Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) is committed to remaining fully operational 24/7 and is standing shoulder to shoulder alongside NHS colleagues in the fight against COVID-19.

Thanks to the rapid response from the team at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) and Medway NHS Foundation Trust, KSS has been able to secure vaccinations for its frontline team members. KSS is extremely grateful for this fantastic example of charity and NHS working in partnership in support of each other and our communities.

KSS is confident that it can continue to provide world-class pre-hospital emergency care for the sickest and most critically injured patients across the South East 24/7, using its helicopters and rapid response vehicles to deliver the best possible life-saving pre-hospital treatment and care to patients.

KSS continues to work in partnership with the wider NHS and SECAmb to assist with the transfer of patients requiring critical care between Intensive Care Units (ICUs) across the region. Where possible and when required, due to the extraordinary pressures facing ICUs in the South East, this includes the transfer of critically ill COVID-19 patients. In order to support this activity KSS has stood up an additional crew and dedicated specialist on call support.

Dr Duncan Bootland, KSS Medical Director said:

“Inter-hospital transfers for critically ill patients are highly complex, requiring the high level skills of clinicians with experience of both critical care and the delivery of care outside of hospitals. KSS crews, which include a specialist pre-hospital emergency medicine doctor and paramedic, have both these skill sets, meaning this is a further area in which we are able to support the COVID-19 pandemic effort. As we have learned more about COVID-19 over the last year, the specific challenges in managing patients with this disease have become apparent, which further highlights the importance of the high level skills our clinicians can bring to these patients.”

“With ICUs across our region experiencing an unprecedented level of demand as a result of COVID-19, it is vital that we work together to meet the needs of our community.”

David Welch, KSS CEO said:

“I am incredibly proud of how Team KSS continues to face the multiple challenges presented by COVID-19 with determination, courage and a resilience to ensure we continue to serve the communities of Kent, Surrey and Sussex. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has worked so tirelessly to enable our 24/7 service to operate without interruption throughout.

“None of this would be possible without the generosity of our supporters. It costs £15M each year to operate our life-saving service, of which 88% is raised through public donations. The past year has been incredibly challenging but our amazing supporters have been there for us throughout. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, as we continue to face ongoing challenges arising from the pandemic.”

He continued:

“I am incredibly pleased that all our front line staff have a route to the vaccination and I’d like to send my sincere thanks and appreciation to the teams at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, SECAmb and Medway NHS Foundation Trust, for their support and collaboration in helping to make this possible.

“I’d also like to use this opportunity to extend my gratitude to our paramedics and doctors many of whom when not on shift are also working on the front line in EDs and ICUs, and also helping to administer the COVID-19 vaccination through local GP services to help ensure as many people can be vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

“KSS is doing all we can to support our patients and communities and to save lives. Having demonstrated dedication, resilience and agility in 2020, we are more committed than ever to meet the challenges that 2021 will bring and continue to save lives and ensure the best possible patient outcomes.”