New air ambulance begins operations

A NEW air ambulance covering Wirral and neighbouring areas is taking to the skies.

The helicopter will reach every part of the region in 10 minutes and get people to hospital within 20 minutes of a 999 call, saving hundreds of lives.

It will be based at Manchester City Airport, the former, and will cover Wirral and Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

The chopper has been brought in after huge demand for the first North West Air Ambulance, which is based at Blackpool.

It flew to almost 900 emergencies last year but was too busy to get to another 60 incidents each month. That will now concentrate mainly on serving Lancashire and Cumbria.

Lynda Brislin, chief executive of North West Air Ambulance, said: "Our second helicopter allows us to fly double the missions and get to incidents quicker, which means we can serve the community better.

"It also means we can really ramp up our role as part of the front line emergency care team and help us get to more incidents even quicker.

"I would estimate that about a third of people we airlift to hospital would not have survived without us.

"Every day our passionate and dedicated people put their lives on the line to save others. Our latest addition to the air ambulance family will help us save even more lives.

ďWe know times are difficult at the moment but this second helicopter could make all the difference to someone you know."

The air ambulances rescue people who cannot be reached by road because traffic is blocking access or they are in an isolated rural area.

They also transport critically-ill children from hospitals to specialist units.

The helicopters work alongside the NHS but are funded by charity donations and supporters will have to raise £1.3m a year to keep the Manchester helicopter flying five days a week.

The air ambulance is called out on average four times a day - up to 10 times on a summer weekend.

Health experts say if a patient can receive treatment at the scene of injury and get to hospital within an hour their chances of survival and recovery are dramatically improved.

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