The founder of a life-saving charity has thrown her organisation’s support behind efforts to bring an air ambulance to Aberdeen.
Claire Maitland, of The Sandpiper Trust, has announced that she is backing Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance’s (SCAA) Helimed 79 – and thinks it will “absolutely” save lives.
Her Aberdeenshire-based charity provides volunteers with equipment to aid rapid response medical care in rural areas of Scotland.
“So it is absolutely paramount that SCAA works with responders who are already out there.
“What is great about SCAA is that it has professionals on board and can get from A to B in a quicker time, which is something we are really struggling with in Grampian and other remote areas.
“We work very closely with them.”
There are around 450 Sandpiper voluntary responders in the north and north-east – with around half ready to rush out in their spare time to help the emergency services.
SCAA plans to have its Aberdeen-based helicopter in operation by March – but still needs to raise significant funds to help the plans come to fruition.
The charity already operates an air ambulance, Helimed 76, out of Perth airport, in addition to the two Scottish Government copters flying from Inverness and Glasgow.
Babcock has been contracted to fly and maintain the EC135 T2E aircraft from a hangar at Aberdeen Airport.
Preparations are already well under way with the helicopter – formerly an air ambulance in England’s East Midlands – undergoing a significant upgrade and refurbishment.
Mrs Maitland added: “It’s a huge relief in this part of the world.
“If you’re over in Gairloch and have to get to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness then that’s an hour and half in the ambulance – once it gets to you.
“Whereas with SCAA they can be over there, pick you up and take you to the nearest place.
“It will be a massive help to remote and rural Scotland.
“It’s so important for us all to work together – The Sandpiper Trust, SCAA, the ambulance service and others.”
SCAA’s lead paramedic John Pritchard is also a trustee with Basics Scotland, an organisation which trains GPs, doctors, nurses and paramedics to become volunteer responders.
He added: “We welcome The Sandpiper Trust’s backing – we rely hugely on The Sandpiper Trust to provide medical equipment bags so responders can go out and give the best medical treatment.
“It’s all partnership and collaboration in the pre-hospital care – we couldn’t do our job without them.”
Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance has made a huge impact since 2013, saving lives and preventing suffering.
That is why the P&J campaigned successfully for SCAA’s second helicopter to be based in our region.
The countdown is now on for the aircraft – call sign Helimed 79 – to start flying missions from Aberdeen Airport.
But this is an emergency service that relies entirely on donations.
Each call-out costs about £2,500 and SCAA needs P&J readers to help hit its £6million target and get things off to a successful start.
So please do anything you can to raise those funds and show that We’re Backing Helimed 79.
Ways to donate to SCAA
- Website: www.scaa.org.uk/donate
- Text: Text ‘SCAA’ and the amount to 70085
- Phone: 03001231111
- Cheques: Made payable to ‘SCAA’ or ‘Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance’ and sent to: Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), The Control Tower, Perth Airport, Scone, PH2 6PL