TVAA, May 12, 2015 - Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) welcomed HRH The Countess of Wessex to RAF Benson, Oxfordshire to officially open the upgraded operational base and Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) training facility on Monday 11th May.
Meeting current crews, trainee air ambulance paramedics and emergency medical doctors undertaking pre-hospital training, The Countess of Wessex had the opportunity to view demonstrations of advanced on-scene patient care.
Since 2000, medical innovations on board TVAA have advanced from basic medical kits to a full range of life-saving equipment. TVAA was the first air ambulance in the country to carry an I-Stat machine used for immediate blood analysis helping to shave off valuable seconds in the golden hour.
The air ambulance team is able to deliver an advanced level of critical care to stabilise patients, identify their medical needs and get them to the most appropriate hospital for specialist care in the quickest time possible.
Sir Tim Jenner, TVAA Chairman of Trustees said: “TVAA is pushing the boundaries of medical intervention, helicopter aviation and on-scene patient care to deliver a unique life-saving service to patients, where and when it is needed most.
“It was a privilege to welcome The Countess of Wessex for a private tour of our upgraded air crew base and demonstrate to HRH how our innovative air ambulance service is saving lives across the counties of Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
“The new purpose-built facility has a custom built training room to ensure the most advanced trauma and emergency medical expertise is on board, with upgraded accommodation facilities for the air crew.”
The upgraded base is the first step towards introducing other major enhancements to the air ambulance service later this year. The launch of a new helicopter specially equipped for night operations will enable TVAA to extend its hours of coverage and enable its medical crews to respond to more emergency calls, saving more lives
Sir Tim added: “The next two years pave an exciting path for our service. The new base provides the foundations for increasing the capability of the air ambulance as we look to undertake night operations. The move into Night HEMS will be a major step change for TVAA enabling the helicopter and crew to bring their life-saving care to the most seriously injured or most seriously
ill people by night as well as by day.”
HRH was also introduced to former patients, including Georgie Horlock who, at 24, had a cardiac arrest at Bicester Village last November, as well as members of the air crew, fundraising staff, volunteers and donors that support the service.
Georgie said: “I can’t thank Thames Valley Air Ambulance enough for all they did to help save my life. I was informed of the severity of a cardiac arrest and how essential it is
to have medical treatment as soon as possible. It was thanks to the expertise and advanced medical equipment that the air ambulance brought to the scene that I am not only alive today, but also have fully recovered months later with no brain damage.
“None of this would have been possible without the generosity of the public who fund this life-saving service and it was an absolute privilege to come back to the base today.”