The Air Ambulance Service celebrates 50,000th mission

The Air Ambulance Service celebrates 50,000th mission

13-Jul-2023 Source: The Air Ambulance Service

Your local air ambulance has achieved the monumental milestone of undertaking its 50,000th mission in a year that sees the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) celebrating 20 years of lifesaving service and Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) celebrating 15 years.

The lifesaving service has touched tens of thousands of lives in the process of reaching the impressive milestone and the feat is even more remarkable given the fact all missions are funded entirely by public donations – at no cost to the NHS.

WNAA and DLRAA provide pre-hospital emergency critical care – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – utilising both helicopters and Critical Care Cars while working alongside East Midlands and West Midlands Ambulance Services.

Former patient Jake Elliott, who needed the vital service when he involved in a near-fatal road traffic collision while travelling as a passenger, attended the charity’s Coventry airbase to mark the occasion.

“It’s incredible to see the service, which helped saved my life, reach its 50,000th mission milestone,” said Jake. “Mine was one of those 50,000 missions and my story highlights the difference between life and death that being treated by the air ambulance crew can make.

“I am forever grateful for this vital service for getting to me so quickly, for their advanced medical interventions, and getting me to hospital so quickly – all which contributed to saving my life. I would either not be here or be in a much different position. It’s amazing that this vital service is kept operational by public support and donations,” he added.

Based at Coventry Airport and its East Midlands airbase currently at Nottingham Heliport respectively, WNAA and DLRAA carry dedicated critical care paramedics and doctors who are able to perform advanced medical interventions and surgical procedures – usually performed in a hospital environment – from thoracotomies and caesareans to amputations, when the need is there.

The charity’s frontline crews, who work tirelessly around the clock to help save lives, are proud to have been able to help so many in their moment of need.

Critical Care Paramedic & Base Manager Philippa Gibbs said: “On 50,000 occasions, our clinical teams have been tasked in the air ambulance helicopters (63%) or Critical Care Cars (37%) to go to the aid of someone who may need us.

“Since 2003, the response of the public to us has been fantastic as we have continued to provide frontline critical care across our five counties and further afield as we’ve responded to countless road traffic collisions, medical incidents, assaults, falls, sporting/leisure incidents and industrial accidents.

“Not every one of the 50,000 calls resulted in lifesaving interventions by our crews, sometimes thankfully the patient is not as serious as first thought and the team can provide assistance and reassurance to the patient. However, sometimes the time saved or the rescue flight from a remote hard to reach location is the most important intervention we deliver, but we’re proud to have been there for our communities, and we will continue to be.”

Director of Operations, Richard Clayton, added: “As we have completed our monumental milestone of 50,000 lifesaving missions, I’m proud of how our frontline services have enhanced over the years and the clinical developments achieved – allowing our services to help lead the way in pre-hospital emergency medicine.

“I’m reminded of the countless people that have contributed in so many ways to our services, we simply couldn’t have achieved our mission over the past 20 years without our fantastic volunteers, donors, supporters, charity team and NHS partners.

“Most of all I want to thank my critical care clinicians, pilots and support team members for their significant contribution to our communities and patient care, as well as their families who have been consistently supportive of their loved ones working tirelessly round the clock.”

Funded by public donations, with each mission costing an average of £1,700, 50,000 missions means over £85m has been funded to keep the vital charity operational – emphasising the need for continued support from the public to enable them to continue saving lives.

The Air Ambulance Service Acting CEO, Emma Peake reflects on what this means to the charity: “It is incredible to think about reaching 50,000 missions and gives us all an enormous sense of pride because of the difference we have been making to patient outcomes and people’s lives.

“When we talk about 50,000 missions, it is people and their extended families that have been positively affected by our lifesaving work. It has meant people celebrating their own milestone birthdays and anniversaries which might never have happened, it has meant saving the NHS tens of millions of pounds by providing all our services for free, and it has meant many lives saved or extra time given for families to say goodbye.

“All of this is achieved because of the dedication, commitment, and passion of everyone involved at our charity. 50,000 missions has been supported not only by our incredible supporters, donors, and staff, but through our network of now 37 retail stores which have generated an astounding £42m, 680 reuse clothing banks, and a sensational army of now 795 selfless volunteers.”

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