Charity chiefs have announced plans to raise £6 million for a second helicopter air ambulance.
Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCCA) hopes to increase the capability and response to time-critical medical emergencies and urgent transfers across Scotland.
The charity, which has operated an air ambulance since 2013, works in partnership with the Scottish Ambulance Service and alongside two Scottish Government-funded helicopter air ambulances and two fixed-wing patient transfer aircraft.
John Bullough, SCAA chairman and founding trustee, said: “Our highly visible helicopter air ambulance has become a familiar sight as it deploys to time-critical medical emergencies throughout the country.
“Having responded to more than 1,700 emergency call outs, the charity has built a loyal and passionate following of donors, supporters and volunteers.”
The implementation of the Scottish Trauma Network, which moves seriously ill patients to major trauma centres, demonstrates the “critical” role helicopters play in supporting Scotland’s emergency services, the SCAA said.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance carries out great work across Scotland, helping to save and improve lives every day.
“A second SCAA helicopter will make a huge difference, particularly in the more rural and remote areas of Scotland.”
SCAA will now hold talks with major donors to secure the £6 million required to launch and sustain a second helicopter for the first three years.
The charity will continue discussions on its plans with the Scottish Ambulance Service, to determine where a second helicopter would be best located to complement existing air ambulances at Perth, Glasgow and Inverness.
No time frame has been set for the launch of the second aircraft.
It will become operational as soon as the fundraising target has been secured.
Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “Due to the dedicated public support of SCAA, the charity has been able to undertake hundreds of missions which is a fantastic achievement.
“Air ambulances can save vital time in responding to patients, particularly across remote and rural parts of Scotland, and a second helicopter from SCAA will bring additional resilience and capacity to our fleet to help those most in need.”