Doctors at Musgrove Park met local residents recently to discuss plans which will see an extension to the hours the air ambulance can transfer patients to the hospital.
The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance runs a vital service for the most ill patients, some of them in the most remote parts of the county and now has the capability to fly later at night.
The charity has recently purchased a new helicopter which carries more specialist equipment and a physician consultant on board, bringing hospital care straight to the patient.
Starting this month, Musgrove plans to take advantage of this life-saving service, and it is estimated that the number of flights arriving between 8pm-2am will be about one to three a month, most of them before 10pm.
Dr James Gagg, emergency consultant and clinical lead for the Emergency Department (A&E) said: “This is a vital service which can help our most seriously ill patients, such as those who have had a stroke, heart attack or cardiac arrest, where time is of the essence. “The air ambulance enables critical care paramedics and doctors to be brought to the patient, as well as transporting the patient rapidly to the hospital.
“Extending the hours of the air ambulance means we can help our most critically ill patients have a better chance at survival. “As a clinician, the thing you want to do more than anything is give your patients the best treatment and the best possible chance of recovery, and this has the potential to make a real difference.”
Residents who attended the meeting raised concerns including noise of the helicopter, and the time it would wait on the helipad.
Musgrove Park agreed a request for an impact assessment to be carried out. The new air ambulance can come down at a steeper angle, which should disturb fewer people.
The majority of patients will be those with cardiac conditions, who will be transferred straight to the Cardiology Department where they’ll get treated immediately with life-saving treatment by specialist consultants, meaning they can bypass A&E.
The impact assessment will be published in the next few weeks and shared on the hospital website.