2018 marked the busiest year so far for the UK’s Devon Air Ambulance since it began operating 27 years ago. Assisting 1,109 patients in total – 119 more than in 2017 – the service saw a 12-per-cent increase in operations in 2018.
Nigel Hare, Operations Director for Devon Air Ambulance, commented on the busy period, saying that ‘trauma-related incidents equated to 49 per cent of the patients they responded to’, and that the remaining 51 per cent of operations were medical emergencies such as heart attacks or breathing problems. Hare continued: “We are here for all ages and 121 of our missions (11 per cent) were to under 18s. We also attended two patients who were over 100!”
Figures released by the charity showed that the most common trauma injury was to the head, with leg injuries coming a close second, and the chest third. Furthermore, of all the road traffic collisions attended, road traffic collisions equated to 238 of 732 (almost a third of the total trauma incidents).
Other statistics revealed that the number of motorcyclists treated increased by 20 per cent since the previous year (70 in total), whilst 62 of the missions were to equestrian-related incidents. The findings also exposed that the busiest day for Devon Air Ambulance is Friday, and the busiest time of day is between 12:00 hrs and 13:00 hrs.
Heléna Holt, CEO of Devon Air Ambulance added: “Keeping the service airborne last year cost £7.5million. Raising this amount to ensure the stability of the service is a huge task but being able to further extend our service to 02:00 really is testament to the fantastic supporters we have throughout Devon.”