London’s Air Ambulance, the charity that delivers a 24/7 advanced trauma team to critically injured people in London, has unveiled its new fleet of ŠKODA Octavia vRS Estate rapid response cars.
Bringing uniformity to the London’s Air Ambulance fleet, the new cars will now sport the same red livery as its iconic helicopter, and are emblazoned with high visibility Battenberg strips which are required on emergency vehicles.
The charity, which celebrates 25 years of saving lives this year, has worked with ŠKODA for a number of years to ensure its rapid response vehicles meet the needs of the service.
The Octavia vRS Estate with its 1,740 litres of space, can accommodate more equipment and medicine which is needed as result of the development of London's Air Ambulance service.
The fleet will typically operate at night, in adverse weather conditions or as back up in major incidents.
The cars patrol across central London so they are in prime position to be dispatched at any time. Dispatch occurs from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) control room by a London’s Air Ambulance paramedic, who monitors the 5,000 medical 999 calls that are received by LAS each day.
Precision driving by an advanced trauma paramedic and the navigation skills of the advanced trauma doctor ensures the crew of two get to a patient as quickly and as safely as possible.
London’s Air Ambulance has its own vocational driving licence, enabling the team to drive safely and expediently under blue light conditions during the day or night.
The advanced trauma team works alongside London’s Ambulance Service clinicians to deliver lifesaving care at the scene, performing additional procedures that are normally only found in the hospital emergency department – including open heart surgery, blood transfusion and anaesthesia.
Once the patient has been treated, the team will identify the hospital that can provide the most appropriate care for their injuries. The doctor will accompany them in a land ambulance.
The charity’s Physician Response Unit (PRU) also has a new ŠKODA Superb 4x4 Estate, which will act as a back up trauma car in adverse weather conditions.
Two new ŠKODA Yeti crossovers, which support the charity's fundraising activities, have also had the makeover.
Graham Hodgkin, chief executive officer at London’s Air Ambulance, said: “While the helicopter is the most efficient way of delivering this care within minutes, our rapid response cars are also an important part of London’s emergency infrastructure.
"They provide continuity of service through delivering the same team, with the same equipment, who can perform the same life-saving procedures at the scene.
“However, the people of London are less familiar with this part of our service, so it made sense for us to brand our rapid response cars the same as the helicopter when the time came to replacing them.
"We want the cars to be as easily identifiable as London’s Air Ambulance, providing visual awareness of our work. This will also help the public recognise that the cars are part of the same charity and enable them to appreciate the value of the support they give.”
Volkswagen Group Leasing has provided the finance for the charity’s new vehicle acquisitions.
Marco Capozzoli, manager -public sector sales at Volkswagen Group Leasing, said: “We are delighted that London’s Air Ambulance has once again chosen models from the Volkswagen Group to extend its fleet.
"Our competitive proposition offers the charity a joined up service – finance, vehicles, delivery and aftersales care that is not only value for money, but is combined with a committed high level of service that is vital for important medical response teams.”
Martin Gay, regional contract hire and leasing manager at ŠKODA fleet sales, added: “We are very pleased to be extending our relationship with London’s Air Ambulance.
"ŠKODA vehicles have continually proved popular within the emergency services and the latest additions will offer one of the capital’s vital medical support networks, the ideal combination of exceptional space, durability and versatility.”