London Air Ambulance Forges Chiswick Link

Announces strategic partnership with International SOS


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The London Air Ambulance today (April 12) announced a strategic partnership with the Chiswick-based International SOS Centre, which it hopes will help develop its future service to Londoners.

Despite the size of the capital city, there is only one air ambulance in operation for more than ten million people within the M25 area, and the London Air Ambulance (LAA) is heavily reliant on corporate and public donations in addition to its NHS funding.

Mary Macleod MP with Minister Stephen Hammond, Graham Hodgkin and Andrew Skehel

The Regional Managing Director of International SOS, Andrew Skehel, presented a cheque for £25,000 to Graham Hodgkin, CEO of the London Air Ambulance at an event held at the International SOS UK headquarters at Chiswick Business Park. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen Hammond also attended, as did local MP Mary Macleod.

Mr. Hodgkin said that they were working towards getting a second air ambulance as with only one helicopter, there was a " slight degree of vulnerability". The LAA operates a fast response vehicle when the helicopter is not in operation during hours of darkness. He welcomed the strategic partnership and said there were degrees of common ground with International SOS in terms of training, research and development of medical expertise.

The Air Ambulance team did some public demonstrations of life-saving and medical aid

Aker Solutions, also based in Chiswick Park, has adopted the London Air Ambulance as its corporate charity.

Mary Macleod said she had visited the LAA headquarters last year and was very impressed by the work they carried out. She said people often forgot the London Air Ambulance operated as a charity, and it deserved not only corporate support but support from the people of London.

"Compared to other parts of the UK where 1 helicopter serves 1.5 million people, London is alone in relying on one helicopter for 11 million people, and I am pleased to see International SOS taking a business lead in support of this much needed charity that saves lives.”

The LAA attended four serious incidents in the borough last year and has landed in Chiswick several times. The highly specialised operatives provide pre-hospital emergency treatment, including open heart surgery, prior to removing severely injured patients to hospital. Missions commonly involve serious road traffic collisions, falls from height, industrial accidents, assaults and injuries on the rail network. They fly up to 2,000 missions a year.

Based at the Royal London Hospital and founded in 1989, the service is unique in that it operates 24/7, with the helicopter running in daylight hours and rapid response cars taking over at night. Paris has six air ambulances compared to London's one.

International SOS Regional Managing Director, Andrew Skehel says: “Our organisations have a lot in common and we both understand the importance of providing expert medical support, so we’re pleased to join forces to share expertise, commission research, and promote better healthcare awareness for prevention and emergency treatment.”

Mayor Boris Johnston opened the SOS International UK hub at Chiswick Business Park in March 2012. It is one of the world's leading medical and travel risk security services operating 700 sites in 76 countries.

The company has 10,000 employees globally, including 1,200 doctors and 200 security specialists. The Chiswick branch employs about 300 people tasked with responding to queries from clients phoning with a variety of problems, from losing a passport, to a sudden illness abroad requiring repatriation. Its corporate clients include oil companies and large international firms with expats working across the globe and advice can range from medical advice by phone, to advising on the current outbreak of bird flu in China.

April 12, 2013

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