What does the air ambulance do?
There are two dedicated air ambulance services in the South Central region - Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA). Both are community funded charities providing an air ambulance that quickly delivers a highly trained medical team to seriously injured or ill patients, 365 days a year. The majority of incidents the air ambulance is sent to are road traffic collisions, medical emergencies, sporting or industrial accidents. The crews are called out on average three times a day and many of these missions are life-saving.
What sort of medical skills do the crews have?
The highly trained crews consist of Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) Doctors and Enhanced Care Paramedics. The teams on board have a wide range of specialist skills and are able to bring the highest level of emergency medical expertise to the roadside to diagnose and treat patients at the scene. The presence of a doctor on board the air ambulance provides a further depth of medical knowledge and the ability to carry out additional medical procedures.
How long will it take for the air ambulance to reach me?
The air ambulance is usually airborne within four minutes. It flies at speeds of up to 160mph and reaches most locations within 10 to 15 minutes.
Who pays for the service?
The services are community funded and completely rely on the support of generous people like you. Each life-saving mission costs on average £2,500 and every donation really does make a difference. There are lots of ways you can support your local air ambulance, including fundraising, making regular donations or by joining as a volunteer. Please see the links below to your local service to find out more ways you can support them.
Does the air ambulance fly at night?
In January 2016 both charities were able to expand their operating hours into the night and are now able to fly until 2am. This is all thanks to the generosity of the local communities who enabled both TVAA and HIOWAA to upgrade their helicopters to the latest Airbus H135, fully equipped and optimised for night flying. Previously both air ambulances could only fly at night from lit, pre-approved sites.
Apart from speed what are the benefits?
The enhanced medical expertise found on board the air ambulance gives patients the best life-saving care, where and when they need it most. Patients will be quickly diagnosed and treated at the scene before being taken to the most appropriate hospital for their injury, which may not necessarily be the closest. For example, if the patient was suffering from burns, they could be taken to a burns unit, or if there was a suspected head injury, the patient could be taken to a hospital with a specialist neurological unit.
Five little facts
- Both air ambulances carry a full range of life-saving equipment on board, including two state-of-the-art ultrasound devices, a blood transfusion kit and an immediate blood analyser, helping to save valuable seconds in the vital golden hour.
- The Airbus H135 used by both air ambulance services can land in an area the size of a tennis court.
- Each air ambulance service is operational in their respective counties for 12 hours every day and then take it in turn for a period of 16 consecutive nights to cover the seven hour night service for the whole of the South Central region and the Isle of Wight.
- Both air ambulance services carry a crew comprising pilot, a doctor and a paramedic. The 'Paramedic Physician Partnership' of doctors and paramedics found on board is essential for a truly gold standard delivery of pre-hospital emergency medicine.
- Pilots on board both air ambulances wear night vision goggles to allow them to see in the dark during night missions. The goggles work using a process of image intensification and have excellent light gathering power and a wide field of view.
Links to other websites
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA)
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is based at Thruxton Airfield, near Andover, and their head office is at 4 Kings Park Road, Southampton, SO15 2AS.
For more information about the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, please visit www.hiowaa.org or watch our video which provides information about the work of the air ambulance, its crew and volunteers, and how the public can help to keep it flying and saving lives.
The Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA)
Thames Valley Air Ambulance is situated at RAF Benson and operates across the three counties of Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. It has evolved into one of the UK’s leading air ambulance charities, delivering a unique life-saving service to patients, where and when they need it most.
TVAA’s doctor and paramedic crews are able to deliver an advanced level of critical care to the roadside to treat seriously ill or injured patients at the scene, fast. Medical innovations on board have advanced from basic medical kits to a full range of life-saving equipment.
TVAA is a vital emergency service that only exists through charitable donations and support. For more information, please visit www.tvairambulance.org.uk
The Association of Air Ambulances
The Association was established as a membership body for those organisations which form the air ambulance services in the UK. The Association's membership which represents the majority of the air ambulance network is made up of charities, ambulance services and the supply chain that provides this valuable life saving service. Please visit http://www.associationofairambulances.co.uk