Flying doctors’ complete more than 600 missions in first six months
27 November 2015
Consultants on board Wales Air Ambulance Charity flights have given
vital treatment to more than 600 people over the last six months.
Since joining air ambulance flights in April, senior doctors have
provided pioneering emergency medical care across Wales, including
treatment usually only available in hospitals.
Missions included carrying out surgical procedures at the roadside,
21 blood and blood product transfusions and 82 emergency anaesthetics.
More than a third of emergency calls were to treat either heart
attacks or patients in cardiac arrest (38 per cent), and one in five
missions were to care for patients involved in road traffic collisions.
The doctors joined Wales Air Ambulance Charity flights in April as
part of an enhanced emergency care service developed in partnership with
NHS Wales, the Welsh Government, and the Welsh Blood Service.
As well as adding consultants to flights, the enhanced service also
introduced pioneering equipment and treatments developed from armed
forces emergency medical care.
This included being among the first civilian services in Europe to
carry three separate blood products, allowing the critical care team to
provide blood transfusions at the scene of an emergency.
The consultants are joined on missions by critical care practitioners
– advanced medics that received specialist training to join the
Nineteen critical care consultants and twelve critical care
practitioners (CCPs) are now flying with the Wales Air Ambulance across
Dr Ami Jones, a lead consultant specializing in anaesthesia and
intensive care medicine, is one of the flying doctors working on the air
ambulance’s South Wales helicopter.
Dr Jones said: “It’s been a fantastic year, and I’ve no doubt that
there are people living in Wales today that wouldn’t be here had it not
been for the care we’ve provided.
“There have been some incredible cases where the availability of
doctors at the scene of an incident has saved people’s lives, and the
addition of blood products has been particularly important.
“Recently we were required to administer blood products at two
separate incidents in one day, which is really unusual. Thanks to having
quick access to a supply of replacement blood products, we were able to
treat both patients and get them to hospital for the specialist care
“The ability to reach a patient in 20 or 30 minutes and provide
lifesaving treatment gives them a much better chance of survival. It’s
been a busy first six months, but we’re all really enjoying the
Wales Air Ambulance Charity CEO Angela Hughes said: “The availability
of doctors on board Wales Air Ambulance flights has undoubtedly saved
lives across Wales.
“In about half of the cases attended, the team delivered skills and
treatments not routinely available outside of hospital in Wales, saving
time and saving lives.
“The new rapid response vehicles have been an additional benefit,
when we need to reach patients during adverse weather or after dark.”
She added: “This is an exciting time for pre-hospital care in Wales.
The development of our new airbase in Carmarthenshire will be yet
another step in building our air ambulance operation, giving our doctors
the latest technology and facilities to carry out their missions.
“We couldn’t do this without the incredible generosity of our supporters.”
The Welsh Government is providing £2.868m from 2015-16 to support the
enhanced service. The Wales Air Ambulance continues to rely entirely on
charitable donations to raise the £6m required each year to keep the
air ambulances flying.