Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) has announced that it will be extending its role at the frontline of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Working in partnership with the NHS and South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb), KSS will transfer patients requiring critical care by land, with aircraft being used for the rapid delivery and recovery of the team.

KSS will continue to operate its primary service during this time. Although there has been a drop in major trauma incidents in recent weeks, linked to the reduction in road traffic, cessation of higher risk industry and a decrease in leisure activities, there is still a national commitment to maintain the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) to save lives.

David Welch KSS CEO, said: “Our healthcare service is facing an unprecedented challenge, and it is vital that we work together to ensure our individual experience and expertise are brought together for the greater good.  I am completely humbled by the dedication and commitment that our crews have always shown and continue to show in these challenging times – they are a credit to KSS and to our nation who very much now need their support.

“The transfer of patients experiencing the most serious symptoms is incredibly complex. These transfers will be demanding, and the safety and wellbeing of our crews will remain a priority. I have every confidence in the excellence of our team and thank them for their unwavering commitment and professionalism as we evolve with a new service to support our NHS at this critical time.

“We are currently exploring how COVID-19 patients could be transported safely by air but this can only happen once we are assured of the safety of our crews and our patients.”

SECAmb Medical Director Dr Fionna Moore said: “I am pleased that we have further strengthened our already well-established links with our air ambulance service. This approach will benefit patients across our region as we rise to the challenges Covid-19 presents. As a charity, the air ambulance service relies on the generous support of the public and I would encourage anyone who is able to, to consider donating to fund this valuable service.”

KSS recently announced its outstanding CQC rating, having been scored outstanding in all five of its inspection key lines of enquiry.  It is the first Helicopter Emergency Medical Service to achieve this top rating in all categories.

Operating out of Redhill Aerodrome and headquartered in Rochester, KSS provides world-leading pre-hospital emergency care whenever and wherever required to save lives and to enable the best possible patient outcomes.  Covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex, KSS serves a population of 4.8 million plus those who travel through the area – making it one of the busiest services in the UK.  Its crews of pilots, doctors and paramedics fly over 2,500 missions a year, and it was the first, and only, UK Air Ambulance to operate its helicopters 24/7. 

KSS is a registered charity and of the more than £14m needed to sustain the service each year, 89% is raised by public donation and fundraising.  The charity is currently experiencing increased  costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a decrease in income following the cancellation of vital fundraising events.  To support the charity, please visit

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