Missions rise by 25%

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has experienced its busiest start to a year ever, with a 25% increase in missions in the first half of 2024.

Thursday, 11 July 2024

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The charity was tasked to 682 incidents between January and June this year, up from 543 for the same period in 2023. This represents a rise of 25.6% in the need for the crew’s critical care and expertise. 

The helicopter was used for 397 (58%) of the missions to date, with the remaining 285 incidents attended by critical care cars.  

Safety and ground operations manager Richard Miller said: “Unfortunately this has been the busiest start to a year on record for Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charity.  

“It means more people are becoming critically ill or injured across Wiltshire and Bath, requiring the skills and expertise of our aircrew.  

“We have a very dedicated crew – consisting of pilots, paramedics and doctors – who have been responding to emergencies, on average, around four times every day so far this year."

Richard Miller, safety and ground operations manager

“However, we would not be able to carry out this lifesaving work if it wasn’t for the amazing donors and local businesses who help our charity by raising vital funds to keep our helicopter flying and saving lives.”  

A total of 169 patients have been transferred to local hospitals, the majority of which to the Royal United Hospital in Bath (52), as well as the Great Western Hospital in Swindon (37) and Southmead Hospital in Bristol (36).  

The largest number of call outs were to cardiac emergencies (157), which equates to around a quarter of all missions. There have been 152 neuro/medical collapses, 97 road traffic collisions (all vehicles), 89 falls leading to trauma, 66 self-harm/suicide incidents, 43 sporting incidents and 24 assaults. 

Children (teenaged or younger) accounted for 28% of all missions, while just over a third (191 incidents) took place at night.   

Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charity covers Wiltshire and Bath, as well as surrounding areas when necessary.  

Swindon (124) and Bath (60) have been the most visited areas, followed by Chippenham (58), Devizes (39), Salisbury and Trowbridge (both 37).  

A total of 24% of missions took place outside of Wiltshire and Bath. 

It costs £4.5 million each year to fund Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charity’s lifesaving work, the equivalent of around £12,000 per day.  

Missions by month 

January – 118 
February – 97 
March – 115 
April – 107 
May – 125 
June - 120

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