Air Ambulance Week 2022 – Critical Moments Lifesaving Difference

The critical difference made by air ambulance charities is being highlighted as part of a national campaign by Air Ambulances UK to raise awareness of their life saving work, Air Ambulance Week will start September 5th.

Air Ambulance critical care crews attend major incidents where time is of the essence, delivering lifesaving interventions, using specialist training and equipment and transporting patients to the most appropriate hospitals.

Air Ambulances UK supports the UK’s 21 air ambulance charities, who receive no day-to-day government funding and depend almost entirely on charitable donations to deliver their lifesaving care. They form part of the regional 999 emergency services but are completely separate.

Simmy Akhtar Air Ambulances UK’s CEO said: “Specialist teams of critical care medics perform life-saving procedures that can mean the difference between life and death, at the scene.

“They work side-by-side with the NHS to provide specialist and critical life-saving care, a vital emergency service that is not part of the NHS or in receipt of day-to-day government funding.

“As charities that almost completely rely on donations, we are forever grateful to all supporters who keep critical care teams flying across the UK”.

A medical emergency or traumatic injury can happen to anyone, at anytime, anywhere and reaching a patient sooner where every moment is critical can make a life-saving difference.

The specialist skills of air ambulance critical care teams mean they can turn the scene of any incident into an Emergency Department.

Pilots play a vital role, often not knowing where they will be able to land when they take off, fighting against adverse weather conditions, the light and of course time. Making split-second decisions to access patients in the safest and efficient way.

Air ambulance crews are made up of critical care paramedics and specially trained doctors. Both go through years of additional training to be part of the team. Many crews also work in the NHS with the doctors on board often being Consultants in specialities such as Emergency Medicine or Anaesthesia.

Stewart McMorran, Critical Care Doctor for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, and NHS consultant at Musgrove Park Hospital Taunton, said: “Emergency care administered by air ambulance clinicians teams saves lives. Our rapid response and ability to turn the scene into an Emergency Department means we improve patient outcomes.

“When patients arrive at the hospital and we hand over their care to NHS emergency doctors, more often than not we have stabilised the patient and given lifesaving critical care.

“As a critical care team, we perform procedures at the scene such as administering anaesthesia, giving blood, and performing surgical procedures such as a surgical airway, thoracostomy and thoracotomy; and even, though fortunately, very rarely, amputation.

“We are often treating people in adverse weather conditions, in the dark, and because of the nature of critical emergency medicine, we are always fighting against time.

“Our pilots are also highly skilled and make rapid decisions to get our medical teams as close to the scene as humanly possible.”

Air Ambulances UK is the national charity supporting the lifesaving work of the UK’s air ambulance charities, enabling them to save even more lives every day. Air Ambulance Week, 5th September. To find out more visit:

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