Air Ambulance reaches new heights by passing 40,000th mission milestone - The Rugby Observer

Air Ambulance reaches new heights by passing 40,000th mission milestone

Rugby Editorial 24th Jun, 2020 Updated: 24th Jun, 2020   0

LIFE-saving flying doctors have flown their 40,000th mission in the region.

Former patients and members of Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) and Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) have been reflecting on what the service means to them as they achieved the milestone this week.

Based at Coventry Airport and East Midlands Airport respectively, WNAA and DLRAA carry paramedics and doctors who are able to perform surgical procedures by the roadside.

Former patient Guy Watt, 49 – who suffered multiple life-threatening injuries when his car aquaplaned, rolled and hit a tree on the M45 near his Dunchurch home in 2014 – attended the Coventry base to mark the occasion.

He said: “It’s incredible to see the service, which saved my life, reach their 40,000th mission milestone.

“Mine was one of those 40,000 missions and, with my injuries, I should not have survived even 24 hours let alone being here today and walking again.

“My family and I are forever grateful for this vital service which is kept operational by public support and donations – I owe more than I will ever be able to give back to the local air ambulance.”

Clinical Lead for The Air Ambulance Service, Dr Matthew Wyse, said: “On 40,000 occasions, the clinical teams have turned up in the air ambulance helicopters or one of our critical care cars to go to the aid of someone who may need us.

“Since my first mission, the response of the public to us has been fantastic; ‘blimey you were quick’ has been one of the consistent comments and reflects the fact that when you or someone you know has been hurt or taken ill, receiving a rapid response is so important.

“Not every one of those 40,000 calls resulted in life saving interventions by the team. Sometimes thankfully the patient is not as serious as first thought, sometimes the team can provide assistance, reassurance and simple help to the patient, sometimes just a rescue flight from a remote hard to reach location is the most important intervention we deliver.”

Director of Operations, Richard Clayton, added: “As we have completed our monumental milestone, I’m reminded of the countless people that have contributed in so many different ways to our services.

“We simply couldn’t have achieved our mission over the past 17 years without our fantastic volunteers, supporters, charity team and NHS partners. Most of all I want to thank my critical care clinicians, pilots and support team members for their significant contribution to our communities and patient care.”

The Air Ambulance Service CEO, Andy Williamson, said: “It is people and their extended families that have been positively affected by our lifesaving work.

“It has meant children still have parents, wives and husbands still had each other and those parents still have their children. It has meant young people have grown up when they might not have done, it has meant people celebrating their own milestone birthdays and anniversaries which might never have happened and it has meant saving the NHS tens of millions of pounds by providing all our services for free.

“All of this is achieved because of the dedication and commitment, the pride and the passion of everyone involved in our air ambulance service. We do what charities are meant to do, make an impact and benefit society – we save lives and long may we continue doing so.”

The charity is entirely funded by public donations, with each mission costing an average of £1,700. It has launched a #40for40 virtual fundraising challenge and encourage the general public to get involved.

Visit or call 0300 3045 999 for more information on the challenge and how to take part.

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