Councillors Support Purchase Of Aircraft Stretcher

Councillors have agreed to suspend their purchasing rules so that a stretcher to allow medical transfers in Skybus planes can be bought with Local Action Group money.

Earlier this year Councillor Julia Day told members of a resident unable to return to the islands following mainland hospitalisation, because he needed transportation on a stretcher.

The Local Action Group has committed £30,000 towards the purchase price of one. The specialist fitted kit will cost £50,000.

The NHS Primary Care Trust and the Steamship Company will both donate £10,000 to make up the amount.

But Councillors have had to suspend the usual requirement for three quotes. It’s such a specialist piece of kit that only two companies could quote for it.

The manufacturer based in Washington in the USA would need 6 to 7 months to provide a stretcher at a cost of $100,000.

But Hebridean Air is selling a second hand model that was used in Islander aircraft for medical transfer to the Outer Hebrides, for £50,000 plus delivery.

The Steamship Company commercial director Nick Sanders wrote to inform the Council that he had investigated how Islanders had been fitted out as air ambulances previously.

Christine Savill supported the application saying that it was essential for the well being of these islands and Council Chairman Mike Hicks said it was a worthwhile piece of equipment.