive basic life support as quickly as possible, including chest compressions and the use of a defibrillator.

“There are increasing numbers of Public Access Defibrillators across London. People can use them even if they have not had training by following the instructions on how to attach the defibrillator pads and the device will then talk you through each step.

“I also really want to emphasise that members of the public can never do a patient any harm by using a defibrillator — it simply assesses the patient’s heart rhythm and will only deliver a shock if it is needed. When you use a defibrillator you are only ever improving that person’s chances of survival.”

Family Thank Lifesavers After Dad’s Heart Stops


A father of three and his family have been reunited with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) team and hotel staff who saved his life when his heart stopped beating.

Carl Botham, 53, collapsed and stopped breathing at the Swindon Marriott Hotel.

Staff realised he needed urgent treatment, so they called 999 and began resuscitation.

Paramedics used a defibrillator to restart Carl’s heart, and transported him to hospital in a critical condition.

Carl regained consciousness four days later, and has gone on to make a fantastic recovery.

Carl, his wife Lorna, and their three children made a special trip from their Stafford home to the hotel on Thursday 30 January to thank the staff and paramedics in person.

(left to right): SWASFT Paramedics Hannah Bennett and Helen Harris, Lorna Botham, Swindon Marriott Head Chef Andrew James, Alfie and Carl Botham, SWASFT Paramedic Helen Eggleton, Former Leisure Club Manager Chris Wood, George and Nichola Botham.

Carl, who has no memory of the incident, said: “I’m thankful to still be alive, and to everyone who was involved in saving me. They did an amazing job, and I cannot thank them enough.

“Without their actions, I would have missed my daughter’s wedding in August and I wouldn’t be here today.”

Carl was working as an electrical contractor when the incident happened in the hotel’s kitchen on 17 April. He cut his head in the fall and was unconscious.

Chris Wood, who was then Leisure Club Manager and First Aid Tutor, did an initial assessment and began treatment.

Head Chef, Andrew James, called 999 and spoke to Emergency Medical Dispatcher Jonathan Leaton who guided him through the basic life support procedure.

Andrew and Chris did CPR and mouth-to-mouth for several minutes, while Clinical Dispatcher Carl Hodgson organised for crews to attend.

Lead Paramedic Arron Dalby and Paramedic Officer Rich Carter were first on scene within five minutes of the call. They were joined by Paramedic Hannah Bennett and Student Paramedic Helen Harris two minutes later. They were later supported by Senior Paramedic Helen Eggleton and a Wiltshire Air Ambulance crew.

The team continued CPR and gave Carl three shocks with a defibrillator to resuscitate him.

They transported him by ambulance to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon where he was put on a life support machine and remained for more than two weeks.

Lorna said: “I received the worst phone call ever from Carl’s employer. We left Stafford with just what we had on us to be with him.

“We never thought this would happen, especially when Carl was away from home. But we’re so grateful to everyone involved in saving Carl’s life. They were amazing.”

Carl was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to regulate his abnormal heart rhythm. He continued his recovery at home and has since returned to work.

Lead Paramedic Arron said: “Carl survived a cardiac arrest because of the immediate and effective actions from those on scene. Without their intervention his outcome would have been different.

“They laid a great foundation for SWASFT to continue resuscitation and utilise our advanced treatment, and they deserve much praise.

“This was an ultimate team effort from bystanders, ambulance staff and air ambulance staff. It’s incredible to be involved in making such a huge difference for a patient.

“Carl is living proof that people can and do survive cardiac arrests, if they are given the right treatment at the right time. We’re delighted about this outcome for Carl and his family.”

Mobile mental health unit expands London-wide to help improve care for patients


A pioneering scheme that pairs up mental health professionals with medics in response cars to ensure those with mental health needs get the right treatment is helping ease pressure on the NHS this winter.

For 13 weeks, five cars staffed by mental health nurses from NHS trusts around the capital and paramedics from London Ambulance Service will treat the physical and mental health needs of patients together.

The emphasis will be on linking mental health patients with the most appropriate treatment, including referrals to specialist care, and only taking them to A&E where this is necessary such as when accompanied by a physical condition.

