Great Western Air Ambulance Charity unveils new critical care car

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) has unveiled a new critical care car, which will allow them to reach more critically ill patients across the region.

The charity’s critical care cars are operated alongside the helicopter, and carry the same equipment as the helicopter, bringing the crew and their lifesaving skills to the side of those in urgent need.

The new model, a Skoda Kodiaq, which is used by South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, has been specially converted to meet the requirements of the Critical Care Team.

The 720-litre boot has been redesigned to house essential lifesaving equipment, including ventilators, oxygen, controlled drugs and other specialist equipment the Critical Care Team carries. The front of the car has been adapted, with a 999 response screen installed for the crew to receive details of call-outs and navigate to the location of the patient in need quickly and efficiently.

The model has also been kitted out with additional power supplies, including split charging and mains shoreline capabilities to ensure that both the cars and the kit inside are constantly ready to respond.

In 2019, GWAAC’s crew received over 2000 call-outs, of which over two thirds were responded to by critical care car. The cars ensure that the crew are always ready to respond in any conditions, for example when the helicopter is unable to fly due to bad weather or maintenance, or when the location of a patient has limited safe landing sites nearby and is easier to access by road

John Wood, Air Operations Officer at GWAAC, said, “Having reliable, appropriate and fully equipped cars are essential for us to reach and treat patients in the most effective way. The new vehicles will enable our team to negotiate tougher terrain and drive safely in challenging weather conditions to reach patients quickly and safely, particularly in rural areas.”

This new car will be one of three vehicles to join GWAAC’s fleet, updating the current models that the service uses, after the charity successfully bid for a one-off Government grant from the Department of Health and Social Care last year to purchase the much needed new cars.