HEMS Helicopter Emergency Medical Service

A group of
Kingston upon Thames Rotary Club members, plus spouses, visited the Kent, Surrey and
Sussex HEMS service, based at the old RAF airfield, home of the BBC’s
Top Gear program, test track for the car manufacturer McLaren,

Kingston Rotary visiting the Kent, Surrey and Sussex HEMS

HEMS, (Helicopter Emergency Medical
), is operated every day of the year from 7am to 7pm in
daylight hours, with the hope in the near future to extend its’
service into night flying too, is an emergency response to medical
situations with a team of a pilot, a highly skilled doctor and a
critical care paramedic on board. We were told that this particular
HEMS team responded to 3 or 4 situations per day.

The service is a registered charitable
self funding organisation, covering the three counties of Kent,
Surrey and Sussex in conjunction with the NHS Ambulance Service which
merged the three counties into one service, and has two MD902
helicopters, one based in Marden (Kent) and the other at
Dunsfold (Surrey), and can reach any part of the SE England
operational area it was said in 20 minutes.

The HEMS MD902 Explorer helicopter for Kent, Surrey and Sussex based at Dunsfold, by Phillip Holt

Taking A&E (Accident and Emergency) directly to a patient
within minutes has been proven a lifesaver, with even open heart
surgery being performed onsite, then to get the patient directly to
the most appropriate hospital in a sort time, affects the quality of

Constantly looking for and raising
funds to cover the £5 million per year cost is a host of volunteers,
as the service receives no funds from the Government or National
Lottery. For a small sum, you can enter the Kent,
Surrey and Sussex HEMS own lottery by filling in a form obtainable
from their web site.

The dedication of the people at
Dunsfold was obvious, as the pilot, doctor and paramedic took time
out to show us around the helicopter, explain what they do and answer
out multitude of questions. In the summing-up session back in the
HEMS building, I glanced outside to where the helicopter was parked,
only to see the three of them washing the already gleaming machine,
but having fun in the process. These lifesavers are just human like
you and me, and need our support just as we may need theirs one day.  

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