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Partnership drone project that benefits Island patients receives a commendation
11 December 2020

Solent Transport and all the partners involved in the drone project, are delighted to have been commended in the Transport and Logistics category at this year’s Health Business Awards.

The trial, which began in April, was the first of its kind, using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), popularly known as Drone, to transport medical supplies across the Solent to support the response to the COVID19 pandemic.

Funded by the Department for Transport, the trial was part of the Solent Transport Future Transport Zone (FTZ) four year project. It will use drones designed and built by the University of Southampton for Windracers, to transport medical supplies to St Marys Hospital from the mainland via the Solent Airport, a crossing that will take about 10 minutes.

Nikki Turner, Director of Transformation at Isle of Wight NHs Trust said: “It is wonderful news that this initiative has been recognised at the Health Business Awards. Responding to the pandemic in an effective way, involved exploring lots of new ways of working, including more efficient transport solutions for PPE, medical supplies and pathology samples.

“This was of particular importance to support the health needs of our Island population during the pandemic. Through this collaborative project that brought together partners from the technology, the NHS Trust, local authority and university sectors, we are able to ensure our teams were involved in developing more efficient ways of transporting these items, while reducing the need of human travel and contact. We thank all those on the mainland and the Island who are involved in this exciting research project.”

The project plan is to develop an air traffic management system to oversee the safe movement of both manned and unmanned aircraft in shared airspace. The aim is to benefit patients on the Isle of Wight by speeding up the delivery of critical medical supplies from hospitals on the mainland to the Isle of Wight.

A spokesperson for the Solent Transport partnership said “We want to thank everyone that has supported and worked on the project so far, including; the University of Southampton, Windracers, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Southampton City Council, Portsmouth City Council, Isle of Wight Council, Hampshire County Council and the brilliant NHS staff, especially those at St Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight NHS Trust.”

More information on the Health Business Award winners

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