Air ambulance

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The Trust is responsible for deploying six air ambulances (including two in Devon) which are operational 365 days a year. They are able to respond to serious injury or illness, or to patients where access by road is not possible.

The benefits of air ambulances


Air ambulances fly at speeds in excess of two miles every minute. This provides the ability to deliver Paramedics to the scene of an incident very quickly and/or to convey the patient rapidly to hospital.

Where this speed truly comes in to its own is the ability of the air ambulance to fly a patient from the scene of an incident direct to a specialist treatment centre, enabling serious injuries or illness to receive definitive care at the earliest opportunity.

Ability to access isolated areas

Sometimes patients are not able to be reached by a land resource due to terrain such as moorland, isolated beaches and coves, or due to environmental factors such as flooding and snow fall.

Even though one of the Trust's 4x4 vehicles is often more suitable for patients with minor injuries, an air ambulance can be considered if the 4x4 is unable to reach the patient.

Specialist aircrew skills

The Paramedics working on the air ambulances frequently encounter critically ill or injured patients and the Trust is working with the five charities to develop the aircrew's knowledge and skill sets to help meet the needs of the patients.

The clinical scope of practice of the aircrew is continually developing to further ensure they can support you with critically ill or injured patients.

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Related pages


Paramedics and volunteers will be offering free blood pressure checks for any visitors to the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) stand this week at the Devon County Show. The team will also be doing CPR demonstrations and educating the public how to act fast and help save patients who may need quick action when they become ill.

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