A £120m cash injection will help ensure a “world class” air ambulance service for Scotland, the Health Secretary has said.
Nicola Sturgeon, announcing the investment on Monday, unveiled plans for a new fleet of air ambulances to provide rescue and hospital transportation services.
Two new EC 145T2 helicopters will replace the current pair of EC 135 helicopters in Glasgow and Inverness.
They will join the two existing King Air 200c fixed-wing aircraft which are based in Aberdeen and Glasgow. These aircraft will continue to be supported by a Super Puma search and rescue helicopter in Inverness.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Ambulance Service Air Ambulance is the only publicly funded air ambulance service in the UK and this £120m contract will deliver a world class, future proof service that has been specifically designed to benefit patients throughout Scotland.
“It is important that patients can rely on the provision of a safe, responsive and high quality Air Ambulance Service and these new larger and faster helicopters can do just that.
“We all recognise the remote and rural nature of Scotland, and the importance of providing communities with a resilient healthcare system. The air ambulance service is critical to how we do that.”
The contract for the new helicopters has been awarded to Gama Aviation.
Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, added: “Our air ambulance service is absolutely vital to the people of Scotland and the new contract will ensure that we continue to maintain the highest quality and service standards for our patients, with significant enhancements to patient care.”