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Our Impact

A Year in Review: 2019 Your Charity, Saving Lives Together



Welcome 2019 was a great year for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) – you helped us raise more money than ever before, meaning we were able to respond to a higher number of requests for critical care and treat more patients. Thank you to all of our donors, volunteers and everyone else who supports us in all their individual ways. With your help we were able to respond to over 2,000 people in need, experiencing one of the worst days of their lives. Although our work is focused on treating people in local communities, our impact and our influence extend much wider. That’s why we’ve chosen to structure this report under three themes: Act Locally, Impact Nationally and Influence Globally.

Martyn Drake Chair of Trustees

What we do locally does and always will remain the core of our work. However, by collaborating with clinicians across the world to share our work and our results, we can improve pre-hospital emergency care for everyone, including our own patients. Thank you for being there for us, so we can be there for you.

Vision, mission and values Our vision is that people in our area receive the best pre-hospital emergency care. Our mission is to relieve serious illnesses and injury by the provision of critical care teams to Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire and surrounding areas.

Our values • We put people first • We behave in an ethical manner • W  e reflect on our performance and learn from others • We are inclusive and welcoming • We are grateful for the support we receive


Anna Perry Chief Executive

“GWAAC are an inspirational crew, fantastic front line care and backroom support. I’m lucky to have had their care and supporting them this year has been really uplifting for me and my family.” Former patient, Robin Jaques, treated on 14th February 2019 after a cycling accident


About us Great Western Air Ambulance Charity provide critical care and air ambulance services to 2.1 million people across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire and surrounding areas. When someone has a life-threatening illness or injury, time is of the essence and they need expert help fast. This is where we come in. Our team consists of Critical Care Doctors, Specialist Paramedics in Critical Care and, if flying, a highly trained and experienced Pilot. Our crew can be anywhere in the region within 20 minutes.

We operate seven days a week, 365 days a year to provide emergency care to those in need. 2019 was our busiest year to date, receiving over 2,000 call-outs and attending over five missions a day on average. Despite this ever increasing demand for our service, we receive no day-to-day funding from the Government or National Lottery, and rely entirely on the continuing generosity of our community to help us raise the funds we need to keep flying.

“The GWAAC Critical Care team brings advanced medical skills to the patients that need them most - those who are critically ill or injured. Our highly trained team can begin specialist treatments, that would usually only be available in hospital, at the roadside or inside a patient’s home. The Critical Care Doctors and Specialist Paramedics at GWAAC can deliver a pre-hospital anaesthetic, start a blood transfusion and provide stronger pain relief than a typical ambulance crew are able to give. That’s before we even start talking about some of the surgical procedures that the team are also trained to perform to save life and limb.

From 2020 we need

Working alongside our fantastic partners in the ambulance service, GWAAC are now able to provide an additional level of lifesaving care and treatment that would not have been possible just a few years ago. By starting these critical treatments earlier, well before the patient reaches hospital, we aim to improve the chances of survival and of the patient being able to make a good recovery.

cost £2,000 average of each mission

On behalf of all the team, we would like to thank all those that make it possible for us to go out and save lives. Without the efforts of a huge number of volunteers and fundraisers we would not be able to do any of what we currently do. So, thank you!!”

over £4 million a year

to remain operational


on average, every single day

Ed Valentine, Lead Doctor



Act Locally

Missions and Data In 2019, we were called to over 2,000 critical incidents across the region

£20,000 means on e of our critical care cars is ready to go all year round £50,000 pays for th e fuel for our helicop ter for one year



Area of missions South Gloucestershire 221 Bristol 637

North Somerset 254

Gloucestershire 487 Bath and North East Somerset 173 Wiltshire 111

Out of region 118

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity provides critical care and air ambulance services for Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire. However, we work closely with our neighbouring air ambulances to ensure that care is given to as many patients in need as possible – we respond to patients outside our core area, and likewise sometimes neighbouring air ambulances come into ours. For example, in 2019, GWAAC responded to 82% of all incidents needing critical care in Gloucestershire, with five neighbouring air ambulances attending the other 18%.

Type of incident Road Traffic Collisions 363

Other medical (e.g. collapse, seizures) 424

Busiest day

SUN Busiest time

Cardiac Arrests 662


Other trauma (e.g. falls, drowning, burns, sports) 552

15:00 - 16:00

3,979 hours

helicopter was on duty and ready to respond

400 hours

flown by helicopter

35 former patients and families

got back in touch with us in 2019 to say thank you


Sarah Child, mother of former patient Michelle, who suffered a serious brain injury whilst out riding last year:

“It was great to be able to say thank you to the people who have done so much for us, because without them things could have been really, really different. She might not have made it.” 2,001

Total missions Five year snapshot of our missions



147 incidents where children needed our help



Why the increase? At GWAAC we strive to continuously improve. Every year more patients are identified that need our specialist help – either by dispatchers, by paramedics on the ground or our own team monitoring 999 requests.

