Growing demand for Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Growing demand for Wiltshire Air Ambulance
Photo credit: Terry Donnelly via Wiltshire Air Ambulance website

The UK-based lifesaving charity undertook 1,233 missions in 2019, representing an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year

Of these missions, 920 were by rapid response vehicle and 313 by car.

Although the charity had some issues with its Bell 429 helicopter in 2019 (the helicopter was grounded due to technical problems), this didn’t stop it from carrying out its highest number of missions to date. It used a back-up helicopter, a MD 902, and after securing its own Air Operator Certificate, its Bell 429 helicopter was able to resume flying.

 “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,” said David Philpott, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

In terms of the types of callouts, the team responded to 384 cardiac emergencies, 239 road traffic collisions, 112 falls, 104 medical collapses, 78 assaults and 66 sporting injuries. And 479 missions took place at night.

It mainly responded to incidents in the Swindon area (224 incidents) but was also called to: Amesbury - 29; Bradford-on-Avon - 20; Calne - 39; Chippenham - 90; Corsham - 29; Cricklade - six; Devizes - 73; Marlborough - 28; Malmesbury - 23; Melksham - 61; Mere - four; Pewsey - 16; Royal Wootton Bassett - 17; Salisbury - 57; Tidworth - 19; Tisbury - three; Trowbridge - 82; Warminster - 57 and Westbury - 27.

As the charity looks forward to celebrating its 30th year of operation this year, Philpott extended thanks to its supporters: ”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.”