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Join the fight to save 'vital' Portland Coastguard Helicopter
DORSET County Hospital’s major trauma chief has urged residents to fight for their “vital” coastguard rescue helicopter service.
Dr Ian Mew, clinical director and consultant in anaesthetics and intensive care medicine, says the Portland Coastguard Helicopter “saves lives” and he’s worried decommissioning could spell serious consequences.
Penny-pinching government officials plan to axe the service – which operates across Dorset and the Bournemouth conurbation – in five years, as part of budget cuts.
An online petition closes on August 23, but to stand any chance of forcing the issue back onto the parliamentary agenda it needs 100,000 signatures.
Currently, campaigners are woefully short, with only around 7,000 people signed up.
Dr Mew, whose medical staff witness first-hand the vital role the helicopter and its crew play in life and death situations, stressed: “Those with an in-depth, local knowledge of what this helicopter does knows that it saves lives.”
He urged: “Please help to keep the Portland Coastguard helicopter. Don’t forget, they regularly transport people from accidents on land to hospital, not just at sea.
“And they are a vital resource in transferring sick patients between hospitals across long distances within the UK.”
South Dorset MP Richard Drax , a staunch campaigner of the coastguard helicopter, is also fighting for its future.
He believes: “We must ensure that we do not lose a precious resource like our helicopter, to which so many people owe their lives, without a very grave and public assessment of the consequences.
“I have told the secretary of state that no consultation was undertaken over getting rid of our helicopter because the service was being ‘improved.’ “She has assured me that ten newer, faster helicopters can do the job previously done by 12. That is debatable.
“No helicopter can be in two places at once, no matter how fast it is.”
The e-petition, which closes on August 23, can be found at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions 30225