Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) has reported that 2021 was its second-busiest year since its foundation in 2008, with crews responding to 1,964 callouts over the year. This represents an increase when compared with 1,726 patients in 2020, and translates to an average of over five incidents per day for the charity’s Critical Care Team across its helicopter and care car fleets, with an average mission cost of around £2,000.
GWAAC says that it responded to a higher proportion of callouts to rescue children and teenagers than in any other year on record, constituting 14 per cent (275) of all missions that year. The proportion of dispatches to children and teenagers has reportedly doubled from around seven per cent of all missions in previous years.
GWAAC, which serves approximately 2.1 million inhabitants in western England, covering Bath, North East Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and parts of Wiltshire, reportedly costs around £4 million a year in order to remain operational, and is supported entirely through fundraising.
According to Anna Perry, CEO, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity: “Having experienced our second busiest year on record and with higher than average call-outs to children, I feel very proud of the crew. They have once again shown resilience and courage, and continue to put themselves on the frontline whilst placing patients at the heart of everything they do.”