On 1 December 2021, an additional medical team was launched by London’s Air Ambulance, meaning that for the first time, the service will operate with two duty teams on call for London.
The additional team, known as “Medic 3”, will operate in a rapid response car, Monday to Saturday from 2pm to Midnight helping the advanced trauma teams of London’s Air Ambulance to be more resilient, reach more critically injured patients and respond faster during the winter rush hour.
Medic 1 is the London’s Air Ambulance duty team from 7am to 7pm and Medic 2 is the duty team from 7pm to 7am. The Medic 3 team will consist of one senior doctor and one paramedic and the arrangement will be trialled for 12 months.
London’s Air Ambulance currently provides one advanced trauma team 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and attends to around 1,700 patients each year. Analysis of response time data, based on a single team, demonstrated that patients more distant from central London are not always reached as quickly. Alongside this, the team may already be on scene with a patient when required elsewhere, which results in cancelled missions for the service.
This has meant that London’s Air Ambulance has been unable to attend all the patients who could have benefited from their expertise and on-scene interventions. However, this new extra team will be able to respond to these sorts of emergencies, helping reach more people when every second counts.
Medical Director of London’s Air Ambulance, Dr Tom Hurst, said: “Time is precious when a life is on the line and we know that during the winter when the hours of dark overlap with peak travel times we are constrained in our response, particularly when our one team is already on scene with a patient. This additional team will help us reach more critically injured patients quickly when time is of the essence.
“London’s Air Ambulance does not stand still and is constantly striving to better the service we provide to the people of London. Thanks to our partners at Barts NHS Health Trust and the London Ambulance Service and of course to our incredible supporters, we’ve been able to get this extra team up and running, providing much-needed clinical support and helping ensure that, should the worst happen, London’s Air Ambulance will be there.”
London Ambulance Service’s Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Fenella Wrigley, said: “The introduction of an additional advanced trauma team this winter will be an incredibly valuable resource for the people of London.
“The team, operated by a London Ambulance paramedic and Barts Health senior doctor, is an excellent example of collaborative working to help achieve the best possible care for trauma patients in the capital. The timing of this new expansion is also very welcome as the reduction in daylight hours reduces the time the aircraft can operate. As we head into a challenging winter it will help us continue to bring clinical expertise to trauma scenes to help our most seriously injured patients.”