The fleet is an expansion of a mental health car service launched in south-east London in November 2018 and will help alleviate pressure traditionally faced by the NHS in the final winter months.

The original service is estimated to have helped around 2,000 people suffering with mental health issues in the past year, with initial findings suggesting that the scheme could halve the 60,000 annual mental health hospital admissions each year.

The South East London pilot saw the proportion of patients taken to A&E more than halved from around 52 per cent to 18 per cent as more patients were treated effectively in their own homes or received other appropriate care.

Dr Trisha Bain, chief quality officer at London Ambulance Service, who has responsibility for mental health services, said:

“A&E is not always the right place for someone experiencing a mental health crisis, and can even be stressful or traumatising.

“This pioneering service is helping to ensure we provide the right and best possible care for people with mental health issues and is one of a number of ways we are safely reducing the number of people taken to hospital unnecessarily.

“Winter is traditionally a busy time for the National Health Service and this boost to our successful service will help us further refine how we deliver these services in London.”

Martin Machray, Interim Chief Nurse for the NHS in London, said:

“Patients experiencing health crises often need the support and knowledge of a mental health professional as well as a paramedic.

“By treating both their physical and mental health needs, we can provide a better and more rounded care approach – and I am proud that London is leading the way with this wonderful project.”

The roll out is a significant boost to current staffing with 15 new nurses from nine mental health trusts in London and 15 London Ambulance Service paramedics delivering the service until the end of April.

Matthew Trainer, Chief Executive at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust which is one of the mental health trusts providing nurses for the project, further commented:

“There aren’t many cases where someone with a mental health problem will benefit from being taken to a busy A&E by ambulance. We want to get the right care to people in the right place as quickly as we can. The mental health cars are helping us do that.”

It has been made possible by winter resilience funding of £350,000 from NHS London to secure the additional nurses while London Ambulance Service has provided the vehicles and additional paramedics.

The lessons of this winter’s temporary pan-London roll-out will be used to inform and plan the future of this Service.

New Lifesaving ATV to Aid Gush Shiloh Residents


United Hatzalah of Israel dedicated its newest all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to serve the residents of the Gush Shiloh area, which is the next step in fulfilling their promise to add more lifesaving vehicles and first responders to Judea and Samaria.

The dedication ceremony took place on Monday in the town of Adei Ad, slightly northeast of Shiloh itself. 

The ATV will provide first response emergency service to medical emergencies as well as search and rescue emergencies in the region known as Gush Shiloh. It is capable of transporting a patient through difficult terrain, particularly in mountainous and forested areas. 

The new ATV in Gush Shiloh

Regional Council Head of Binyamin Yisrael Gantz participated in the ceremony together with President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer.

The two drove the vehicle across the region and spoke about continuing partnerships in providing lifesaving services to the residents of the area. 

The dedication came just two weeks after dozens of new United Hatzalah volunteers graduated from their training course and became first responders, adding more emergency medical coverage to the region.  

During the ceremony, Beer stated: “I am very proud to be here. There is an incredible amount of activity going on here that is being done by incredible people. Here, in Shiloh, the city where the Tabernacle resided, this is where everything began.’

Eli Beer, President & Founder, United Hatzalah

“It is a great pride to United Hatzalah that we have an incredible chapter in the Binyamin region, one which is strengthened by the Head of the Council Yisrael Gantz, who is one of our veteran volunteers in the region.” 

Gantz told Beer: “I pray that the new vehicle and gear which we received this morning from United Hatzalah will be used for good things only, and will help save many lives.’

“I wish to thank United Hatzalah for this significant donation of this new ATV to our region, and for continuing to assist all of the residents who live here.’

“It is to our merit that we have people like you (Eli Beer) who give everything of themselves to protect the lives of others in Israel and around the world.’

“I also want to thank the volunteers themselves who work tirelessly to ensure the safety of others, both in the Binyamin region and across the country. Anyone who gives of themselves to help others is a truly righteous person.”  

The new ATV in Gush Shiloh

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Menachem Bakush who will be entrusted with the day-to-day operation of the vehicle.

