A cheque for £4,000 was presented to the Air Ambulance Service based at Manchester City Airport (Barton). Representing the Freemasons, were the Provincial Grand Master of the Cheshire Province Stephen Martin Blank, Cheshire Provincial Charity Steward Colin Ross and from the West Lancashire Province were, Eccles Group Chairman Dave Walmsley and Regional Charity Steward Denis Tierney.
The grant was donated by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) and has brought the total Masonic support given to the Air Ambulance Service across the country to £2,100,000 since 2007. The MCF is one of the largest grant making charities in the country and is funded entirely by the generosity of Freemasons and their families.
Receiving the cheque on behalf of the service was Chief Paramedic Andy Duncan, supported by fund raisers, Roisin Hyland and Debs Milligan. Andy was overwhelmed with the cheque and on behalf of the service and the recipients of the service; he thanked the Freemasons for their generous donation which will help to save lives.
Manchester City Airport has two Eurocopter EC135 T2 helicopters and the North West Air Ambulance charity needs to raise in excess of £4,200,000 each year in order to keep its two air ambulances flying and saving lives. The helicopters flew more than 750 missions last year and made their first flight in 1999, relying almost entirely on public support.
Andy gave an in depth talk about the way the service operates and included a demonstration of the equipment on board the helicopter and the procedures carried out by all the personal in the event of an emergency call out. He explained that the helicopter is a complex machine and reeled off numerous calculations and statistics that are taken into consideration to operate and that it takes great skill to coordinate.
He went on to explain that helicopters are used particularly in case of time sensitive patient air transports over short to medium-distance routes and as a result of their capability to land directly at the clinic required, ensure the shortest possible duration of your patient transportation. The ambulance helicopters employed enable the transfer of up to two patients – also supported medically with intensive-care and are capable of instrument flying. They can also fly at night, which enables them to have a very fast response around the clock.
He explained that air ambulances work alongside the NHS but are entirely reliant on charity money (donations), a weekly lottery and legacies to support the service. The helicopters can reach every part of the region in 10 minutes and ensure the sickest people can be in hospital within 20 minutes of calling 999. They also transport critically ill children from local hospitals to specialist units. Most days, the air ambulance is called out four times a day but this can increase up to 10 times on a summer weekend.
Air ambulances deliver emergency care, especially in rural areas and where road access is a problem. They can be an effective way of getting better and faster access to hospitals and are valuable in transferring patients between hospitals and are dispatched by NHS ambulance services where there is a need.
A frequent area of application for civilian ambulance helicopters is also the rapid and secure medical transport to transplantation centers. In these especially time-critical situations, they can provide a suitable ambulance helicopter within only one hour and assist rapidly and unbureaucratically.
The representatives of the MCF thanked Andy for his very interesting insight to the service and wished them continued success in providing this vital service.
Article and pictures by Tom Fredrickson.