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Air ambulance responds to a record number of call-outs


Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) has announced that 2023 was its second busiest year on record and its busiest year ever for helping people in urgent need of critical care in Gloucestershire.

The Critical Care Team received a total of 1,979 call-outs to incidents across the charity’s whole region which includes Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and parts of Wiltshire.

In Gloucestershire 573 people needed the urgent response of GWAAC’s specialist crew (29% of the total number of call-outs across GWAAC’s region), an increase from 539 missions In 2022.

2022 was also the first year that the crew was tasked to more call-outs in Gloucestershire than any other region including Bristol, a trend that continued into 2023.

In 2023, the crew attended 73% of total call-outs to the charity’s whole region in one of their fully-equipped critical care cars and 27% by helicopter. In Gloucestershire, the blue and bright green helicopter was a more familiar sight with the crew responding to 44% of patients by helicopter.

Do you know the most likely reason someone would need GWAAC’s air ambulance crew in Gloucestershire?

In 2023 cardiac arrests remained the most common type of incident that GWAAC’s crew attended. The specialist team of Critical Care Doctors, Advanced Practitioners and Specialist Paramedics and Pilots was called to help 134 people suffering a cardiac arrest in Gloucestershire (23% of all missions to the area). The team responded to 503 call-outs for cardiac arrests across GWAAC’s whole region which makes up one-quarter of its annual missions.

Dad and keen footballer, Keith, needed the help of GWAAC when he had a cardiac arrest at the side of his local football pitch in 2022. Keith said: “To be able to sit here and carry on with life as normal – I owe a great deal to GWAAC and the guys who acted quickly.”

Overall, serious medical-related incidents accounted for 47% of GWAAC’s total missions in Gloucestershire in 2023, while trauma-related injuries accounted for 53% of missions in the area.

The second most common type of incident that the crew responded to in Gloucestershire after cardiac arrests was road traffic collisions; the crew was called to help 128 people who needed the skills of the Critical Care Team.

The local air ambulance charity isn’t just there for adults; in 2023 GWAAC was called to more children and teenagers than ever before. They responded to 289 young people and 69 of them were in Gloucestershire.

Anna Perry, Chief Executive Officer, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity said: “With our mission numbers steadily rising year on year it’s more important than ever that we continue to receive the support of the people in our communities. As a charity, we receive no direct government funding and rely on the kindness of people donating their time and money. Costs are rising too and we need to raise over £4 million every year just to stay operational.”

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