Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) has worked with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) and commissioners to launch a new Yorkshire Critical Care Team which will see 11 consultants in emergency medicine and anaesthesia working on the life-saving helicopter 12 hours a day, every day of the year.
The team will carry additional drugs as well as being able to perform emergency anaesthesia and life-saving surgical procedures at the scene of an incident.
Dr Andrew Pountney, Emergency Medicine Consultant at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, is clinical lead for the Yorkshire Critical Care Team.
He said: “We have had doctors flying with Yorkshire Air Ambulance on an ad hoc basis for over 10 years now.
“But thanks to this initiative we now have a dedicated and funded system to ensure that a consultant with appropriate training and experience in pre-hospital emergency medicine can respond every day of the year.”
The doctors, who have been seconded to Yorkshire Ambulance Service by their host trusts, will support the work of the YAA paramedics who have extended critical care skills, as well the physicians with the West Yorkshire Medic Response Team and British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS) who are tasked to respond by road to serious incidents.
Dr Pountney added: “This is about complementing the excellent service already provided by Yorkshire Air Ambulance paramedics and other frontline response teams.
“For the vast majority of the time the doctors will have a vital role providing support for the paramedics when they are using their extended skills.
“The doctors will also be able to make advanced clinical decisions and deliver critical care interventions very quickly, including pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia. There will be occasions when having an experienced doctor on board will mean that certain life-saving procedures can be done on scene.”
Yorkshire Air Ambulance serves 5 million people across Yorkshire and has carried more than 6,600 people in its 15-year history.
The charity has just placed an order for two, brand new state-of-the-art replacements for its current ageing aircraft – G-SASH and G-CEMS – that will take to the skies over Yorkshire later this year and in Spring 2017.
The latest generation Airbus H145 helicopters will give paramedics a much more modern medical fit-out to treat and transport often critically-injured patients.