A DESPERATE plea for donations of protective equipment for frontline air ambulance crews battling the coronavirus has been made to businesses.

A “major shortage” in protective kit due to the huge demand for supplies means Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s teams of paramedics, doctors and pilots are lacking the most suitable equipment when dealing with potentially life-threatening situations.

While working in partnership with the NHS as an independent healthcare charity, Thames Valley Air Ambulance is not currently included in the official personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution system.

While other options, such as donations of stock from business may be available to help guarantee supplies, the air ambulance service is keen not to add to the pressure on these official stocks if possible.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s crews are still being called out to attend patients in desperate need, and while South Central Ambulance Service has taken the lead in call outs on coronavirus cases, due to the growing spread of the virus it is inevitable that crews will come into contact with those who are infected.

The items that Thames Valley Air Ambulance is requesting are:

• Disposable FFP3 Respirators Protective Equipment

• Fluid-Resistant (Type IIR) Surgical Masks

• Coverall Suits Cat 3 Type 5/6

• Clinical Aprons

• Surgical Gloves

• Anti-Fog Glasses

• Anti-Bacterial Wipes/Gel Small and Large

Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s Head of Clinical Service, Martin Bowdler said: “People in our communities still needs our hospital-level critical care as, despite the pandemic, there are of course still those who will face life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

“That’s why it’s vital that our crew are protected from Covid-19 so they can continue delivering advanced medical care without spreading or contracting the virus.

“We are appealing to businesses to donate stocks of PPE to keep our crews safe while working on the frontline by ensuring that they have the right equipment to give patients the best possible chance of survival and recovery.”

Companies that are able to support emergency teams by donating stock they need are asked to email info@tvairambulance.org.uk or call 0300 999 0135 to leave a message with details or visit www.tvairambulance.org.uk/PPE.