Air ambulance introduces new team to increase its service

Doctor David Lockey, paramedic Sam Margetts and driving standards manager Paul Smith on the new team's first shift

Doctor David Lockey, paramedic Sam Margetts and driving standards manager Paul Smith on the new team's first shift - Credit: London's Air Ambulance Charity

London's Air Ambulance has launched a new team which will expand its provision in east London.

Medic 3 was formed by the charity this month and will see it operate with two on-duty teams for the first time in its 32 year history.

The new team will respond to the most critically injured patients in the capital by rapid response car. 

It is made up of one senior doctor and one paramedic, with a 12 month trial set to analyse its impact. 

The charity, whose helicopters fly from a helipad at Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, had provided one advance trauma team per day until now.

This consisted of a helicopter in daytime hours and a car at night.

But in winter months when darkness falls earlier, analysis from the charity has shown response times worsen for patients far away from central London.

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Medical director of London’s Air Ambulance, Dr Tom Hurst, said: “Time is precious when a life is on the line.

"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."

The new team will operate on Mondays to Saturdays between 2pm and midnight.

A charity spokesperson said it will be based centrally with a view to covering incidents in west London, but that this will free up the Medic 2 team to remain in east London.

They added: "If a job comes in and Medic 2 is already tied up elsewhere, Medic 3 will be able to get anywhere quickly on blue lights."

The service estimates that in 2019 it could have reached almost 200 more patients if the extra team was in place.

The charity, which partners with Barts Health NHS Trust and the London Ambulance Service, can deliver complex life-saving interventions at the scene of an incident.

Alistair Chesser, group chief medical officer at Barts, said: "The extra London Air Ambulance team is well timed coming into winter and will be a great help in ensuring the most seriously injured patients get the specialist, life-saving care they need as soon as possible."