New £4.5 Million Ambulance Air Base Opened

 Friday 11 March 2016

The Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing, Shona Robison, formally opened a new, purpose built base for air ambulance and clinical retrieval teams at Glasgow Airport today.,

The new facility brings Scottish Ambulance Service Air Ambulance helicopter and fixed wing operations from the West into a single location.

Scotland’s national specialists retrieval service for critically ill children and adults, SCOTSTAR, now operates from the base, with immediate access to specialist vehicles and aircraft as part of a ?9.5 million investment in patient care.  It is the first time anywhere in the UK that multi disciplinary clinical retrieval teams operate from a single base.

SCOTSTAR is managed by the Scottish Ambulance Service and brings together the Scottish Neonatal Service, the Specialist Paediatric Retrieval Service and the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, which retrieves critically ill adults and responds to serious emergencies.

The new ?4.5 million building is owned and operated by Gama Aviation for the Scottish Ambulance Service as part of the national air ambulance contract.

The facility is home to around 85 staff, including air ambulance and SCOTSTAR teams, as well as management and administration. Clinical teams respond to patients using an Airbus H145 helicopter, a King Air 200c plane, specialist neo-natal and paediatric ambulances and a fast response car.

Health Secretary, Shona Robison, said:

“I am delighted to be a part of the opening of the new SCOTSTAR and Air Ambulance base.  This new facility brings together many life-saving services which should help to give those in need the care and urgent response required from our ambulance service.

“The Scottish Government’s investment in this base demonstrates our on-going commitment to the Scottish Ambulance Service and to the continued improvement of urgent care for patients. The Scottish Ambulance Service is dedicated to providing world-class emergency care to the people of Scotland and investments like this new base show an active movement towards that goal.”

David Garbutt, Chairman, Scottish Ambulance Service, said:
“The new base is the only one of it’s kind in the UK, aligning air ambulance services with the specialist clinical retrieval teams in a single location. Working closely together, the teams bring high quality specialist care to patients by road and air, that best meets their needs.”

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service, said:
“Our air ambulance and SCOTSTAR teams provide vital life saving clinical care to patients across the whole of Scotland. The new purpose built facility is integral to our long term strategy to deliver the most appropriate clinical care to patients, wherever they may be.”

Last year, air ambulance teams undertook 3,559 missions across the country. SCOTSTAR teams responded to 2,654 cases, of which 491 were by air, where specialist, highly skilled, clinical teams were required to manage the care of patients during transport.  These specialised retrievals are clinically complex and take much longer than a normal emergency response.