RAF Puma during training amid coronavirus crisis DATE UKNOWN CREDIT MOD

Coronavirus: RAF Puma Conducts First Island Medical Evacuation

The aircraft was called in to support the transfer of a critically ill patient from the Isle of Arran to Kilmarnock.

RAF Puma during training amid coronavirus crisis DATE UKNOWN CREDIT MOD

An RAF Puma helicopter has carried out its first medical evacuation from the Scottish islands after transferring a critically ill patient from the Isle of Arran.

The RAF said aircrew were called at 01:00 on Wednesday to transfer the patient, who was showing "severe" coronavirus symptoms.

The patient was flown to the Intensive Care Unit at the University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock.

"Today's medical evacuation is a great example of the UK Armed Forces’ ability to support our most remote communities across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

"I am proud of the skill and professionalism of our personnel and their support to colleagues in the NHS and social care."

The Puma helicopter and its three-man crew landed at Knockenkelly where they met the on-site emergency medical care team.

The patient was then prepared for the flight and was joined by the Scottish Ambulance Service Emergency Medical Retrieval team for the journey. 

Puma Crew and Scottish NHS Trial The Use Of Epishuttles
Earlier in the month, Puma crews and NHS staff in Scotland trialled the use of Epishuttles (Picture: MOD).

"Just over three hours after the crew received the call, the patient had travelled 162 nautical miles and was in the Intensive Care Unit," said Squadron Leader Johnny Longland, Detachment Commander.

"The training that we conducted with the emergency medical teams across Scotland ensured that, when the time came, we were all ready for a quick and smooth transfer of a patient.

The Puma helicopter is one of three currently based at Kinloss Barracks as part of a new Aviation Task Force set up to support the NHS in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Task Force has military helicopters on standby across the UK to help with the coronavirus crisis. 

Cover image: Library image of RAF Puma crew during training (Picture: MOD).