Bakush said: “For a long time we have dreamed of having an ATV such as this here in the region. This vehicle is capable of reaching patients in areas where regular cars and ambulances cannot go.’

“It will help us save many lives. In fact, we already used it yesterday in responding to an emergency in the area and it proved incredibly useful.’

“I have no doubt that we will help many people with this. I want to thank everyone involved who is working to help improve the emergency medical services in the Binyamin region.”  

A Young Girl’s Dream


Less than two years ago Maya Reooveny (10) of Gedera, sadly lost her little sister, Inbar, who was herself just 6 and a half years old.

At the beginning of the school year, Maya joined the “Tayeset” (squadron) program to develop and adopt leadership among youth of the The Ramon Foundation. With their help, she was able to strengthen her self-confidence and various other skills.

Maya receives a tour of the ambulances from Haim

When Yifat Azriel, Maya’s counselor, heard about her dream of becoming a life-saver, she embarked on a mission to join Maya with MDA in order to allow her, at a young age, to be exposed to the world of medical care for sick patients and those injured in the State of Israel.

Last week, Maya arrived at the national operation dispatch center of Magen David Adom in Kiryat Ono. She was given a tour of the ambulances, including the intensive care unit and the MDA 101 Emergency Dispatch Center.

She also had the opportunity to meet the EMTs and paramedics who do what she dreams of doing: saving lives. Haim Karadi, Director of the Lachish region, guided Maya through the tour, whilst providing her with a personal first aid lesson.

“I have always loved helping people,” Maya explained. “The day that Inbar collapsed, my mother and I went to the hospital. I happened to pass by the room where they were performing CPR, and the door was opened. I saw her connected to a whole bunch of machines, and then the door closed.’

Maya Reooveny and Haim Karadi, Director of MDA’s Lachish region, at the MDA 101 Dispatch Center

“The medical field has always interested me, but since that day, it has grown to be more and more. It is important for me to know what to do in these situations and not to be helpless.’

“I had an amazing experience with MDA. I learned a lot from Haim, and all about the technology that is being used in the MDA dispatch center.”

Yifat Azriel of The Ramon Foundation said, “Our motto in the ‘Tayeset’ program is: ‘To dream, to dare, to inspire.’ When I realized that Maya’s dream was to care for people, I approached MDA, who promptly responded to my request, and together we were able to provide her with a taste into the world of medicine and life-saving, which is so intriguing to her.’

Maya and Haim at MDA’s 101 Dispatch Center

Haim Karadi, Director of MDA’s Lachish region commented on his appreciation of acting as Maya’s guide for the day, stating: “It is not every day that you get the privilege to meet such a mature and smart girl, genuinely willing to help people and to save lives, already from such a young age.’

“It was an honor to teach Maya, and to show her the world of medical care that interests her so much.”

St John Ambulance Joins the Independent Ambulance Association


The Independent Ambulance Association is pleased to welcome newest addition as St John Ambulance joins the IAA, having passed all vetting and background checks required for membership, including the requirements of the Care Quality Commission.

St John Ambulance is assessed against the same criteria as UK Ambulance Trusts by the Care Quality Commission, including the additional checks required for those organisations providing a 999-emergency service.

Alan Howson, Executive Chairman, IAA

Alan Howson, Executive Chairman of the IAA comments: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome St John Ambulance as Members of the Association. St John Ambulance enjoys an excellent and deserved reputation for providing ambulance and community-based services.’

“Having participated in one of their National Operation Meetings I was struck by the dedication and passion of the staff to their work and their commitment to ensuring high standards of care and service delivery.

Craig Harman, National Ambulance & Community Response Director, St John Ambulance

As the largest independent ambulance provider in England, St John Ambulance brings a wealth of experience of ambulance provision and training standards, and we look forward to them playing a full role in the work of the Association going forward.”  

Craig Harman, National Ambulance & Community Response Director, St John Ambulance adds: “As a national ambulance service, we understand the challenges of delivering ambulance care right across the country.’

Joining the Independent Ambulance Association enables us to share our experience and to work in partnership to drive continuous improvement in the services and care provided by ambulance clinicians. Working together will help us deliver on our strategic intent to drive standards in the independent ambulance sector and within event medicine.”