Scots air ambulance hours altered to meet demand

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THE operating hours of Scotland’s fledgling charity air ambulance have been altered to cope with demand.

Until now the helicopter had been flying up to 10 hours a day between 8am and 6pm from its central base at Perth Airport. But the operational hours are now being changed to from 10am to 8pm after the pattern of callouts showed that the vast majority of deployments were happening later in the day.

In its first month in operation the air ambulance crew flew 42 missions all over Scotland, recording almost 3,500 miles in 30.5 flying hours.

Gavin Davey, the chief executive of the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) said: “We always intended to review working hours after our first three months of operations but after 61 missions in seven weeks it became clear that in order to be able to respond to more emergency calls and better serve the public, an adjustment was required right away.”

A spokeswoman for the charity said: “The move has been supported by both the Scottish Ambulance Service and Bond Air Services - the SCAA’s operational partners.

“Since launching at the end of May, there have been no calls for SCAA assistance before 9am and only three between 9am and 10am but on several occasions they have been flying after 6pm, over-running SCAA’s normal operating period. SCAA only operates during daylight hours and the hours will be pushed back gradually as the evenings darken.”

She added: “The air ambulance has responded to almost double the number of expected calls since launching in May. On its busiest day it flew three missions within a few hours. “