A new generation of air ambulance helicopters intends to cut flying time while allowing more room for medics and relatives.
• The aircraft will enter service in 2014 as part of a contract worth £120 million over seven years
The EC 145T2 models will reduce flight time across the mainland, Western Isles and Orkney to about one hour while reducing the need to refuel. They are roomier and will allow relatives and carers to travel, when appropriate.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Ambulance Service air ambulance is the only publicly funded air ambulance service in the UK and this £120 million contract will deliver a world-class, future-proof service that has been specifically designed to benefit patients throughout Scotland.
“It is important that patients can rely on the provision of a safe, responsive and high-quality air ambulance service and these new larger and faster helicopters can do just that.
“We all recognise the remote and rural nature of Scotland, and the importance of providing communities with a resilient healthcare system. The air ambulance service is critical to how we do that.”
The EC 145T2 replaces the EC 135 models in Inverness and Glasgow, which were briefly suspended by their operator for safety checks earlier this year.