Dorset & Somerset Air AmbulanceThis week, 15 years ago, the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance was preparing to fly their very first mission. At 8am on Saturday 21 March, the helicopter and its crew went online for the very first time. Less than an hour later at 8.52am, they were deployed to their first incident.

The 15 year milestone has been reached with thanks to generous support from the public, whose donations, fundraising activities, legacies and lottery memberships keep the air ambulance flying.

It is with thanks to this support, that the charity has been able to provide an exceptional level of care to patients in need. They have used public funds to enhance the service by purchasing specialist equipment not commonly carried on land ambulances, sponsored a three year MSc Advanced Paramedic Practice (Critical Care) education programme for their paramedics and are making plans for the delivery of a fantastic new helicopter equipped to undertake night operations at the end of 2016.

Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer said: “We would like to thank the public for their generous support over the years.   The charity’s main aim has always been to strive for clinical excellence and to provide the best possible care for our patients, giving them the best possible chance of survival and recovery.

“Every one of the 10,500 plus missions we fly is the result of someone suffering a potentially life-threatening injury or accident. It is not a number that we celebrate but it does show the real need for an air ambulance covering Dorset and Somerset.

“With your help, we have been able to deliver a service that we are extremely proud of and with your continued support, we look forward to being able to deliver an even better service in the years to come.”

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has attended over 10,500 incidents since its launch in March 2000, saving many lives and aiding recovery with outstanding immediate care and rapid delivery to the hospital best suited to meet the patient’s needs. The charity’s operational costs are over £2million pounds a year and the approximate cost per mission is £2,500.

To recognise or congratulate the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance on this milestone you can donate online via: Alternatively you can text DSAA01 and the amount you would like to donate to: 70070 or post a cheque to: Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Landacre House, Chelston Business Park, Castle Road, Wellington TA21 9JQ.  Please quote ‘15’ where possible.

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