the North West Air Ambulance Charity is raising awareness of its lifesaving service across the region, as it also celebrates an incredible 20th year of service.
From September 1st 2018 – August 31st 2019, the charity has completed 2,403 missions across the North West. Many patients receive critical pre-hospital medical care from a crew of advanced paramedics and consultants – which can often make the difference between life and death.
NWAA helicopters can fly at speeds of 150mph, saving vital minutes for patients in urgent need of treatment, whether that’s reaching a specialist centre within the region, being attended to at the scene for time-critical conditions such as cardiac arrests, or receiving lifesaving blood transfusions on board.
Robin Johnson was one such patient who was attended to by NWAA this year. Whilst out on a cycle in October 2018, Robin was involved in a life-threatening collision with a car, in a remote spot in the countryside. The collision left him with broken ribs, a broken hip socket, vertebrae, a dislocated lower spine, hip and shoulder. He urgently needed advanced care, which NWAA consultants and paramedics were able to deliver at the scene.
Robin received advanced interventions from one of the charity’s consultants, Dr. Ian Tyrell-Marsh, within minutes of the incident. This included anaesthesia and a thoracostomy, where a small incision in the chest wall is made to relieve pressure on the lung to prevent it collapsing.
As a charity, NWAA receives no government funding. To maintain its 365-days-a-year service and to continue to provide lifesaving care to critically injured and ill patients, it relies solely on public donations, corporate support and the generosity of its fundraisers and volunteers.
Andy Duncan, Lead Helicopter Emergency Medical Service Paramedic at the charity, said: “As our charity grows, we’re always assessing how we can take our interventions further – bringing the hospital to the patient, and saving even more precious minutes whilst lives hang in the balance. It’s why we are so grateful to our supporters, whose generosity allows us to advance the service for the benefit of patients.
"We often reflect as a team that just as some of our patients wouldn’t be here without the charity, neither would we be here without our supporters.”
Heather Arrowsmith, CEO at the charity, commented: “Our charity has expanded significantly in recent years, from introducing new clinical practices such as blood on board to the development of our volunteering programme. Currently, we must raise £9.5m. a year to continue our service as we are not a recipient of government funding, instead relying on the support of our amazing fundraisers, donors, volunteers and the generosity of people from across the North West.
“I urge anyone to consider a donation to their local air ambulance charity. No matter the amount, you will be helping to save lives, and we, and the patients affected by our service, are truly grateful.”