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Increased demand for Air Ambulance in 2019

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WILTSHIRE Air Ambulance undertook 1,233 missions in 2019 – an increase of 12% on the previous year.

It was also the most number of missions carried out in a year since the charity became a stand-alone air ambulance in 2015.

Of the 1,233 missions last year, 920 were in the rapid response vehicles (cars) while 313 were by helicopter.

During 2019 the charity hired a back up helicopter, an MD 902, before securing its own air operator certificate (AOC) enabling its Bell 429 helicopter to resume flying in November on HEMS (helicopter emergency medical service) missions.

David Philpott, chief executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance said, “Despite the well documented issues with our Bell 429 helicopter during 2019, our aircrew were busier than they have ever been.

“When our helicopter is unable to fly, our critical care paramedics and doctors use rapid response vehicles. The vehicles have the same medical equipment that is onboard the helicopter, so we are still able to provide gold standard medical care to patients.

”We rely on donations to provide our essential service, so we’d like to thank our supporters for their generosity and our volunteers for their dedication in attending fundraising events and raising awareness of our charity.”

The largest number of call outs in 2019 were to cardiac emergencies – 384 – almost one in three missions, while 239 were to road traffic collisions – almost one in five missions.  

The team were also called to 112 falls, 104 medical collapses, 78 assaults and 66 sporting injuries, of which 27 were horse riding accidents. More than one in ten incidents – 132 – involved children. More than one in three missions – 479 – took place at night. The largest number of incidents that Wiltshire Air Ambulance responded to were in the Swindon area – 224.

Other areas in Wiltshire where the team were called to were; Amesbury – 29; Bradford-on-Avon – 20; Calne – 39; Chippenham – 90; Corsham – 29; Cricklade – 6; Devizes – 73; Marlborough – 28; Malmesbury – 23; Melksham – 61; Mere – 4; Pewsey – 16; Royal Wootton Bassett – 17; Salisbury – 57; Tidworth – 19; Tisbury – 3; Trowbridge – 82; Warminster – 57 and Westbury – 27.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance were also called to incidents in neighbouring counties including Bristol, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Somerset.

This year, Wiltshire Air Ambulance celebrates a significant milestone – its 30th year of operation. 

For more information about the charity visit www.wiltshireairambulance .co.uk.

Picture: Wiltshire Air Ambulance aircrew by the charity’s Bell 429 helicopter and rapid response vehicle. Photo credit – Terry Donnelly.

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