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What we do at Thames Valley Air Ambulance

What We Do

putting Patient care first

We work as a team, together with the other emergency services, to deliver the best possible care for our patients. We continue to be at the forefront of pre-hospital emergency medicine (PHEM) through our clinical governance framework, research and innovation in technology and clinical practices, and continual staff training and development.


Clinical governance is a framework through which the NHS and independent healthcare providers are accountable for continually improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care for patients.

At Thames Valley Air Ambulance, we have two Clinical Governance Leads, a paramedic and a doctor, responsible for managing our clinical governance processes.

Through our clinical governance strategy, we aim to:

Our clinical governance processes include:

research & innovation

Our learning, decision making and investments are built on evidence and research.

We continually innovate to bring new technologies and medical interventions to our patients.

blood on board

We were the second Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) unit in the country to carry blood on board our aircraft and in our cars.

The difficulties with transporting blood had previously prevented us from doing so. However, the invention of the specialised ‘blood cool box’ allows us to carry and store blood in our vehicles for 72 hours.

plasma on board

We were the first HEMS unit in the country to use plasma on board for critically injured patients.

Plasma, which helps to heal injuries and reduce bleeding, could not previously be carried on board due to a short shelf-life and the need to be kept frozen.


We pioneered the use of ultrasound machines pre-hospital. These are now carried on board our helicopter and in our cars.

Ultrasound has revolutionised the treatment of patients with trauma or cardiac arrest, giving real-time information on injuries in the chest or abdomen.


On board our helicopter and Critical Care Response vehicles we have the innovative Tempus Pro machine. It’s a specialist, lightweight, multi-functional monitor our crew use to observe patients’ vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels.

training & education

We support the continual training and education of all our clinical staff. This is vital to provide our patients with the best possible care.

We encourage our paramedics and doctors to be the best they can be, giving them time and opportunities for learning and development.

This area of our charity is led by our Training and Development Lead, who is also one of our paramedics.

an ongoing programme

From the moment they join the team, our paramedics and doctors begin a comprehensive competency and assessment framework.

Everyone in our team is encouraged to develop their clinical skills and progress in their career. For example, most recently all our Paramedics have been trained to use ultrasound machines in pre-hospital settings.

Academic courses include the Diploma in Immediate Care, run by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

We support our paramedics to complete higher pre-hospital degrees. And we establish and deliver all aspects of training connected to their status as critical care paramedics.

We train our doctors in the sub-speciality of pre-hospital emergency medicine (PHEM). We have been working with Health Education Thames Valley (HETV) to have PHEM doctor trainees on our team since 2014. Today, we are proud to have doctors in our crews who have completed their PHEM training through this programme.

simulation suite and scenarios

We have a state-of-the-art simulation suite at our headquarters in Stokenchurch to support staff training. This facility immerses our crews into the sights, sounds and smells of an emergency environment, allowing them to practise training scenarios, so they are ready for anything.

Highly realistic training mannequins respond to drugs and medical interventions as if they were real. These make it possible for our paramedics and doctors to carry out procedures in a safe and controlled environment.

Our crews regularly take part in training days dedicated to complex PHEM situations. And we train together with the other emergency services – the ambulance service, police and fire brigade.

did you know?

It costs £3,600 to send our helicopter on each lifesaving mission. As an independent charity, we receive no government or National Lottery funding. We rely solely on generous donations from people like you.

Please donate today and help keep us at the frontline of saving lives.