A new, faster, more spacious air ambulance is expected to be responding to medical emergencies in Lincolnshire from next year.
The Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance has announced that it will be taking delivery of a new helicopter next summer, subject to satisfactory completion of contract negotiations.
The AgustaWestland AW169 aircraft will replace the charity’s current MD902 Explorer, which Specialist Aviation Services provides and operates on its behalf and came into operation five years ago next month.
The new helicopter will have a significantly larger cabin area, allowing for an additional person to be carried if required – such as a crew member, doctor, or relative of the patient.
It will also give the air ambulance’s medics improved 360 degree access to their patients.
In addition, the new aircraft’s speed and flight capability will allow the charity to get to incidents faster and fly for longer.
The charity’s chief executive officer Peter Aldrick confirmed the change at the Helitech International 2015 event on Wednesday, October 7.
In a statement following the announcement, he said: “We plan to continue to enhance the services we are able to provide to the people of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
“We introduced a night Helicopter Emergency Medical Service with our very capable MD Explorer three years ago.
“We are now looking for our doctors and paramedics to be able to deal with a wider range of patient cases and we are very much looking forward to doing this with the new AW169.”
With this upgraded helicopter, and the provision for additional doctors on board, the charity estimates its annual operational costs to increase to about £2.2 million – from £1.9 million.