Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) have officially started night-time Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operations across the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) region and the Isle of Wight.

TVAA’s Airbus H135 helicopter is flown by highly-trained and experienced Bond pilots operating with the latest-generation of night-vision goggles. The aircraft is fully equipped and optimised for night operations, meaning the Charity’s specialist doctor and paramedic HEMS crews can bring their life-saving care to the most seriously ill or injured people by night as well as by day, saving more lives. Bond operates an identical helicopter on behalf of HIOWAA.

The two air ambulances, in partnership with SCAS and the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, will work together to provide an additional seven hours of coverage every night until 2am across the counties of Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Both helicopter services will remain operational in their respective counties for 12 hours every day and then take it in turn for a period of 16 consecutive nights to cover the seven hour night-service for the whole of the South Central region and the Isle of Wight.

Sir Tim Jenner, TVAA Chairman, says: “Our unique partnership with HIOWAA ensures there is a dedicated HEMS crew operational for an additional seven hours every night until 2am covering the whole of the South Central region and the Isle of Wight.

“Working in close partnership with SCAS to man and deploy the service, our doctor-led crews deliver an advanced level of critical care to stabilise patients at the scene, identify their medical needs and get them to the most appropriate hospital for specialist care in the quickest time possible.”

TVAA, alongside HIOWAA and SCAS, is committed to developing and enhancing its helicopter emergency medical service in the region to provide the highest level of emergency care outside of a hospital environment. A full range of life-saving equipment is carried on board, including two state of the art ultrasound devices, a blood transfusion kit and an immediate blood analyser, helping to shave off valuable seconds in the golden hour.

The ‘paramedic physician partnership’ of doctors and paramedics found on board is essential for a truly gold standard delivery of pre-hospital emergency medicine, all of which is made possible through the Charity’s close working partnership with South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

TVAA and HIOWAA’s aviation partner Bond Air Services Ltd and their highly skilled Helimed pilots are central to the service, ensuring the most effective coverage for the entire region with the newest version of the Airbus helicopter, as well as the speed, safety and precision of the operation.

Sir Tim concludes: “We are extremely proud of our air ambulance and its crew and the high standard of expertise and capability which is a result of the very close partnerships we have with South Central Ambulance Service, the NHS and Bond.

“Our teams work tirelessly each day and night; not only to deliver a unique life-saving service but to develop their knowledge and training to ensure we continue to advance on-scene patient care.

“It is also important to remember that our ambition of delivering a gold standard service is dependent on the generosity of the people, companies and organisations who support us, to whom we are very grateful.