Life-saving air-ambulance charity reports busiest year to date

The GWAAC crew. Picture: Tamara Lynn Kwan

The GWAAC crew. Picture: Tamara Lynn Kwan - Credit: Archant

A life-saving charity has reported a record number of cases in North Somerset over the past year.

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) attended 272 critical incidents in North Somerset last year, 30 per cent more than in 2017.

The incidents saw the charity dispatch its trademark green helicopter or one or two critical care cars to provide life-saving medical treatment to patients at the scene of an incident. In 2017, the GWAAC were called to 143 critical incidents – 67 of which were in Weston.

The charity provides its critical care and air ambulance service to 2.1 million people across the counties of Bath, Bristol, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire.

More than 50 per cent of incidents in North Somerset were attended to by one of the GWAAC’s critical care cars, which the charity says is a better option when an incident is close to its new base.

Last year was the charity’s busiest to date, as it was called to 1,887 incidents overall.

The team consists of critical care doctors and specialist paramedics who can carry out life-saving interventions – from blood transfusions to cardiac arrests.

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Chief executive Anna Perry said: “As these numbers show, there is increasing demand for our vital service each year. 2018 was a very busy year for GWAAC and our crew.

“Alongside our day-to-day operations, we also successfully purchased and moved into our new air base in Almondsbury thanks to everyone’s generous donations and support.

“This move has not only provided much-needed stability but enabled our crew to work in a suitable environment, meaning we can continue to provide this life-saving service.”

The charity moved into its new purpose-built air base in Almondsbury, having launched a campaign to Buy Our Base, raising more than £1.3million.

The charity needs to raise more than £3million each year to remain operational, but it does not receive any day-to-day funding from the government or National Lottery ­– meaning it is reliant on donors and supporters.

To find out more about the charity or make a donation, visit