Big increase in air ambulance activity

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) marked National Air Ambulance Week, September 9-15, by releasing their mission statistics for the first half of 2019, revealing the charity has seen a 62 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of incidents attended across the Hampshire and Isle of Wight region.

For the first six months of 2019, the life-saving Charity was tasked to 1,075 incidents, compared to 662 missions for the same period in the previous year. The reasons behind this dramatic increase are varied. However, there are several possible explanations that can be attributed to the rise in numbers.

HIOWAA started the year with seven new trainee helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) paramedics, resulting in the charity being able to staff an increased number of flights along with dispatching Critical Care Team Vehicles (CCTV) as appropriate. The three vehicles were repositioned in November, 2018 to operate within the M27 corridor and this appears to have increased the number of incidents, although further analysis is needed.

The charity’s aircraft has also seen a significant increase of 31 per cent in incident responses for the same period. Director of Operations for HIOWAA, Nick Thuilliez, said: “The arrival of our new trainee HEMS paramedics has allowed us to increase staffing levels for our CCTVs and dispatch desk so that, ultimately, we can respond to more patients in their hour of need.

“In addition, thanks to improved data, we have repositioned our vehicles closer to where they are most likely needed. As a life-saving charity, our patients are at the heart of every strategic decision we make.”

The charity, which celebrated its 12th birthday on July 1, has now responded to a total of 8,862 call-outs since beginning operations in July, 2007. July this year was the charity’s busiest month to date, with the crew responding to 244 incidents across the region.