(2 May 2020) Hovertravel is continuing to work closely with the NHS to further develop their Island Rescue service, which transfers patients from the Isle of Wight to hospitals in Portsmouth or Southampton.
A trial was arranged to see how a patient who needs to travel with extra medical equipment could be accommodated and a BBC TV crew was invited to film the trial as well as conduct interviews with the NHS intensive care nurses and Hovertravel’s Head of Marine Operations.
Steve Attrill, Hovertravel’s Head of Marine Operations, explains: “The patient and kit were loaded, and a full sea trial was conducted including some controlled manoeuvres including a full emergency stop. The hovercraft then floated whilst the NHS team ran through a simulated cardiac arrest on the dummy patient. Once back at Ryde a test patient evacuation from the secured stretcher through a side passenger cabin door on to the deck was conducted. All the feedback was highly positive.”
Hovertravel’s Island Rescue service was conceived during the current crisis, with Hovertravel operating a critical community service just for key workers and essential fast freight. The benefits seen by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust and its ambulance service are so significant, however, that the Island Rescue will be a permanent addition to Hovertravel’s operations.
The BBC South Today programme was broadcast on 01 May 2020.