Magpas Clinical Director Dr Simon Lewis, Director of Operations Natalie Church and CEO Daryl Brown with the advanced medical team Picture: Keith Heppell

Tonight (Friday 4th September), the people of Luton and surrounding communities will have access to a new level of emergency medical care as Magpas Air Ambulance launches a pioneering weekend service.

Magpas Air Ambulance is called to the region’s most seriously ill patients, including those in cardiac arrest or suffering from serious traumatic injury. The Magpas advanced doctor and critical care paramedic teams are specially trained in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM), which allows them to perform procedures and provide treatments that are usually only available in a hospital A&E department, right at the scene of a patient’s medical emergency. This saves vital time when every second counts and can make a lifesaving difference to the people they treat.

Magpas Air Ambulance is already dispatched to Bedfordshire an average of four times every week, responding by air during the day and by road at night. With a growing need for immediate emergency care in the area, particularly overnight, Magpas Air Ambulance made the decision to launch a specialised road based service for the Luton area, which aims to improve response times by up to 40 minutes on average. The dedicated rapid response vehicle, based in the heart of the town, will be manned with a doctor and critical care paramedic team trained in Emergency Medicine and will operate between 6pm – 6:30am on Friday and Saturday nights, when they anticipate the demand to be at its highest.

Dr Leigh Bisset, a Magpas Air Ambulance Doctor and Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital explains: “This critical care provision in Luton is absolutely essential. We are in desperate need of medics specially trained in pre-hospital emergency medicine on the ground, particularly in the evenings and nights. We’re far away from major trauma centres and with the M1 and A505 on our doorstep, and knife crime and medical cardiac arrests on the rise, this new service from Magpas Air Ambulance will be a major benefit for Luton and surrounding areas.”

Andy Smith, Clinical Operations Manager and Critical Care Paramedic at Magpas Air Ambulance adds, “Magpas was one of the first emergency medical charities of its kind in the UK and has been instrumental in developing medical training and immediate care schemes across the country over the past 50 years. So when research showed that despite having easy access to an Accident and Emergency department, the Luton community still required more investment in terms of pre-hospital emergency care, we knew we had to do something to combat that.

“Last year alone our charity was called to Bedfordshire 203 times. But in order to deliver an extra level of care to Luton, the new Magpas rapid response vehicle will be equipped with lifesaving equipment and drugs; the majority of which are not carried by standard land ambulances. This means our local presence in Luton will not only assist the existing ambulance service, but enhance the standard of emergency care available, saving even more lives and keeping families together in Luton, Dunstable, Bedford and across the whole county of Bedfordshire.”