Sussex air ambulance teams up with SECAmb during pandemic

The Sussex air ambulance service is extending its role on the frontline response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Working in partnership with the NHS and South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb), Kent Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance (KSS) will transfer patients requiring critical care by land, with aircraft being used for the rapid delivery and recovery of the team.

KSS says it will continue to operate its primary service during this time.

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Although there has been a drop in major trauma incidents in recent weeks – linked to the reduction in road traffic, halting of higher risk industry and a decrease in leisure activities – there is still a national commitment to maintain the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) to save lives.

David Welch KSS CEO, said: “Our healthcare service is facing an unprecedented challenge, and it is vital we work together to ensure our individual experience and expertise are brought together for the greater good.

“I am completely humbled by the dedication and commitment that our crews have always shown and continue to show in these challenging times – they are a credit to KSS and to our nation who very much now need their support.”

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Mr Welch said, “The transfer of patients experiencing the most serious symptoms is incredibly complex. These transfers will be demanding, and the safety and wellbeing of our crews will remain a priority.

“I have every confidence in the excellence of our team and thank them for their unwavering commitment and professionalism as we evolve with a new service to support our NHS at this critical time.”

Mr Welch said KSS is currently exploring how COVID-19 patients could be transported safely by air, but this can only happen once it is are assured of the safety of crews and patients.

SECAmb medical director Dr Fionna Moore said: “I am pleased that we have further strengthened our already well-established links with our air ambulance service.

“This approach will benefit patients across our region as we rise to the challenges Covid-19 presents.

“As a charity, the air ambulance service relies on the generous support of the public and I would encourage anyone who is able to, to consider donating to fund this valuable service.”

KSS recently announced its outstanding CQC rating, having been scored outstanding in all five of its inspection key lines of enquiry. It is the first Helicopter Emergency Medical Service to achieve this top rating in all categories.

Its crews of pilots, doctors, and paramedics fly more than 2,500 missions a year, and it was the first, and only, UK Air Ambulance to operate its helicopters 24/7.

KSS is a registered charity and of the more than £14m needed to sustain the service each year, 89 per cent is raised by public donation and fundraising.

The charity is currently experiencing increased costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a decrease in income following the cancellation of vital fundraising events.

To support KSS, visit

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