Wiltshire Air Ambulance assists Bath with 166 incidents in 2020

By Nick Batten on 8 January, 2021

The importance of Wiltshire Air Ambulance to the city of Bath has been highlighted in the latest statistics released by the lifesaving charity.

The charity carried out its lifesaving work in Bath 166 times last year; attending 80 incidents in the city and its surrounding areas, as well as airlifting and assisting patients to the Royal United Hospital 86 times. It means Wiltshire Air Ambulance was tasked to Bath more than three times a week on average during 2020.

A total of 1,238 missions were undertaken by the charity during 2020 – a record number since becoming a stand-alone air ambulance in 2015.

With its airbase in Semington, near Trowbridge, Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s helicopter can fly to the centre of Bath within just four minutes. The charity has now been called to Bath more than any other air ambulance resource in the past three years.

It shows, despite two national lockdowns due to the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and now a third to begin 2021, the need for Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s lifesaving service has never been more crucial.

David Philpott, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said, “Our aircrew has continued to operate on the front line throughout the pandemic, responding to incidents during a very challenging year – and 2021 looks like being just as difficult.

“We had to alter our operations suitably to ensure we could still be there for the people of Wiltshire and surrounding areas, including Bath. With all of our major events cancelled and community fundraising impacted by the pandemic, this has clearly had an effect on our income.

“That said, we have been taken aback by the response from our kind donors, who have surpassed all expectations for donations received in the past 12 months. For that, we are so grateful.”

Of the 1,238 missions last year, 568 were by helicopter and 670 were in the Rapid Response Vehicles (cars). The largest number of call-outs were to cardiac emergencies – 383 – almost one in three missions, while 208 were to road traffic collisions – around one in six missions and a drop of 2% on 2019 missions.

Breakdown of incidents by month:

  • January – 103
  • February – 86
  • March – 79
  • April – 68
  • May – 87
  • June – 121
  • July – 126
  • August – 126
  • September – 115
  • October – 90
  • November – 114
  • December – 123

Breakdown of incidents by category:

  • Cardiac – 31% (35% in 2019)
  • Other medical conditions, including collapses and strokes – 17% (17%)
  • Road traffic collisions – 17% (19%)
  • Falls – 14% (10%)
  • Sports (including horse riding) – 5% (5%)
  • Other trauma incidents – 16% (14%)

In April 2020, at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic’s first wave, Wiltshire Air Ambulance loaned the Royal United Hospital’s emergency department two spare mechanical ventilators.

Pictured above: (Left to Right) Wiltshire Air Ambulance paramedics Richard Miller and Craig Wilkins