Last night members of 30 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton, operating C-130 Hercules aircraft, were called upon to assist the NHS with the transfer of a patient from Glasgow to London using a specialist air transportable capability.
The 38-year-old man was admitted to the Brownlee Centre at Glasgow’s Gartnavel General Hospital yesterday in a critical condition and was confirmed as having the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus. This tick-borne tropical disease, which is rare in western Europe, is fatal in up to 30 per cent of cases.
At 1130hrs on Thursday 4 October, Air Support Command Overseas Transport Operations received a phone call from the Aeromedical Evacuation Control Centre requesting RAF assistance to move the man from Glasgow to the Royal Free Hospital in London via RAF Northolt.
The Air Transportation Isolation Team were called into action to utilise an isolation unit on the Hercules, which was then swiftly dispatched complete with a full RAF clinical care team to collect the critically-ill patient and transfer him to the Royal Free Hospital in London which specialises in infectious diseases.
The specialised RAF team were called away from their normal medical duties at short notice and from different locations to assemble and provide the capability.
The C-130 Hercules was loaded with the team and equipment and departed from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire to collect the patient at Glasgow Airport from where he was flown to London, providing a quicker and safer method of transfer than by road.