First half of 2021 proves busy for Wiltshire Air Ambulance

By Nick Batten on 15 July, 2021

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has seen a 5% increase in the need for its service in the first half of 2021, carrying out its lifesaving work in the Bath area a total of 87 times. 

Despite a third national lockdown being imposed on the country in the first few months of the year, incident numbers have still risen from 544 (Jan-Jun 2020) to 570 (Jan-Jun 2021). 

Of those 570 incidents, 368 were carried out in the helicopter and 202 in the Rapid Response Vehicles (cars). 

As the Government announced its pathway out of lockdown, incident numbers spiked significantly in April (114) and May (111). 

The vast majority of call-outs were to people suffering cardiac emergencies, 162, followed by those suffering other medical conditions such as strokes, collapses and respiratory problems, totalling 135. Road traffic collisions (99) is third on the list of call-outs, narrowly ahead of falls (83). 

Wiltshire Air Ambulance was called to incidents in the Bath area 45 times in the first half of 2021. The charity also conveyed patients to the Royal United Hospital in the city on 42 occasions – the most frequented hospital by far. 

Bath has been Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s third most visited city or town so far this year, behind Swindon (109) and Salisbury (48). 

The call-outs in Wiltshire and Bath amounted to 76%, with the remaining 24% in surrounding counties like Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset. 

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has continued to operate throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, ensuring their critical care paramedics are on call for those who need them most. In 2020 they were called to a record number of 1,238 incidents. 

Wiltshire Air Ambulance clinical service and ground base manager Richard Miller said, “The last 18 months for our pilots and paramedics has been extremely tough, operating on the frontline and now the need for our lifesaving service continues to rise. 

“We really are funded by you, flying for you – and we can’t thank the people of Wiltshire and Bath enough for their ongoing generosity to support our lifesaving work.” 

Breakdown of incidents by month: 

January – 76 (103 in 2020) February – 87 (86) March – 91 (79) April – 114 (68) May – 111 (87) June – 91 (121) 

Selected breakdown of incidents by category: 

Cardiac – 28% (35% in 2020) Other medical conditions, including collapses and strokes – 24% (17%) Road traffic collisions – 17% (15%) Falls – 15% (14%) Sports (including horse riding) – 6% (5%) 

Caption: Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Bell 429 helicopter flies over the city of Bath, with Bath Rugby’s Recreation Ground in view. CREDIT: Terry Donnelly