London’s Air Ambulance is a vital part of the capital’s ability to deal with critical medical emergencies. But even its fleet of two helicopters have their limitations. They cannot fly during bad weather, for example, or between sunset and 8am. That’s where the Skoda Octavia comes in.
This isn’t just any Octavia, though, but the latest VRS 245 estate. It comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 242hp, but also a 610-litre boot.
A top speed of 155mph might be slower than the helicopters, but the cars carry the same life-saving medication and equipment usually found in a hospital Accident and Emergency unit.
In 2017, London Air Ambulance treated almost 1,800 patients, and attended three major incidents. Its tally included 560 stabbings and shootings, along with 533 serious traffic collisions.
Kodiaq to the rescue
Also joining the LAA fleet are three new Skoda Kodiaq SUVs. These will be used by the Physician Response Units, based at the Royal London Hospital.
Skoda has worked with London’s Air Ambulance charity since 2006, and the addition of the new Kodiaq provides added 4×4 ability for the medics.
All of the new Skodas are equipped with a specially designed dispatch app, linked to the London Ambulance Service operations centre.
A specialist team monitors the 5,000 calls received by the Ambulance Service each day, screening out the most urgent, and taking the decision to dispatch a helicopter or rapid-response vehicle.
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