Our new President Maureen Girard warmly welcomed the Fryern Ladies Probus Club ladies to the start of their third Probus year and introduced us to our speaker of the day, Joe Lyons, who had come to talk to us about Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Service.
Joe is one of the many volunteers who generously donate their time to spreading the word about this life-saving and charitable service which exists to relieve sick and injured people in South East England.
This provision of a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service ( H.E.M.S) benefits the community as an additional and faster medical support.
Naturally helicopters, flying direct to an emergency, take less time than road transport on our highly trafficked highways and can also fly to more remote places unreachable by car.
This service is accessed through the existing 999 calls, which are taken by the paramedics themselves, and operate from Marden in Kent and Redhill in Surrey.
The helicopters fly up to 150mph and can reach any part of S.E. England in under 25 minutes which is quite impressive.
Each helicopter can be scrambled within four minutes and its crew of three consist of a Specialist Doctor, Critical Care Paramedic and Pilot.
The majority of casualties rescued suffer from cardiac problems or traffic accidents although agricultural incidents are on the rise.
As space within the helicopter is tight all casualties are stabilised etc. outside of the craft before being loaded and taken towards the nearest A&E Department; in a fraction of the time taken by a land ambulance.
However with the newer and bigger helicopters, space and facilities have improved and a 24 hour service has been recently introduced with an additional pilot for safety during night flights.
Since all pilots have some medical training this is of great support towards the doctor and paramedic on board as, with these improved facilities, the administration of blood transfusions and plasma, as well as anaesthetising, controlling haemorrhaging and performing chest surgery can now be safely administered.
A very impressive service, which Joe told us costs around £7 million a year, and is always grateful for money making activities and the generous services of volunteers - he asked us to help by telling three people each about the charity.
We found his talk illuminating and Bonnie Taylor thanked him on our behalf saying how interesting and informative it was and that it is reassuring to know that help was there for you.
We all hope that the charity will grow and we were delighted to meet Joe and appreciated his time with us.
In addition we heard some exciting news at The Roundabout Hotel and wish general managers Simon Green and Dita Stejskalova the very best for their wedding and subsequent life ahead – it has been a pleasure to know them.
The meeting concluded with the details of our various trips – Buckingham Palace in August – and an Invitation Lunch at The West Sussex Golf Club in June – all very busy and a full calendar ahead.
Our next meeting will be on Thursday, May 5 and we look forward to hearing from Nick Handley on West Sussex Mediation Service.