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Working Together to Save Lives

May 19, 2016

An agreement between Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW), and Outreach Rescue Medic Skills (ORMS) was signed on 13 May at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, to mark an official agreement to work together training staff to deal with emergencies.

The agreement means that HM Coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter crews, who work in some of the most hazardous environments in all weathers, will have the opportunity to work alongside staff from MTW, to gain first-hand experience, in a hospital environment. As a result of the close working relationships locally, hospital staff will be trained by the crew to work within a helicopter, in case a patient should need to be transferred by air.

MTW Emergency Planning Manager, John Weeks, said: “This is a great opportunity for hospital staff from a variety of departments, including A&E, theatres, paediatrics and maternity, to gain real experience and skills so they are familiar with what to do should they have to accompany a patient on an emergency helicopter transfer. It’s a completely unique, and sometimes daunting, experience for those who have never done it before so it’s great to be able to work with the professionals from Bristow Helicopters, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and ORMS.”

Neil Robertson, Chief Pilot at the Lydd Coastguard SAR helicopter base, said: “All of us in the emergency services are committed to saving lives. How we work together matters and this is a great opportunity to share more experience through training which will potentially help to save more lives.”

ORMS Education Director, Tim Roberts, said: “We regard the opportunity for clinical placements, under the supervision of expert clinicians, to be a vital component in the provision of paramedic education. Students will be able to transfer knowledge and skills taught in the classroom into a real clinical environment in a safe and supportive manner."

On the day the agreement was officially made, a rescue helicopter was flown in to Tunbridge Wells Hospital giving hospital staff a welcome opportunity to familiarise themselves with the aircraft.

Training started immediately with four hospital porters being shown how to safely transfer a patient on a stretcher to and from the aircraft while the rotor blades were turning.