The Kent Air Ambulance Trust, a registered charity, was established in 1989, to provide an air ambulance service for the people of Kent.
2005 saw the introduction of doctors on board, and in 2007 the Trust expanded its service and launched a second helicopter to cover the counties of Surrey and Sussex.
The Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (AAKSS), Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) aircraft operates 365 days a year from our operational base in Redhill.
We currently provide 24-hour service with two helicopters operating from our base in Redhill, Surrey. This 24-hour service is supported by our rapid response vehicles, which enable our crew to be transported quickly to incidents, whilst our night HEMS service is being developed. Our aircraft are capable of delivering our crews anywhere in our region in under 20 minutes flying time. Occasionally weather prevents the aircraft flying, so our crews also have rapid response vehicles to maximise their availability.
Each aircraft is crewed by two experienced Pilots and a minimum of one Doctor and one Paramedic, who are trained in advanced pre-hospital care, which gives them the knowledge and skills necessary to assess and stabilise critically ill and injured adults and children. This means that our crew can deliver, at the scene, a number of specialist clinical procedures, such as general anaesthesia, advanced pain relief, and when required, blood transfusions and surgical interventions, which are normally only available in the resuscitation area of a hospital emergency department.
Effectively, what we aim to do, as far as possible, is bring the emergency department to the patient and then take them quickly and directly by land or air to the most appropriate hospital best able to treat their injuries.
Our teams are also able, where necessary, to provide inter-hospital air ambulance transfers.
These services are available to everyone who lives, works, or is travelling through the region and is provided free of charge to those patients that require them.
We work very closely with South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) responding to over 2,000 emergency calls a year. The normal operating area of our Trust is therefore defined by the region that SECAmb covers and includes Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and a small area of North Hampshire. This region has a resident population of 4.5 million people.
The air ambulance is deployed by a specialist dispatcher working on the HEMS desk at the control centre of SECAmb, who screens all 999 emergency calls coming into the ambulance service to establish if the air ambulance would be of benefit to the patient.