22 May 2014

We have today unveiled our new fleet of Å KODA Octavia vRS Estate rapid response cars. The cars operate at night, in adverse weather conditions or as back up in major incidents. Bringing uniformity to the London’s Air Ambulance fleet, the new cars will now sport the same red livery as its iconic helicopter, and are also emblazoned with high visibility Battenberg strips required on emergency vehicles.

Innovation and development of the service has meant more equipment and medicine is now needed, which the roomier Octavia vRS Estate cars, with its 1,740 litres of space, can accommodate. Our charity has worked with Å KODA for a number of years to ensure our rapid response vehicles meet the needs of the service. The new high performance and low emission cars are fast, robust and are fitted with additional safety features for emergency blue light driving. Our Physician Response Unit (PRU) also has a new Å KODA Superb 4x4 Estate, which will act as a back up trauma car in adverse weather conditions - thanks to its intelligent all-wheel drive system and exceptional level of grip. Two new Å KODA Yeti crossovers, which support our fundraising activities, have also had the makeover.

Commenting, Graham Hodgkin, Chief Executive Officer, said:London’s Air Ambulance operates 24/7, delivering an advanced trauma doctor and paramedic to seriously injured patients. While the helicopter is the most efficient way of delivering this care within minutes, our rapid response cars are also an important part of London’s emergency infrastructure. They provide continuity of service through delivering the same team, with the same equipment, who can perform the same life-saving procedures on scene.

“However, the people of London are less familiar with this part of our service, so it made sense for us to brand our rapid response cars the same as the helicopter when the time came to replacing them. We want the cars to be as easily identifiable as London’s Air Ambulance, providing visual awareness of our work. This will also help the public recognise that the cars are part of the same charity and enable them to appreciate the value of the support they give.”

How the cars operate

The cars patrol across central London so they are in prime position to be dispatched at any time. Dispatch occurs from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) control room by a London’s Air Ambulance paramedic, who monitors the 5,000 medical 999 calls that are received by LAS each day.

Precision driving by an advanced trauma paramedic and the navigation skills of the advanced trauma doctor ensures the crew of two get to a patient as quickly and as safely as possible. London’s Air Ambulance has its own vocational driving license, enabling the team to drive safely and expediently under blue light conditions during the day or night.

The advanced trauma team works alongside London’s Ambulance Service clinicians to deliver lifesaving care on scene, performing additional procedures that are normally only found in the hospital emergency department — including open heart surgery, blood transfusion and anaesthesia. Once the patient has been treated, the team will identify the hospital that can provide the most appropriate care for their injuries. The doctor will accompany them in a land ambulance.

The livery

London’s Air Ambulance has been saving lives on the streets of the capital for 25 years. In that time more than 30,000 seriously injured patients have been treated by the service.

The update of the livery brings the London’s Air Ambulance story up to date, depicting a charity that is world renowned, continuously striving for clinical excellence and pushing the boundaries of pre-hospital medicine to save more lives.

Graham also said:We are grateful for the support from Å KODA and Volkswagen Group Leasing in helping us to provide our comprehensive 24/7 trauma service in the fastest and safest way possible. We look forward to developing our partnership more in the future”.

Volkswagen Group Leasing was responsible for providing the affordable finance for the charity’s new vehicle acquisitions. Marco Capozzoli, Manager - Public Sector Sales at Volkswagen Group Leasing, explained: “We are delighted that London’s Air Ambulance has once again chosen models from the Volkswagen Group to extend its fleet. Our competitive proposition offers the charity a joined up service — finance, vehicles, delivery and aftersales care that is not only value for money, but is combined with a committed high level of service that is vital for important medical response teams.”

Martin Gay, Regional Contract Hire & Leasing Manager at Å KODA Fleet Sales, added: “We are very pleased to be extending our relationship with London’s Air Ambulance. Å KODA vehicles have continually proved popular within the emergency services and the latest additions will offer one of the capital’s vital medical support networks, the ideal combination of exceptional space, durability and versatility.”

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