In 2019 2015





• 37 patients received 65 units of blood and 64 units of plasma • We carried out 234 Pre-Hospital Emergency Anaesthetics (PHEAs)

“Around a third of the incidents GWAAC is called to are in Bristol, so as Lord Lieutenant of Bristol I am proud to support them as Patron. Last year it was an honour to attend the Royal Opening of the new airbase and speak at the Forever Flying service. It was deeply moving to meet people who had been saved by the Critical Care Teams, or who had lost family members and yet were still so grateful to those who had done their utmost to save them.”

£1,800 buys a helm et to keep our crew sa fe

£250 pays for a flig ht suit for a crew mem be

r £155 pays for boot s to keep our crew warm and dry

Regular donations are extremely important to the charity By choosing to make a regular donation you will be helping us to plan ahead, build resilience and make long-term improvements for our patients. You can set up a Direct Debit at www.gwaac.com/donate or call 0303 4444 999.

Peaches Golding, Lord Lieutenant of Bristol 5


Interventions Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s Critical Care Team attend life-threatening incidents and medical emergencies across the region. The service we provide is based on the advanced skills, equipment and drugs we bring to the patient, rather than the speed that we can get them to hospital. Our Critical Care Doctors and Specialist Paramedics are highly trained to provide higher level medical interventions for the patient than a land ambulance crew, giving them the best possible chance of a positive outcome. We carry out procedures, at the scene of an incident, that a patient would usually receive in an Emergency Department whether this is on the side of the road following an accident or in a patient’s home after a cardiac arrest. Essentially we stop the clock and stabilise the patient enough to transport them to the right hospital, and give them the best chance of survival.

“We are so thankful because with GWAAC responding, stabilising him, getting him to hospital so fast and enabling emergency surgery within an hour, it prevented further brain damage. If he had gone by road we were told he most likely would not have survived or would have sustained further brain damage.” Andy and Marie Morley, parents of Jamie who suffered a serious head injury and was given a pre-hospital emergency anaesthetic when he was involved in a car crash with his brother Josh.

Pre-Hospital Emergency Anaesthesia

One of the most common procedures our team carry out is intubating a patient. This is the process of inserting an endotracheal tube through their mouth and into their airway. This is done so that a patient can be placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing during anaesthesia or severe illness. In order to intubate a patient, the crew must usually perform a Pre-Hospital Emergency Anaesthetic (PHEA). PHEA is one of the most complex procedures to perform outside a hospital. However, it can dramatically improve the patient’s chances - not just of survival but of a full recovery.

£9,000 pays for a ventilator to keep patients breathing


Our crew choose to intubate a patient for a variety of reasons: an airway may be blocked, they’ve stopped breathing and need ventilator support, or to protect their brain from further damage whilst transporting them to hospital.


Act Locally

Blood and plasma Great Western Air Ambulance Charity carries blood and fresh frozen plasma, ready to give blood transfusions to those who desperately need them – often making the difference between life and death. In cases of massive trauma, when a patient is losing a lot of blood, administering plasma as well as blood is vital. Plasma contains important clotting factors that slow or stop ongoing bleeding, significantly reducing blood loss. O-negative blood is the safest option to use when a patient’s blood type is unknown, which is usually the case when we arrive on scene. The blood and plasma is brought to us every day by Freewheelers, a group of volunteers, who collect it from Southmead and transport it to our base. Our blood is stored in ‘credo boxes’ which maintain its temperature for over 24 hours.

“I am pleased to continue my Patronage of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity. They represent many causes close to my heart – from helping people who have been involved in accidents through horse riding or other rural pursuits, to those who have experienced a medical emergency in a remote area, or for those who live in towns with no Major Trauma Centre and need speedy transport to a large hospital. I hugely appreciate how GWAAC, as a charity, works with our emergency services to support them and complement the work that they do.”

On 3rd June 2019, 17-year-old Ollie was involved in a serious road traffic collision whilst out cycling - he suffered heavy internal bleeding and lost around six pints of blood, leaving him in a critical condition. Our Critical Care Team administered blood and plasma on scene, stabilising Ollie long enough to get him to Southmead’s Major Trauma Centre. Critical Care Doctor, Tim said: “On our way to Southmead Ollie was extremely unstable, he’d had all the blood products we carry; without them I have no doubt he’d have died before we could have got him to hospital. His life was saved because of those blood donors and the kind monetary donations of those who fund us to carry blood.’’ After spending weeks in intensive care, Ollie went on to make a full recovery and we were lucky to welcome Ollie and his family to GWAAC’s base in December to meet the team who played a part in saving his life. Ollie: ‘’Now fully recovered, although very tired, I am delighted to still be here today. I know this is due to the amazing team that treated me. I can never really thank them enough.’’

Countess Bathurst

Oliver and family meeting the crew who saved his life


Where do our funds come from? Other income £185,085

Where our income comes from:

Challenge events £99,174

Corporate Fundraising £136,321



Individual Donations £149,008





Community Fundraising £436,010 Legacies


Where our money goes:

Premises costs £193,861

Other support costs £307,331

Helicopter costs £1,351,995


Charity staff £541,656

£3,664,917 Medical crew, cars and equipment Lottery expenses



*Provisional figures subject to audit

Play our Lottery Almost 50% of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s income comes from those who play our weekly lottery. For just £1 a week, you could be in with a chance of winning £1,000 – all whilst supporting your local air ambulance charity! Find out more and sign up online at www.gwaac.com/play-our-lottery.



Community Organisations Avon Centre Caravan Club

Thank you to our supporters

Beaufort Ladies Lunch

Cheltenham College Cheltenham Society Chipping Sodbury Golf Club Gloucester Quays Rotary Gloucestershire Hauliers

At Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, we are continually inspired by and grateful for the generosity of our dedicated supporters who enable us to meet the needs of our community.

Weston-Super-Mare Lions Club

In 2019, we received invaluable support from individuals, organisations, businesses, trusts and foundations. On behalf of everyone at Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, our patients and their families, we say a heartfelt thank you for all the support. Our work would not be possible without you.

Oldland Village Club

We are unable to recognise everyone who has helped, as the list is too long, but we would like to acknowledge the support of those who have given and raised £3,000 or more.

Backwell Village Club

Mellow in the Meadow

Nailsea and Backwell Beer and Cider Festival Rotary Club of Bristol Breakfast The Phoenix Bar Ltd

Tetbury Bingo Buddies and Boot Sales Backwell Raob, Westerleigh

Corporate Organisations Bristol Airport

Hall & Woodhouse

Volunteers We couldn’t do what we do without our team of dedicated volunteers. In 2019, our volunteers helped us in so many ways, from collecting tins and donations, to attending local events, giving talk presentations and helping out in the office. On behalf of everyone at GWAAC, thank you to them all for their commitment. In 2019…

• 2,600 hours were donated by 67 volunteers • 760 hours were spent at events • Great Western Heartstarters taught around 2,000 children CPR • 11 talk volunteers helped raise £55,000 from over 90 talks and cheque presentations •8  collection box volunteers helped manage 400 collection boxes and collected £30,000 • 350 volunteer hours were spent counting cash donations If you’re interested in volunteering for GWAAC, you can find out more about the roles we have online at www.gwaac.com/volunteer or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Claire, on claire.harmer@gwaac.com.

Hargreaves Lansdown

Marks & Spencer, Cribbs Causeway Matalan Retail Pattersons

National Express, Bristol Care UK

Holiday Inn, Stoke Gifford

Infrastructure and Strategy, Lloyds Banking Group

Mercedes Benz of Bristol TSB

Powersystems UK

Proper Job Superstores Trusts and Grants

The Bath Boules Charitable Trust

George Bairstow Charitable Trust

The Charles Irving Charitable Trust The TSB Local Community Fund

The G C Gibson Charitable Trust Tesco Bags of Help The Grace Trust

The Summerfield Charitable Trust Notgrove Trust

Green Hall Foundation We would also like to extend our grateful thanks to the 45 town and parish councils from across the region who supported us with grants in 2019, with several committing to annual donations

Thatchers Foundation

County Air Ambulance Trust

John James Bristol Foundation

Masonic Charitable Foundation The Harry Crook Foundation The Hospital Saturday Fund The Carr-Gregory Trust

South Gloucestershire Council 9


Act Locally

Great Western Heartstarters A third of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s missions are to cardiac arrests – that’s when someone’s heart and breathing have stopped. Every minute counts and, although our crew can be on the scene within 20 minutes, it’s the care a patient receives before we get there that can also play a vital role in saving their life. Great Western Heartstarters teaches children and young people how to deliver effective CPR and use an Automated External Defibrillator. The goal is that every time someone needs CPR, there will be someone close by, trained and confident to deliver it. Our Heartstarters volunteers also inspire more children and young people to consider a career in healthcare or our emergency services.

