19-Jul-2011 Source: Wales Air Ambulance
Helicopter charity Wales Air Ambulance is expanding its Welshpool-based operation from a five-day service to seven days a week, from 19thJuly.
The lifesaving service, currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, is increasing its air cover for Mid Wales to 365 days a year following an ongoing fundraising drive by the charity.
Wales Air Ambulance will announce the development on 19th July at the Royal Welsh Show, stand H498 at 12pm.
Wales Air Ambulance has become an integral part of rural life and frequently flies into the Royal Welsh Show. Last year, the charity airlifted 11 patients from the four-day event.
To date, Tuesdays and Wednesdays have been covered by the charityâ€™s aircrews in the north and south of Wales. The expanded service will ensure that the whole of Wales receives full emergency air cover week in, week out.
The charityâ€™s clinical and operations manager, Jason Williams, said: â€œThis is a huge step for Wales Air Ambulance, and also for residents and visitors to Mid Wales.
â€œTime makes a vital difference in an emergency and it has always been a huge goal for the charity to get seven-day cover in such a remote region.â€
The speed and accessibility of the custom-built helicopters helps get patients to the care they need within the â€˜Golden Hourâ€™, which increases a patientâ€™s chance of recovery. The Welshpool crew can reach Builth Wells within 15 minutes, and then fly a major trauma unit within another 15 minutes.
The all-Wales charity, which relies solely on public donations to operate, is continuing with its fundraising drive to keep all three air ambulances flying for the country.
Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise over Â£5 million each year in order to maintain the service.
The seven-day operation in Welshpool will trial for six months with the aim of continuing indefinitely, subject to ongoing fundraising.
Chief executive Angela Hughes added: â€œThe last ten years wouldnâ€™t have been possible without whole-hearted support from the peopleÂ of Wales. This is an incredible landmark for the charity but our next challenge is to keep the service at seven-days and we will need your help to do that â€“ even the smallest of donations will help to make a lifesaving difference.”