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Gold Level Training Day with the Children’s Air Ambulance

Gold Level Training Day with the Children’s Air Ambulance

On a cold December day, doctors and nurses from different NHS Children’s Transport Teams (clinical partner teams), travelled to Coventry from Southampton, Bristol, Manchester, London, and places in between, with cars and vans full of medical equipment, stretchers, helmets and training manikins – they were all heading to a joint training day with our Children’s Air Ambulance helicopter.

Every clinical partner team we work with has a group of experienced staff who have the role of educating and training their colleagues. It is these dedicated educators who will take a nurse or doctor, skilled in road transport, and help them understand the challenges and complexities of flight transfers.

Training time with our aircraft and the pilots is precious, so in order to make the most of each hour, the educators wanted to meet together to practise training and develop a curriculum which covered all the key learning points.

The aims of the day were:


The teams had access to one of our Children’s Air Ambulance helicopters, and two of the pilots. They also had access to one of the clinical partner team’s wooden helicopter cabins situated in the airport fire station – so two groups could train simultaneously. They were able to use training manikins that acted as realistic substitute patients, linked up to monitors that simulated the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and other parameters.

The participants were able to immerse themselves in the flight environment, responding to developing clinical and aviation situations. The scenarios were detailed and exciting, but didn’t just focus on the sickest patient – one exercise helped the teams to develop strategies for supporting an anxious parent who wished to accompany their child – now possible due to the dedicated parent seat onboard.

The most important part of the day was the debrief which followed each scenario. The teams gathered around, including observers and pilots, to discuss the training scenarios and the learning outcomes that came from them.

Embrace Transport Nurse Educator, Ian Braithwaite commented: “Everyone was very grateful for the Children’s Air Ambulances’ generous support on the day. We are excited about cascading everything we have learnt to our colleagues, and providing the children we transport with high-quality care in the back of the Children’s Air Ambulances’ high-quality aircraft.”

Head of Operations, Philip Bridle added: “It was great to have the excellent NHS Clinical Partner Teams we work with attend the Gold Level Training Day, using our Children’s Air Ambulance helicopter for simulation training. It was the first of its kind and shaped the strategy surrounding our Children’s Air Ambulance and clinical training.”

The clinical partner teams we work with help us to transfer critically ill babies and children, providing specialist care, across the UK – Click below to find out more about each of the teams: