THAMES Valley Air Ambulance has revealed they were called out 326 times and delivered advanced medical care to 181 patients in Reading, for the 12-month period from October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020.

In the charity’s second year as an independent healthcare provider, the total number of call outs were 2,570 and they attended 1,497 patients across the Thames Valley and beyond.

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Thames Valley Air Ambulance only attends the most critically ill and injured patients.

Of the 2,570 call outs 692 were for cardiac arrests, 550 for accidental injuries, 466 for road traffic collisions, 398 for medical emergencies (excludes cardiac arrests), 143 assaults, 113 intentional self-harm incidents, 79 for sport and leisure activities and 129 for all other call outs.

In the same 12-month period 2018/19, Thames Valley Air Ambulance was called out 2,670 times delivering advanced medical care to 1,667 patients.

Much of the overall annual drop can be attributed to a significant fall of 134 road traffic collisions from 600 to 466 when the first lockdown resulted in low volumes of traffic.

During the first lockdown and answering the call of the NHS, the charity redeployed clinical staff to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, to help treat the most severely ill Covid-19 patients.

Alongside this, the charity set up an inter-hospital transfer service to transport critical care patients to hospitals where capacity was available.

Amanda McLean, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: “As we begin another national lockdown, we urge people to follow the Government guidelines to help control infection rates and reduce the risk of overwhelming hospitals and other health services.

“We’re also asking people to be extra careful where possible, for example if you must be out on the roads or doing DIY.

“We don’t want anybody to need our services but when they do, we bring the hospital to the patient.

"Last year was an unprecedented year for every healthcare provider, working under the added strain of coronavirus.

"Our crews continue to deliver hospital level care to the most critically ill or injured people in full Personal Protective Equipment."

She added: “It’s hard and unpleasant but our paramedics and doctors are trained for any eventuality to give you the best chance, when the worst happens.”

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Dr Stewart McMorran, Medical Director at Thames Valley Air Ambulance, added: "We are called out to the most serious incidents.

"Working in full PPE adds another layer of difficulty both physically and emotionally.

"Being able to communicate and calm people while they are in the middle of one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives are as important as the advanced medical care we bring.

"Unfortunately, PPE is essential during coronavirus but it is another barrier we have to overcome to ensure we’re giving the best treatment and care if you need us."