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Air ambulances—critical care at the roadside?
  1. S P Le Clerc1,
  2. S Masud2
  1. 1Intensive Care Department, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, UK
  2. 2The Great North Air Ambulance, Durham Tees Valley Airport, Darlington, County Durham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 S P Le Clerc
 Intensive Care Department, James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, TS4 3BW, UK; drsimonleclerc{at}

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We recently had the privilege of attending a national Helicopter Emergency Medical Service forum hosted by chief executives of various ambulance service NHS trusts in Harrogate. We listened with interest as several guest speakers extolled the virtues of their “entirely free” resource in helping to improve ORCON standards. This had been achieved through the “freeing-up” of road ambulances by performing non-time-critical transfers via helicopters and by expediting the transfer of seriously injured patients to local hospitals from incident scenes.

During discussion with speakers and other members of the audience we felt somewhat concerned that the general consensus of this group appeared to be that once a paramedic aircrew had rendered treatment and lifted …

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  • Competing interests: both authors are active members of BASICS and The Great North Air Ambulance.