The SNP Government, Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and other key stakeholders have acted to increase capacity for airlifting coronavirus patients from Arran and Cumbrae, should it prove necessary. These include:
Procurement of EpiShuttles, which are single patient isolation pods, to ensure the safety of the patient and healthcare staff during transfer. Eight of these have been purchased, two have been received and are being tested to go-live on 03 April. A further two will be received on 17 April and another four by Mid-May.
Whilst these EpiShuttles are being tested, SAS is working with the Royal Air Force which is currently providing cover for off-island transfers using two puma helicopters.
Where a helicopter is requested, before EpiShuttles are available, SAS will deploy their expert retrieval team timeously on site to support island colleagues prepare the patient for transfer and undertake retrieval as soon as the helicopter arrives.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“An SNP Government key policy is island-proofing and it is all the more important that this continues during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“No island community is immune and it is reassuring to know that capacity has increased in order to provide patients on Arran and Cumbrae with the best care as soon as possible, having them airlifted to facilities on the mainland if necessary.
“As always, the decision as to whether or not a patient requires to be airlifted will be made by skilled clinicians involved in the patient’s care. Patient safety remains our number one priority during this pandemic.”