Midlands Air Ambulance launches pre-hospital critical care car

A further 60-70 lives could be saved* each year as Midlands Air Ambulance Charity (MAAC) has launched an innovative critical care car with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) to specifically tend to those suffering from either a heart attack, cardiac arrest, sepsis, stroke or serious respiratory issues.

“While we will always remain a helicopter-led pre-hospital emergency care service, the new car enhances our ability to save more lives,” states Ian Roberts, Air Operations Manager for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. He continues, “It enables the highly-trained critical care paramedics to reach and offer early advanced medical intervention post ROSC to patients with serious medical conditions, such as out of hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA).”

The BMW X5 rapid response vehicle will be initially based in Birmingham and the Black Country and will operate daily between 7am and 7pm by a critical care paramedic. It joins MAAC’s fleet after research into the future of emergency patient care. WMAS attends up to 4000 cardiac arrests each year. After a six-month feasibility trial with WMAS and West Midlands CARE Team, results highlighted ROSC rates improved from 27.8 percent to 32.5 percent. This demonstrated patient survival and recovery could be improved with the launch of the MAAC critical care car; and in addition, the British Heart Foundation believe an additional 60-70 lives could been saved via support delivered from such a service.

Mr Roberts adds, “The critical care paramedic on the car will support the vitally important work of the staff at West Midlands Ambulance Service. By the nature of our work at MAAC, the critical care paramedics regularly attend more complex medical conditions and are trained to an advanced, often masters, level of clinical care. In addition, the car is equipped with the same advanced medical kit and equipment as our helicopters, so we can bring parts of the emergency department to the patient, which can improve survival rates and restore quality of life.”

Due to the critical care car entering the fleet, an additional seven members of aircrew have been recruited. As part of their monthly remit, the bolstered team of clinicians will fly on the three air ambulance helicopters, man the critical care car, and work in the control room at West Midlands Ambulance Service, tasked with sourcing incidents for the car to attend. The aircrew are also being given additional training to support their on-going clinical development.

The new critical care car is funded by the charity at a cost of £500,000 each year, which is being supported by grant of £131,000 from the HELP Appeal. Speaking on behalf of the Appeal, CEO Robert Bertram, says, “We are proud to help facilitate the launch of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s innovative new critical care car. The evidence demonstrating dozens of lives are likely to be saved thanks to this new asset is extremely encouraging, and we look forward to seeing the car on our region’s roads.”

* Information from the British Heart Foundation