Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Cornwall Air Ambulance. Geoff Newman.FAAST. Sainsbury's Cornwall. Kilimanjaro.Australia's Flying Doctors and Sisters.

We have Geoff Newman to thank for all the air ambulance services in the UK: he was a former naval helicopter pilot in Cornwall who admired the well-run air ambulance service in  Germany which had started in 1973. He founded Cornwall Air Ambulance, the first in the UK, on 1 April, 1987, and this year it celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary.  He is long due to be decorated and applauded. 

No government funding was available so the charity First Air Ambulance Service Trust (FAAST) was formed, and has had enthusiastic Cornish support ever since.

Patron of FAAST: the  Duchess of Cornwall
It costs up to £2 million a year in Cornwall to lease, maintain and run the helicopter, pay for insurance and the pilots’ salaries.

FAAST raises money from donations, legacies, eight charity shops, fund-raising events and weekly Air Ambulance lottery tickets.

At the moment fund-raisers over 18 aim to climb Kilimanjaro in 2013; they need a minimum of £3895 to cover their travel, accommodation and food but over half of this amount goes to Cornwall Air Ambulance.

Sainsbury’s in Cornwall has made FAAST its 2012 charity, and provides a large box in store for shoppers to leave goods for the air ambulance charity shops. Cornwall Air Ambulance is ideal for Cornwall’s large scattered area of 1,400 sq. miles and the Isles of Scilly off Land's End, 25 miles to the SW of Cornwall. Over half a million people live in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly but at least five million visitors come throughout the year so the air ambulance is frequently called out to  accident spots on beaches, cliffs and areas without road access, or to other medical emergencies wherever they happen.   

The Cornwall Air Ambulance Eurocopter EC135 helicopter is based at Newquay Cornwall Airport in St Mawgan, with room for a pilot, two paramedics, two stretcher patients and a doctor or relation of the patient. The Strategic Health Authority pays for the paramedics who also have to be trained in navigation, air safety and air law. The helicopter can fly to an emergency at 140mph in mainland Cornwall within 20 minutes or to the Isles of Scilly in 28 minutes. Patients are taken either to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Devon, or to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske, in Truro.

Australia was the first country to set up a full-time air ambulance service in 1928,  for emergencies in the outback. The Royal Flying Doctor Service still operates with funding from charities, State and government. A nurse known as a Flying sister accompanies a Flying doctor on emergency medical missions.

There are now 27 air ambulance services in the United Kingdom all funded by charities, apart from the Scottish Ambulance Service which is government funded.

Donate to FAAST by Text: text KRNW01. 
First Air Ambulance Service Trust/F.A.A.S.T
Victoria Square
St. Austell
Cornwall PL26 8LQ
Tel 01726 890444
Fax 01726 890555
Email: cornwallair@btconnect.com
Website: www.helimed181.co.uk
The Duchess of Cornwall has been the patron of FAAST since 2011.