Wiltshire Air Ambulance will be moving COVID-19 patients between hospitals to support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced today.
Up to five of the charity’s critical care paramedics will be seconded to the South West patient transfer service and the 300-bed pop-up hospital UWE Nightingale Hospital in Bristol.
But this is means Wiltshire Air Ambulance will temporarily alter their operational hours from two shifts covering 19 hours a day (8am-3am) to a single shift of 12 hours, running from 8am to 8pm.
Chief executive David Philpott said: “We commend the Critical Care Paramedics who have put themselves forward and volunteered for this particular service. This is very brave work indeed.
“They will either assist in the transfer service for COVID-19 patients between hospital ICUs (intensive care units) and the UWE Nightingale Hospital in Bristol when it opens, or they will work operationally on the frontline at the UWE Nightingale Hospital itself.
“Since the lockdown was introduced by the Government, there have been far fewer cars on the roads, city centres are quiet and bars, restaurants and hotels are all closed. Things have tended to be a lot quieter outside of core hours.
“With the quieter nights and fewer paramedics available, we have made the decision that, subject to the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the helicopter will fly a single shift for 12 hours a day from 8am to 8pm. That way we provide maximum effectiveness during this national emergency.”
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