Hampshire air ambulance chief hails donors after charity takes on 58 per cent more missions in 2019

THE BOSS of the county’s air ambulance has thanked its tens of thousands of donors after the service reported a 58 per cent increase in missions in 2019.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 10:08 am
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 5:25 pm
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance chief executive Alex Lochrane.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance has revealed it was called out to 2,262 emergencies last year, compared to 1,429 in 2018.

Key to the spike was the recruitment of seven paramedics and two new team road vehicles.

The specialists play a vital role in minimising a patient’s injuries, treating them at the scene and getting them to the nearest major trauma centre when time is critical.

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Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance paramedics help a patient.

Royal Navy veteran Alex Lochrane, from Southsea, who has been the air ambulance’s chief executive for five years, said: ‘I want to say the most sincere thank you to the people who support us because nothing we do, have done or will be able to do would be possible without their generosity.

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‘If a 58 per cent increase in our missions has shown me one thing, it is that we need to do more – we need to get cleverer at understanding need from our data.’

Of the air ambulance’s call-outs in 2019, 640 were to cardiac arrests and 388 were road traffic accidents – with 400 carried out at night.

Mr Lochrane said the new vehicles acquired by the service made it easier to respond to incidents more quickly, especially where a helicopter in the same situation would have to find a place to land in the dark.

He said: ‘These cars cannot carry patients, but they can carry a critical care team.

‘They are equipped with the same life-saving equipment as a helicopter.’

The service was able to take on new staff thanks to a partnership with University Hospital Southampton in 2018.

It meant the charity could take on more missions and give its staff the opportunity to assist in hospital theatres, exercising their sedation skills.

Mr Lochrane added: ‘This has increased our strength and has also, for these bright and ambitious young people, created a brilliant career path.’

The air ambulance began its operations in July, 2007 and in November, 2019 flew its 9,000th mission.