In The Sky With Scotland's Air Ambulance: Special Report

6 July 2018, 06:00 | Updated: 9 July 2018, 10:16

By Connor Gillies

Scotland's air ambulance is now making almost 4000 trips a year.

The service flies across the country saving lives and transporting patients from remote communities.

It is the only government funded air ambulance in the whole of Britain. 

Capital is shining a spotlight on the fleet of two helicopters and two small planes as the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday.

The air ambulance has bases in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. The charity-run air ambulance is located in Perth.

Crews respond to emergency calls and requests from remote, rural or island clinicians to provide medical care and transport to mainland hospitals. 

Our reporter Connor Gillies took to the skies to spend the day with the crew on board.

A Patient's Diary - Philip Siviter

"At 10:30 AM on Wednesday 14 March I was suffering from severe abdominal pain so I called 999 for an ambulance - I had to go to my door to unlock it which I did. Immediately after that I collapsed on my stairs which is where your first team found me. 

"They took one look and could see that at the very least I was suffering from DKA, I was scooped up and bundled into the ambulance and after a short delay while my flat was secured I was taken in to the Caithness General Hospital for assessment. It was quickly discovered that I had multiple organ distress. It was decided that I needed the specialist care that only the Raigmore could give.

"It was felt though that I probably wouldn’t survive the two and a half hour transfer by road but when it was discovered that your Inverness based EC135 was available it was called for and a short while later I was transferred to Wick airport by another ambulance to await the helicopter which promptly arrived. I was duly strapped in and after an ATC delay we were airborne for the thirty minute flight to the Raigmore. Upon arrival we were met by another ambulance for the transfer from the helipad into the expert care of the HDU.

"If it wasn’t for the prompt decisions of your first responders to uplift me without delay as well as  the fact that not only do you have a helicopter based in the Highlands that it was willing and able to fly to Wick to airlift me to the Raigmore very definitely saved my life that day and for that your service will always have my undying thanks and gratitude.

"I am still receiving treatment in the Raigmore - it’s a slow road to recovery, small steps but I’ll get there."