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How you can help during lockdown | This month’s thoughts

As the bells rang in 2021, after a tough year for everyone, there was hope that a new year would bring us closer to those things we had been missing: hugs with family perhaps, or trips to the theatre, cinema or pub, or maybe even the chance to go on holiday. It’s a fairly safe assumption that another national lockdown wasn’t the start to the year that we had wanted.

Looking back at the last year, it is easy to feel sadness at what was an unprecedented time of disruption and loss. However, we can also view 2020 as evidence of amazing acts of selflessness, compassion and community spirit.

The generosity and determination of our community continue to amaze and inspire us and we are so grateful. Whether that is 104-year-old Ruth Saunders completing her marathon walk, the continued support of our regular fundraisers and volunteers, or the expert and essential care delivered by our crew each day – I am continually thankful for the efforts of our community to help us bring the hospital to the patient when the worst happens.

As we begin another national lockdown, Thames Valley Air Ambulance will carry on doing everything we can to provide outstanding care to the community we serve. In a time of resolution-setting, you might be wondering what you can do to help.

I’m urging people to follow the Government guidelines to help control infection rates and reduce the risk of overwhelming hospitals and other health services. I’m also asking people to be extra careful where possible, for example if you must be out on the roads or doing DIY. Ask yourself: do I need to make this journey? Is this a job that urgently needs doing? If so, make sure you are taking every precaution to keep yourselves, and others, safe.

We don’t want anyone to need our services but, when they do, we are there. Between 1st October 2019 and 30th September 2020, TVAA was called out 2,570 times and delivered advanced medical care to 1,497 patients.

We were called out to the most serious incidents, including 692 cardiac arrests, 550 accidental injuries, and 466 road traffic collisions.

During the first lockdown, when demand for our critical care service dropped, we answered the call of the NHS and redeployed clinical staff to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, to help treat the most severely ill Covid-19 patients. We also set up an inter-hospital transfer service to transport critical care patients to hospitals where capacity was available.

Our crews continue to deliver hospital level care to the most critically ill or injured people in full Personal Protective Equipment. It’s hard and unpleasant but our paramedics and doctors are trained for any eventuality.

Our fundraising team will continue to support activities as much as possible, within prevailing guidelines. We are constantly monitoring the situation and adapting what we do accordingly. The safety of our communities, supporters and staff will always come first.

Together, we will get through these challenging times.

Amanda McLean, CEO

CEO Amanda McLean