A new lifesaving night car service will be hitting the roads across Leicestershire later this month.
The night car service will take over from the air ambulance, when darkness falls, and will operate until around 2am, 365 days per year.
It will see specialist trauma doctors and critical care paramedics out on the county’s roads until the early hours of the morning – seven days a week.
The cars will carry all the lifesaving equipment used on the helicopter including a defibrillator, cardiac monitor, a ventilator and an automated cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) device.
On-board doctors and paramedics will also have access to critical care drugs and equipment usually available only in hospital emergency departments.
The new night car service, developed by the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA), will launch in May following a very successful pilot project.
The new car will unveiled to the public in Leicester on Saturday, May 28 from 10am to 3pm.
The night car service – along with a second vehicle covering Warwickshire and Northamptonshire – is expected to handle more than 1,500 missions per year.
To fund the initiative, which has been welcomed by the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), the Air Ambulance charity launched a successful appeal to meet the £69,000 cost of setting up the service and getting the car on the road.
Now the charity, which receives no government funding, needs to raise an additional £200,000 per year to keep the service going.
DLRAA director of operations Richard Clayton said: “This new service will undoubtedly save lives. It means the expertise of our highly trained team of trauma doctors and critical care paramedics, who normally fly on the helicopter during daylight, will be available at night.
“We looked at extending the operating hours of the helicopter after dark, but it makes much more sense at this time to use a rapid response vehicle. Helicopters are severely restricted to where they can land at night, which means it could take longer to get to patients, or we might not be able to get to them at all.
“Local roads are much clearer in the evening and our pilot project demonstrated that we can reach a lot more people at night by car than by helicopter.
“The new service is a big investment by the DLRAA and the charity needs everyone in Leicestershire to get behind its appeal for funds.”
EMAS acting chief executive officer Richard Henderson added: “This is a great initiative from the air ambulance and we look forward to working in partnership with the charity to deliver even better emergency care to the local community.”