Aberdeen named as landing site for new air ambulance
Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance hopes to have the service operational by late 2019.
Aberdeen has been confirmed as the location for a new charity helicopter air ambulance for Scotland.
The Scottish Charity Air Ambulance service (SCAA) hopes to have a new base operational in the city by late 2019.
The new helicopter will be the second charity helicopter air ambulance operating in Scotland, with one currently flying from Perth Airport.
Currently Scotland's only charity air ambulance, the SCAA is funded entirely by donations and has received over £15m since its launch in 2013.
The charity's existing helicopter, which flies under the call sign Helimed 76, has flown more than 2000 emergencies from Orkney to the Borders along the West Coast.
With the additional aircraft the SCAA will effectively double the number of helicopter air ambulances operating in Scotland, working alongside two governmen- funded helicopters based at Glasgow and Inverness.
The new aircraft has been given the call sign Helimed 79 and will help provide time critical support to medical emergencies across mainland Scotland and 100 inhabited islands.
'With a second helicopter air ambulance service, SCAA will further positively impact on the outcome for patients - ultimately saving and improving hundreds more lives every year.'John Bullough, SCAA
John Bullough, SCAA founding chairman, said: "Aberdeen will house one of Scotland's four Major Trauma Centres in the future Scottish Trauma Network and it makes sense for Helimed 79 to add its considerable capability to that growing hub of emergency medical resources
"With a second helicopter air ambulance service, SCAA will further positively impact on the outcome for patients - ultimately saving and improving hundreds more lives every year."
He added: "The fact that SCAA is looking to launch a second aircraft after only five years is a testament to the level of support and public engagement that we have received nationally."
The decision to locate its second helicopter at Aberdeen comes after talks between SCAA and the Scottish Ambulance Service.
The SCAA is now trying to find a suitable base for the new helicopter with a goal of having it operational by late 2019.
The Scottish Government welcomed the news of the new air ambulance.
Health Minister Jeane Freeman said: "Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance carries out great work across Scotland, helping to save and improve lives every day.
"It is crucial that we ensure the most severely injured patients have the best chance of a speedy recovery from their injuries."