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Air ambulance temporarily grounded over safety fears

Published: 12 Dec 2013 18:450 comments

THE Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance helicopter - the same model as the police aircraft which crashed onto a Glasgow pub two weeks’ ago- has been temporarily grounded.

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It is one of 17 Eurocopter EC135s taken out of service - after a fault was found on another air ambulance - but others in Britain and across the world are still flying tonight.

Mark McGeown, chief executive of Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance, said: “Bond Air Services took the decision following a reported indication defect on one of their EC135s that needed further technical investigation.

“As a result of that investigation we have been advised that our helicopter cannot be returned to full service at present. Bond Air Services are working with Eurocopter to rectify the deficit and return our aircraft to full service at the earliest opportunity. We fully believe that the safety of patients and air ambulance staff is the number one priority.”

The charity and South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust are reassuring the public that they are maintaining the highest standard of medical care usually provided by on-board paramedics and doctors. Air crews are operating in emergency response vehicles, with much of the same medical equipment as they use on the helicopters, which will affect the speed but not the quality of the medical treatment.

Mutual Aid Agreements between all NHS Ambulance Trusts and the supportive relationship between Air Ambulance charities mean that neighbouring air ambulances will be available in the Thames Valley if really needed.

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