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Scotland: 90 years of air ambulance

Discussion on the future of the SAAS, considered expensive but essential

The Scottish Air Ambulance Service (Saas) celebrates its 90th anniversary: it all started on 14 May 1933. That day a telegram arrived at the St Andrews Ambulance Service; it was sent by the local doctor on the Isle of Islay, who requested a helicopter to carry out the medical transport of a seriously ill patient: it was the fisherman John McDermid, the first patient to board an air ambulance in Scotland. 

In 1948, the Saas became part of the newly created National Health Service and began receiving public funding, after two decades of operation being secured by local or private agreement funding. Discussions are currently underway over the future of the Scottish Air Ambulance Service, which is believed to be an expensive service but considered essential by island and rural populations. 

Today, 90 years on from that day, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) continues to provide essential assistance to thousands of people living on the islands and in remote areas of Scotland. Suffice it to say that around 60% of medical transport is related to accidents or people in need of specialist care. This is thanks to a fleet made up of two helicopters (one based in Glasgow and one in Inverness) and two aircraft (based in Aberdeen and Glasgow airports).

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency