The impact of our work in 2023

The year 2023 proved another busy one for the aircrew of Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Tuesday, 16 January 2024

Dr Jono Holme delivering drugs to a patient in flight

In total they were called to 1,167 missions across Wiltshire, Bath and surrounding areas, which meant the need for our service increased by 10.6% when compared with the previous 12 months.

On scene, the critical care paramedics and pre-hospital doctors that form our aircrew – alongside the line pilots – were called upon to undertake more surgical procedures, blood transfusions and pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia than ever before.

Below you can find a snapshot of the type of procedures being carried out by the Wiltshire Air Ambulance aircrew, whether it be at the roadside, on a field in the countryside or someone’s home or place of work.

Last year the team carried out 49 procedural sedations, which enables our crews to perform a variety of therapeutic interventions to reduce pain and suffering following trauma. This was a 58% increase in procedural sedations when compared to the previous year.

Blood transfusions rose 44% in 2023, with 36 patients receiving the crucial intervention from our crews. Wiltshire Air Ambulance began carrying blood in 2015, and now has two units of O Negative red blood cells, two units of O Positive red blood cells and four units of plasma on board.

A paramedic who is being handed a delivery box of blood products from a biker wearing a high vis jacket and a helmet.
A critical care paramedic doing training in a simulation room using medical equipment and a mannequin.

The number of patients treated with pre-hospital emergency anesthesia went up by 18% to 45 last year. This is a vital yet high-risk intervention performed by our critical care teams in order to gain rapid control of a patient's physiology following serious traumatic or medical incidents.

Elsewhere, our aircrew supported 108 patients in 2023 with advanced airway management (up from 90 in 2022), carried out 12 surgical interventions and on 90 occasions the team used the LUCAS machine to deliver CPR.

During 2023 our doctors performed nine regional nerve blocks to patients, which is a skill our critical care paramedics will be able to undertake going forwards as the charity continues to enhance its clinical operations.