Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance marks 8,000th mission

Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance marks 8,000th mission

5-May-2011 Source: Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA) has completed its 8,000th mission since its launch in March, 2000.

The milestone call-out was to take an 18-month-old burns victim from Shaftesbury to Salisbury District Hospital, which has a specialist burns unit.

During 2010, the Air Ambulance attended 788 incidents, 51 per cent of them (403) in Dorset and 46 per cent in Somerset (360), with the rest crossing county borders into Devon and Wiltshire.

The busiest month was May, with 92 call-outs, followed by August with 75 emergencies and July with 74. The busiest day of the week was Sunday.

Of the patients flown to hospital, 134 (33 per cent) were taken to the Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester, 73 (18 per cent) to Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, 62 (15 per cent) to the Royal United Hospital, Bath, and 37 (nine per cent) to Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.

Twenty nine-patients were flown to hospital in Poole, 22 to Salisbury, 18 to Yeovil, 14 to Bournemouth, and seven to Weston-super-Mare, with the remainder going to hospitals outside the two counties as far away as Southampton and Plymouth.

DSAA Chief Executive Officer Bill Sivewright said: “Every one of the missions we fly is the result of somebody suffering a potentially life-threatening injury or accident. So, we are not celebrating this milestone.

“We have helped to save countless lives over the years because we can reach any part of the two counties in 19 minutes and we know that patients who receive treatment within the first hour – the ‘Golden Hour’ as it’s known – have a much better chance of survival.

“The 8,000 call outs in 10 years clearly demonstrates the need for our Air Ambulance. The funds raised by the people of Dorset and Somerset have, of course, been vital to delivering the service and we are grateful to them for their generous support.

“We rely entirely on donations to raise the £3,800 a day cost of keeping our helicopter flying and we do not receive any direct Government or National Lottery funding.

“Without the support of individuals, businesses and organisations throughout Dorset and Somerset, we simply could not keep going.”

A major fund-raising event for the Charity is being held in June with a cycle ride from the Somerset coast to the Dorset coast as part of National Bike Week.

The Coast 2 Coast (C2C) ride will take place on Sunday, June 19, starting in the Somerset port of Watchet, and finishing in West Bay, near Bridport.

Entry forms can be downloaded from the DSAA website at or are available by emailing or calling 01823 669604.

Coast 2 Coast is being supported by solicitors Porter Dodson, building firm Pollard, Bond Air Services, The Bicycle Chain, and The George Hotel, West Bay

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