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How We Do It

How we do it

Our paramedics, doctors and pilots bring the expertise, equipment and treatment of the hospital to the scene of an emergency, giving you the best chance when the worst happens.

Using our helicopter and four critical care response vehicles, we provide life-saving advanced medical care to people in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

WE BRING THE HOSPITAL TO THE SCENE OF AN EMERGENCY through:

Skills and Expertise

Unlike the average land ambulance, the helicopter and our emergency response vehicle are manned by a paramedic and doctor team. With a doctor onboard, we can bring the skills and expertise of a hospital to the scene of an emergency. Our doctors, paramedics and pilots work together as a team, along with other emergency services to deliver the best care for patients.

Our crew aim to be the best they can be, and continuously train and develop their skills and expertise. Each crew member spends time in realistic practice scenarios, so they are ready for any eventuality. All of this means our advanced doctors and paramedics can perform critical medical procedures prior to the patient arriving at hospital. Our crew can relieve pain, straighten broken limbs, and deliver emergency anaesthesia among a long list of vital medical care.

Speed

Speed is imperative for survival with major trauma incidents, and we can be anywhere within Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire within 15 minutes. From our base at RAF Benson in South Oxfordshire, the helicopter can quickly be tasked to incidents across the Thames Valley.

We also use four Critical Car Response vehicles where Doctors and Paramedics can be dispatched to areas where it may be more difficult for a helicopter to reach quickly, such as built up towns and cities.

Innovation

Innovation is at the heart of who we are. Through research we learn, and base our decisions and investments on solid understanding and evidence. We continue to build on our success and we strive to break barriers to bring innovative technologies and medical intervention to our patients.

We were the first Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) unit in the country to use plasma on board for critically injured trauma patients. We were also among the first HEMS service to carry blood on board and use an ultrasound machine in the pre-hospital environment.

Our vehicles & equipment

We have one helicopter and four critical care response vehicles, enabling us to reach ill and injured people, wherever and whenever we are needed. All our vehicles are fitted with the same advanced medical equipment.

BY AIR

Minutes matter with major trauma incidents. We can be anywhere in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire within 15 minutes by helicopter.

Our Airbus H135 can reach speeds of 160mph and land in an area the size of two tennis courts.

Our helicopter is fully equipped and optimised for night operations, with the crew using the latest night-vision goggles.

BY LAND

Alongside our helicopter, we have four critical care response vehicles, fitted with the same advanced medical equipment.

Our cars provide greater flexibility for our life-saving service – particularly in built-up areas like towns and cities, which we may struggle to access by aircraft.

PARTNERING WITH OTHER EMERGENCY SERVICES

We work in close partnership with the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) to give the best possible care to patients. Sometimes, incidents are identified in the control room as needing critical care. In these cases, our crew is dispatched straight away, but often SCAS are first on scene and call on us if they identify that the patient may require enhanced care. Working as a team means we can give enhanced critical care to the most ill and injured patients.

Teaming up with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance  (HIOWAA) allows us to provide our life-saving service from 7am to 2am every day. Our charities take it in turn to cover the extra night-service for the whole of the South Central region and the Isle of Wight.

To improve acute medical and trauma care, we have collaborated with the main hospitals in the region, including John Radcliffe, Stoke Mandeville, Milton Keynes University Hospital, Royal Berkshire, and Wexham Park. We have also formed research partnerships with Oxford University NHS Trust and John Radcliffe Hospital.

the dispatch process

When a 999 call is made, the control room identifies incidents that need critical care and a crew is dispatched immediately. If South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) is first on scene, they call us directly if they identify the patient needs enhanced care.

As soon as the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) dispatch team have assessed the call, a message is sent to RAF Benson and a crew is deployed.

did you know?

It costs us £3,325 to send our helicopter on each mission. We are an independant charity and receive no government or national lottery funding, relying soley on donations from generous supporters like you. Please donate today to help keep us flying.