After a big fundraising campaign and support from members of the public Great Western Air Ambulance Charity have today received their new helicopter.
The Eurocopter 135 will replace the current helicopter, an aging Bolkow, enabling the charity to transform the care they are able to offer to patients.
The Movin’ On Up campaign was launched to raise the £250,000 needed to secure the additional lease for six months.
Thanks to the generosity of the public the target was met, and the new helicopter has arrived at the base in Filton.
Upgrading to the EC 135 will mean that the advanced Critical Care service that operates in the region will be carried out in a helicopter that is compatible with the high standard of medical care and interventions that the team provide.
The EC 135 will include an extra seat, meaning that if a child is airlifted we will be able to take a parent with them.
This extra seat will also allow us to train our new paramedics and doctors.
Currently we are not able to land on the BRI or the Gloucester Royal helipads, but with our new helicopter we will be able to, allowing us greater hospital access across the region.
The EC 135 is also side loading, which will reduce the amount of time it takes to load patients.
With the Bolkow patients are loaded through the back, a process that can take up to 20 minutes.
To keep the new helicopter in the air GWAAC now need to raise £2million a year – and so we need the support of the public even more than ever.
People can donate via our website www.gwaac.com, or by texting HELI13 £2 (or any amount) to 70070.
GWAAC works to the gold standard Critical Care Model, which means rushing a critical care paramedic and critical care doctor to the scene.
Essentially we are a flying Accident and Emergency Department, bringing the hospital to the patients.
The team fly seven days a week, 365 days a year and attend more than 100 incidents per month.
We provide one of the busiest air ambulances in the UK.
Within five minutes of a 999 call to our base the aircraft is in the air, and no more than 20 minutes later the team are anywhere within the region that we cover.
This means that one patient in five – a patient otherwise expected to die – survives.
The GWAAC helicopter is based in Filton, just north of Bristol, and is part of the regional 999 emergency response service.
We receive no funding from the Government or the National Lottery, which means we rely entirely on the generosity of the people we serve to continue operating.
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