October 8, 2008

Bring Flying Doctors to NHS – Call

AIR ambulance bosses have called for an NHS network of flying doctors to cope with the closure of A&E units.

They said the extra skills were needed aboard the helicopters as the health service moved towards regional trauma centres.

Much of Europe already uses doctors, but the service in England and Wales tends to rely heavily on paramedics.

Doctors backed the call but the Government said it would let local managers decide whether to fund it.

The Association of Air Ambulance Charities chairman David Philpott said: "We find ourselves being called out to extremely serious cases, many road traffic accidents where the injuries can be horrific.

"But it is no longer about transporting them to the nearest A&E.

"What we are doing is stabilising the patients at the scene and getting them to specialist centres that can be a long way away.

"That requires specialist skills and, without doctors on board, patients may be at risk.

"This is not going to happen overnight, but we have to get there."

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