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A busy start to 2021

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has seen a 5% increase in the need for its service in the first half of 2021.

Despite a third national lockdown being imposed on the country in the first few months of 2021, incident numbers have still risen from 544 (Jan-Jun 2020) to 570 (Jan-Jun 2021).

Of those 570 incidents, 368 were carried out in the helicopter and 202 in the Rapid Response Vehicles (cars).  

As the Government announced its pathway out of lockdown, incident numbers spiked significantly in April (114) and May (111). 

The vast majority of call outs were to people suffering cardiac emergencies, 162, followed by those suffering other medical conditions such as strokes, collapses and respiratory problems, totalling 135. Road traffic collisions (99) is third on the list of call outs, narrowly ahead of falls (83).  

Wiltshire Air Ambulance airlifted patients or assisted them to hospital by land on 128 occasions. There were 63 incidents across 2021 to date involving children.

The largest number of incidents we were called to took place in the Swindon area – 109, followed by Salisbury (48) and Bath (45). 

The call outs in Wiltshire and Bath amounted to 76%, with the remaining 24% in surrounding counties like Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has continued to operate throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, ensuring our critical care paramedics are on call for those who need us most. In 2020 they were called to a record number of 1,238 incidents. 

Wiltshire Air Ambulance clinical service and ground base manager Richard Miller said: “The last 18 months for our pilots and paramedics has been extremely tough, operating on the frontline and now the need for our lifesaving service continues to rise.  

“We really are funded by you, flying for you – and we can’t thank the people of Wiltshire and Bath enough for their ongoing generosity to support our lifesaving work.” 

Breakdown of incidents by month 

January – 76 (103 in 2020) 
February – 87 (86) 
March – 91 (79) 
April – 114 (68) 
May – 111 (87) 
June – 91 (121)

Breakdown of incidents by category 

Cardiac – 28% (35% in 2020) 
Other medical conditions, including collapses and strokes – 24% (17%) 
Road traffic collisions – 17% (15%) 
Falls – 15% (14%) 
Sports (including horse riding) – 6% (5%) 

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