Air ambulance crews in Milton Keynes issue urgent appeal for protective masks, suits and gloves

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Life-saving medics and pilots at Thames Valley Air Ambulance are not being provided with protective clothing by the NHS to keep them safe while helping coronavirus patients.T

The independent charity has made an appeal for surgical masks, gloves and suits for its crews after revealing it not currently included in the official PPE distribution system.

They are hoping local businesses will come to the rescue and donate stocks of personal protective equipment to guarantee supplies for their frontline crews.

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The items Thames Valley Air Ambulance is requesting are disposable FFP3 respirators, fluid-Resistant (Type IIR) surgical masks, coverall suits Cat 3 Type 5/6, clinical aprons, surgical gloves, anti-fog glasses and anti-bacterial wipes or gel.

A Thames Valley Air Ambulance crewA Thames Valley Air Ambulance crew
A Thames Valley Air Ambulance crew | other

A spokesman for the charity said a "major shortage" in protective kit due to the increased demand for supplies means the air amubulance teams of paramedics, doctors and pilots are lacking the most suitable equipment when dealing with different situations and incidents.

He added: "While working in partnership with the NHS, as an independent healthcare charity, Thames Valley Air Ambulance is not currently included in the official PPE distribution system. While other options, such as donations of stock from business may be available to help guarantee supplies, the air ambulance service is keen not to add to the pressure on these official stocks if possible."

The air ambulance crews are still being called out to attend patients in desperate need. South Central Ambulance Service has taken the lead in call outs on coronavirus cases but, due to the growing spread of the virus, it is "inevitable" that crews will come into contact with those who are infected, say the charity.

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Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s Head of Clinical Service, Martin Bowdler said: “People in our communities still need our hospital-level critical care as, despite the pandemic, there are of course still those who will face life-threatening illnesses and injuries. That’s why it’s vital that our crew are protected from Covid-19 so they can continue delivering advanced medical care without spreading or contracting the virus.

“We are appealing to businesses to donate stocks of PPE to keep our crews safe while working on the frontline by ensuring that they have the right equipment to give patients the best possible chance of survival and recovery.”

Companies willing to donate stock should email [email protected] or call 0300 999 0135 or visit www.tvairambulance.org.uk/PPE