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Lifesaving air ambulance charity Magpas declare 2021 busiest for three years

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Lifesaving charity Magpas Air Ambulance clocked up its busiest year for three years in 2021 responding to over 1,260 call-outs.

Over half the calls for help from the charity's team of specialist doctors and critical care paramedics were in Cambridgeshire including Fenland, followed by Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.

The team attended 1,264 incidents in total over the 12 months from its base at RAF Wyton near Huntingdon.

Magpas Air Ambulance team treating a patient. Picture: Magpas (54644736)
Magpas Air Ambulance team treating a patient. Picture: Magpas (54644736)

Magpas supports ambulance service by bringing additional skills and treatments to the scene of an incident, which are usually only available in a hospital emergency department.

These include surgical procedures, general anaesthetics and sedations, among many other interventions that not only save vital time when every second counts, but also saves lives. The Magpas medical team is made up of a specialist doctor and critical care paramedic on every shift, and on average the team performed one of these potentially lifesaving procedures on average nine times a week.

Following the same pattern as recent years, medical emergencies such as cardiac arrests, road traffic collisions and accidental injuries remained Magpas Air Ambulance’s most attended incidents, however as life has slowly been beginning to return to normal, the amount of self-harm incidents have fortunately decreased while assaults have risen.

The Magpas Air Ambulance fleet. Picture: Magpas (54644741)
The Magpas Air Ambulance fleet. Picture: Magpas (54644741)

These incidents can happen anywhere, at any time, and Magpas Air Ambulance’s 24/7 service was needed in 13 counties last year, with the annual helicopter and rapid response vehicle travelling the equivalent to three and a half times around the circumference of the world.

Magpas Air Ambulance Critical Care Paramedic Andy Ormiston explained: “It’s important to remember that behind the data, every statistic and figure is a person whose life is on the line. We attend the most critically ill or injured patients, and so we are trained to respond to very serious medical emergencies and make a crucial difference in those situations. Importantly we deliver this care early at the scene which can make a real difference between life and death for many patients, demonstrating the absolute need for advanced care teams like Magpas Air Ambulance.”

Lucy Chapman, Magpas Air Ambulance’s director of fundraising and marketing concluded: “Despite continuing to face the challenges of the pandemic this year, it’s clear our lifesaving service is as crucial as ever for patients across counties in and around the east of England. It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of last year we were still in the thick of the pandemic and became one of only three air ambulances in the country to provide inter-hospital transfers of COVID-19 patients by air. Since then, and particularly as restrictions were eased in Spring, it’s been non-stop for our team of dedicated clinicians who continue to work every day and night to keep all of us safe.

“However they can only continue to save lives and keep families together 24/7 with the support of the communities we serve. There’s so many ways you can help keep Magpas Air Ambulance flying this year, from taking on one of our exciting challenges by skydiving, trekking, running or even walking over hot coals for the charity, or volunteering with us in the office or out and about at events, to even just making a donation – every penny really does count. Thank you!”

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