Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) has announced that for the first time in its history, it was called to help more people in urgent need in Gloucestershire than in other regions including Bristol in 2022.
GWAAC was tasked to 536 patients in Gloucestershire which makes it GWAAC’s second-busiest year in the area; only 2021 was busier with 539 call-outs. The second busiest region for GWAAC in 2022 was Bristol with 525 call-outs, followed by South Gloucestershire where the crew responded to 273 patients.
The Critical Care Team received a total of 1,808 call-outs to patients needing urgent pre-hospital care across all its regions which include Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and parts of Wiltshire.
GWAAC attends more cardiac arrests than any other life-threatening emergency. In 2022, the crew responded to a total of 506 people suffering this medical emergency across all its regions.
The crew responded to 147 patients suffering a cardiac arrest in Gloucestershire — the highest number out of all GWAAC’s regions, followed by Bristol with 143 patients suffering a cardiac arrest and North Somerset with 82 patients.
Local resident, Forrest Wheeler, needed the help of GWAAC when he suffered a cardiac arrest while competing in a local Park Run in 2017. Luckily for Forrest, he received immediate care from bystanders at the scene. The GWAAC crew then put him into an induced coma and rushed him to hospital. Forrest impressively completed his 100th Park Run in 2022. He said, “The GWAAC crew should give themselves a pat on the back for getting me to that milestone.”
GWAAC also responded to the highest number of sporting-related injuries in Gloucestershire; the crew was called to help 15 people with a serious sporting injury.
Tasked incidents to babies, children and teenagers in Gloucestershire increased from 12% in 2021 to 13% in 2022. 2021 saw a significant increase in tasked incidents across GWAAC’s whole region to babies, children and teenagers in urgent need; dispatches to this age group had doubled from preceding years and the trend continued in 2022.
Overall, fifty-four percent of call-outs to Gloucestershire were trauma-related and 46% percent were medical-related.
The air ambulance and critical care service, which is charity funded, provides emergency medical care to the most seriously ill or injured in the region.
GWAAC’s crew of Critical Care Doctors, Advanced Practitioners and Specialist Paramedics bring the expertise of a hospital emergency department to the scene of an incident. These skills can make the difference between life and death. From roadside blood transfusions to performing emergency surgery to anaesthesia, the crew is specially trained to deliver pre-hospital emergency care to both children and adults.
The increasing demand for GWAAC’s service means the charity needs to raise over £4 million a year to remain operational, yet it receives no day-to-day funding from the Government or National Lottery, relying on the generosity and support from local communities.
“2022 was another busy year for GWAAC. Success stories like Forrest’s are wonderful to hear and it’s thanks to the skills of our crew and the generosity of everyone that supports us that we are able to help people having their worst day. Sadly, only 1 in 10 survive a cardiac arrest in the UK. We’re working really hard to improve this statistic by equipping bystanders with the knowledge and the tools (defibs) to provide that all-important immediate care.”
Anna Perry, CEO, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.
In 2022, the charity launched a campaign in which people can fundraise to install a defibrillator in their community. The project aims to make installing public access defibrillators easier for communities to ensure more people have the best chance possible of surviving a cardiac arrest. To find out more about what your air ambulance charity is doing to help local communities respond to someone suffering a cardiac arrest, visit: https://greatwesternairambulance.com/what-we-do/education/
If you’re passionate about people, curious about CPR and delighted by defibrillators, you might want to consider a career with GWAAC as a Defibrillator Coordinator — a new role to help educate people on the importance of publicly accessible defibrillators and get them into local communities.
For an overview of GWAAC in 2022, watch our short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5N8TOS3saQ