Jersey and Guernsey are to have a joint air ambulance facility following the signing of a shared contract this week.
The Health and Social Services departments in both islands have agreed a joint approach for the service to fly critically ill patients to the UK for treatment, culminating in today’s signing of the contract with supplier Capital Air Charter. The move will save money and ensures continuity for the essential flights for at least three years.
Although Jersey and Guernsey will use separate planes to provide the emergency air transfers, it is estimated that the joint saving will be in the region of £245,000 per annum, between the Islands, with £200,000 being saved by Guernsey, and £45,000 by Jersey. The contract is worth approximately £1 million per annum for Jersey, and £500,000 a year for Guernsey.
Jersey’s Air Ambulance will continue to be stationed at Aviation Beauport, adjacent to Jersey Airport, while the dedicated aeroplane for Guernsey is based in Exeter. There will also be a shared aircraft for both islands to use, also based in Exeter, as well as a further aircraft which, although shared with other services, could be brought in as additional back-up if needed.
In Jersey, a medical team travels with the ill patient directly from Jersey, whereas in Guernsey, a team is sent from the UK and then accompanies the patient to the mainland.
The service to both islands will be provided by Capital Air Charter, and was awarded following a detailed, competitive tendering process. Capital already holds the contract in Jersey, but will be a new provider for Guernsey for this service.
Under the joint contract, each island will have a separate service level agreement with Capital, which acknowledges the differences of the health systems between the two islands, to allow for flexibility.