Our Clinical Lead shares his views on our 40,000th Mission Milestone
“On one level this may seem like just a number, but in fact, it means that on 40,000 occasions the clinical team have answered the call to go, in the air ambulance helicopters or one of our critical care cars, to the aid of someone who may need us.
Since my first mission in 2003, which was on The Air Ambulance Service’s (TAAS) second-ever day, the response of the public to us has been fantastic; “blimey you were quick” has been one of the consistent comments and reflects the fact that when you or someone you know has been hurt or taken ill, getting a rapid response from those coming to help is vitally important.
Not every one of those 40,000 calls results in lifesaving interventions by the team, sometimes thankfully the patient is not as serious as first thought, sometimes the team can provide assistance, reassurance and simple help to the patient, and sometimes just a rescue flight from a remote hard to reach location is the most important intervention we deliver.
The seventeen years since The Air Ambulance Service started has seen massive changes in society and the health service, with new challenges all the time. In the early days, paramedics were from the local NHS Ambulance service, and the doctors were all volunteers. There were no other air ambulances in the Midlands or South East of England with doctors on board.
Now our team is a tight professional group of dedicated critical care paramedics and doctors who work and train closely together. All our neighbouring air ambulances have joined TAAS in using doctors, in many cases using doctors who learnt their trade with TAAS. The benefits to patient care and close working are clear for all to see.
Society is in some ways safer than it was seventeen years ago, cars and vehicles are certainly safer for the occupants, although unfortunately pedestrians and cyclists are still vulnerable.
In contrast, the threat of violence is now greater than before, TAAS, unfortunately, attends many more serious stabbings and shootings than ever before, and there is the ever-present risk of terrorism as seen recently in Reading and on many other occasions over the years. As a team we are adapting constantly, updating our knowledge, skills and equipment to ensure we are as well placed as we can be to care for the population across our five counties and beyond.
I fully expect that after another 40,000 missions our service will look very different but certainly retaining our core ethos of rapidly providing the most advanced clinical care possible.” – Dr Matthew Wyse