We provide an essential Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) throughout the county and beyond. The crew works alongside SWASfT (the South Western Ambulance Service foundation Trust) land crews and other emergency services to deliver the best medical care possible to anybody who lives, works or travels in Wiltshire.
The air ambulance can scramble in just two minutes and reach anywhere in Wiltshire within nine minutes. The speed of our helicopter, along with the skill of our crew, can make the difference between life and death.
We fly up to 19 hours a day and attend, on average, 3 potentially lifesaving missions in that time. We are called to all kinds of emergencies, from road traffic collisions to cardiac incidents, child-related emergencies to horseriding and cycling injuries. These incidents are not just in Wiltshire but in neighbouring counties as well (12% of our callouts are outside the county).
We began carrying blood on the helicopter and rapid response vehicle on 17 August 2015. At the time we were one of two air ambulances in the South West of England to do so.
This innovation means our Critical Care Paramedics can give emergency blood transfusions to patients before they are taken to hospital, giving them a better chance of survival.
We carry two units of O negative blood. It is stored in a Credo blood box, an insulated box that maintains the blood within a narrow temperature range preventing damage and spoilage.
The blood is collected daily from the North Bristol Trust Transfusion Laboratory at Southmead Hospital and delivered to our Operations Centre in Devizes by the charity Freewheelers EVS. Additional deliveries can be made if required by our Paramedics.
If the blood is not used it is returned to Southmead Hospital by the volunteer blood bikers after 24 hours. Any unused blood is able to put back into the Southmead Hospital blood bank, preventing waste.
We really are funded by you and flying for you.