Q: Hi Steve. Thanks for taking the time out for a chat. How has this current crisis affected your ability to attend incidents?
A: WAA is part of the Welsh strategic response to the pandemic and attends incidents as normal, whether Covid 19 related or not. It must be remembered that our aim is not just to transport casualties but to get hospital standard equipment, highly skilled consultants and critical care staff to an incident as quickly as possible. It is in effect like taking the hospital to the patient. As Wales has such a rural landscape our input is a huge advantage compared to travelling to an incident by road.
Q: Has the current situation meant that you have been asked to form extra roles such as transporting PPE equipment?
A: Our role will always be directly focused on the treatment of patients. In the coming weeks we will be guided by NHS Wales as to the best use of our resources and medics to support the Welsh medical response to this pandemic. As well as working for the Wales Air Ambulance, our consultants are on the COVID-19 frontline in hospitals and some of our critical care practitioners have been using their skills in hospital ITUs.
Q: Wouldn’t carrying a Covid 19 patient or one showing symptoms render the helicopter out of action for long lengths of time?
A: Our medics will escort these patients to hospital in a land ambulance. This is for safety reasons and to avoid our aircraft being taken offline for deep cleaning.
Q: How is the current situation likely to affect the financing of the Service?
A: In terms of the Charity, many of the ways we raise funds involve face-to-face public events and includes the public support of our shops. Quite rightly, events have been cancelled and our shops have closed as we all play our part to protect society. This will mean a significant decrease in the money that we can raise to maintain our lifesaving service.
Signing up for our Lifesaving Lottery will help us to raise funds and www.walesairambulance.com has details of how online donations can be made. Some of our supporters are coming up with innovative ways to fundraise at home. Alternatively a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.
For more on the introduction of consultants and critical care practitioners onto our helicopters please visit https://www.walesairambulance.com/news/wales-air-ambulance-marks-five-years-as-consultant-led-service.
Lastly, on behalf of Wales Air Ambulance I would like to thank Rally Organisers, Competitors and Rally Fans for their tremendous support through the Rally Challenge and to sponsors Independent Paint Supplies. Keeping the profile of the Charity high in the minds of the public is an important factor in helping us to continue providing this vital service.