Air Ambulance crews reach 50,000 missions milestone - The Leamington Observer

Air Ambulance crews reach 50,000 missions milestone

AIR ambulance crews are flying high after notching up a monumental 50,000 missions.

Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA), based at Coventry Airport, together with sister service Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland Air Ambulance, which flies from Nottingham Heliport, hit the milestone as they also celebrated their 20th anniversary.

The air ambulance began operating in 2003 and has touched the lives of tens of thousands of individuals and families.

All the missions are funded entirely by public donations – at no cost to the NHS – with each costing an average of £3,500.

WNAA, which covers an area of 3,850 square miles, provides pre-hospital emergency critical care – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – utilising both helicopters and critical care cars while working alongside West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Former patient Jake Elliott has first hand experience of the service after he was involved in a near-fatal road traffic collision while travelling as a passenger, .

He said: “It’s incredible to see the service, which helped save my life, reach its 50,000th mission milestone.

“Mine was one of those 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.”

WNAA 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 caesareans to amputations.

Critical care paramedic and base manager Philippa Gibbs said: “On 50,000 occasions, our clinical teams have been tasked in the air ambulance helicopters or critical care cars 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.

“We’re proud to have been there for our communities, and we will continue to be.”

With each mission costing an average of £1,700 – 50,000 missions means over £85million has been funded to keep the vital charity operational – but continued support from the public is needed.

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