Southampton Airport bosses have refused to allow Hampshire’s very own air ambulance to live at the airport. They have declined the offer for the state-of-the-art helicopter to be stationed there because they say that there is no room.
This refusal means that the aircraft will have to be based at Thruxton which is on the northern edge of the county. This means that flying times will be longer when responding to critically ill patients in the south of the country.
If the aircraft was to be based in Southampton it could reach local areas in a matter of minutes. However, it will now take the helicopter 12 minutes to reach Southampton, 10 minutes to get to Winchester and 17 minutes to get to Lyminton.
The air ambulance is the first that the county has ever had and the money was raised through fundraising efforts of Hampshire residents. It will have some of the most advanced medical equipment on board that isn’t even available in ambulances yet.
The snub has upset and caused a lot of criticism from airport campaigners who feel that profits are being put before people. Many feel that the commercial aspect has got in the way of humanity and that profit is put before people because it’s a big business.
Southampton Airport have said that they are very supportive of the excellent work provided by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance helicopter but purely have not got the room to keep it there. As well as this they have said that the unused eastern side of its land had to be ruled out because it has no road or facilities. They also say that they regularly welcome visiting medical flights and emergency services and air ambulances.
Southampton Airport has said that they have taken the request for the air ambulance to be based at the airport into consideration in their long-term planning. However, they have said that they can’t make any commitments in the short-term.
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