HAMPSHIRE and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) has introduced a new emergency response vehicle to its fleet, courtesy of a generous donation over £37,000 from the HELP Appeal.

The charity, HELP Appeal, is providing funding for NHS hospital helipads, including those at University Hospital Southampton and St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth. 

The newly added Volvo XC90 is equipped similarly to the air ambulance, carrying essential devices like defibrillators, life support machines, and monitors that read ECGs, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and carbon dioxide levels.

The charity reported that of its 1,842 missions in 2023, nearly 40 per cent were completed by road. Since 2017, when it launched its first vehicle, HIOWAA has attended almost 6,000 call-outs by car.

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Road response becomes imperative when low cloud conditions make flying impossible or as a secondary resource part of the critical care paramedic car response, introduced in September 2022.

Richard Corbett, HIOWAA CEO, said: "Our road vehicles are vital cogs in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance wheel. They ensure that we can maximise our response and continue to grow as a service. We are incredibly grateful to the HELP Appeal and its supporters for their generosity, which will undoubtedly change and save lives in our region for many years to come."

Robert Bertram, HELP Appeal CEO, said: "The HELP Appeal focuses on funding projects that save time to save lives, whether that’s fit for purpose NHS hospital helipads or state of the art critical care cars. Knowing that HIOWAA’s car is equipped to the same level as an air ambulance means that critically ill patients will be given the best possible treatment at the scene. Thank you to our supporters for making this possible."