Britain’s Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA) has marked the completion of its first year operating as a stand-alone service, which has seen a 10.4% increase in missions. The WAA helicopter was called out to 537 incidents between 9th January 2015 and 8th January 2016, up from a total of 486 in calendar year 2014. Prior to January 2015, the WAA shared an MD Explorer with the Wiltshire Police, who are now receiving law enforcement cover from other bases through the National Police Air Service. WAA continue to operate from the Police hangar in Devizes, but are well on the way with plans for their own dedicated base at Semington.
Analysing the call-outs finds the largest cause was cardiac arrests with 167, up from 139 in 2014. The next most common group were road traffic collisions with 145, up from 132. Other missions included 56 sporting injuries, 35 falls, 24 equestrian injuries and 6 industrial incidents.
WAA Critical Care Paramedics also gave pre-hospital blood transfusions to 10 patients since August, when it began carrying blood on board the helicopter and their Rapid Response Vehicle car.
Of the 537 callouts, WAA conveyed 145 patients to hospital and treated another 195 patients on scene, thanks to having two highly trained paramedics on board, able to carry out surgical techniques on critically injured or ill patients by the roadside and to administer additional drugs for pain relief or sedation.
Wiltshire remains the only air ambulance in the UK to use a Bell 429 helicopter, and as we previously noted, the weight limitation imposed by EASA means that two back-to-back round-trips of their average 27 minutes missions without refuel could give WAA a problem. Meanwhile, WAA Chief Executive David Philpott remarked “All of us in the charity team, the aircrew and our volunteers are proud to provide an essential helicopter emergency service for people living, working and travelling through Wiltshire and surrounding counties.”
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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