A new, faster, more spacious air ambulance is expected to be responding to medical emergencies in Lincolnshire from next year.
The Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire 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 twin-engine MD902 Explorer, which Specialist Aviation Services provides and operates on its behalf.
The MD902 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 air ambulance’s medics improved 360-degree access to patients.
In addition, the new aircraft’s speed and flight capabilities 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 earlier this month.
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.”
The Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, based at RAF Waddington, celebrated its 21st year in 2015, having first begun operations in Lincolnshire in April 1994.
It expects that the new helicopter will mean that the cost of running its service will increase from next year.
Previously, the non-government funded charity needed to raise £1.9 million every year to keep the helicopter flying. This was based on the charity operating about three missions a day, 1,000 missions a year, at a cost of about £2,100 per mission.
In 2016, with the upgraded helicopter and its provision for additional doctors on board, the charity estimates its annual operational costs will increase to about £2.2 million.
To find out how you can support the charity’s work visit www.ambucopter.org.uk