“Since GWAAC saved my life, I’ve found out how difficult it is to survive an out-ofhospital cardiac arrest. Learning CPR is a vital life skill, it’s the start of the chain. Nothing can be done unless someone nearby to the person having a cardiac arrest starts CPR immediately. We have to get enough people in the community trained to respond instantly to somebody who has collapsed and who’s heart has stopped.” Chris Hickey, former patient

Currently, only around

8% of people survive an out-of-hospital e r n H e ar t st e st W


have taught




i nt



how to deliver


over 4,000 children

rs te

Gre at

cardiac arrest

g interve

Award winning

Voluntary and Community Sector Team of the Year, Bath and Bristol Health and Care Awards


Receiving CPR within the

first 2 minutes

can double their chance of survival


30% of GWAAC’s

call-outs are to cardiac arrests We are grateful for the support of the following for grants towards the Heartstarters programme: The George Bairstow Charitable Trust, The TSB Local Community Fund, South Gloucestershire Council and The Wakefield Trust.


Impact Nationally

Women in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine On Friday 20th September, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity hosted our first ‘Women in PHEM’ event. Aimed at addressing barriers to women progressing in careers in PreHospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM), the day saw 35 female doctors attending. The presentations covered getting into PHEM training, assessment and interview preparation, how to manage other commitments with a career in PHEM and a panel discussion with women in PHEM, including GWAAC Critical Care Doctor Louise Webster. Feedback from the day included: “Very friendly and approachable. Pleased to see an impressive all female panel paint a realistic impression” “I found it incredibly inspiring and reassuring also – Brilliant speakers and fascinating lectures.” Thank you to GWAAC Critical Care Doctor Andy Lockyer for all his work in organising the day.

Clinical Symposium On 4th October 2019, GWAAC held our annual Clinical Symposium at Aerospace Bristol. It is the biggest conference of its kind in the South West, with over 130 healthcare professionals, including doctors, paramedics, nurses, trainees and healthcare students from across the UK attending. Attendees heard from renowned speakers in the field of PreHospital Emergency Medicine, including some of the GWAAC Critical Care Team. Topics discussed were as varied as the psychological effects of PHEM work, medical simulations, helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), learnings from patient case studies and the future of Pre-Hospital Care.

“Inspirational all round for an enthusiastic medical student, it’s allowed me to develop my interests in a career in pre hospital medicine” GWAAC Symposium attendee

“The GWAAC Symposium was an outstanding day of clinical and non-clinical education, held in an incredible venue with speakers who are undoubtedly leaders in their respective fields. The day’s value for money makes it a strong rival to the UK’s bigger conferences and CPD events. An ideal event for students from all disciplines with an interest in PHEM.” Jonathon Search, Paramedic with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust


Impact Nationally

Triple success at national awards We were delighted when three of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity team won national recognition at the Association of Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence in November 2019. The awards brought together the UK’s top clinicians, aviators, fundraisers, volunteers and charity staff of the air ambulance community to celebrate those who go beyond the call of duty.

Paramedic of the Year Vicki Brown, Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care Charity staff member of the Year Khin Latt, Finance Officer Doctor of the Year Scott Grier, Critical Care Doctor

Niky Owens-Crooks, mother of four-year-old Jasmine who suffered a cardiac arrest on 31st October 2019 and was treated by Scott and the GWAAC Critical Care Team:

“I will remember Scott talking to me for the rest of my life. The collaborative approach, communication, safety, checking and rechecking during fast paced treatment and decision making between teams was beyond what could be called perfect. Everything was coordinated and undertaken to ensure that Jasmine was alive, stable and safe – and remained so. They ensured we understood what had happened, what the situation was and what they needed to do in their determination to get her safely to Bristol Children’s Hospital for the best possible care.”


Jasmine and family meeting Critical Care Doctor, Scott.


Influence Globally

Our Research Great Western Air Ambulance Charity continuously strives for development and excellence within the pre-hospital environment, growing and expanding our understanding in order to better develop our patient care for the future. Here, Critical Care Doctor and GWAAC’s Research Lead, Julian Thompson, explains the work we are doing globally: “GWAAC remains at the international clinical forefront of Pre-Hospital Critical Care, positively influencing international practice through research, training and clinical leadership. GWAAC’s research drives improvements in the care we deliver to our patients and, beyond this immediate impact, our publications in international journals drive global practice change, define excellence and fuel innovation. Engagement in research provides a dialogue between countries and systems that allows GWAAC to help push forward the boundaries of international clinical care. Prominent examples of this research include large scale trials examining how best to care for people after cardiac arrest and studies demonstrating how behavioural change might dramatically reduce the rates of life threatening brain injury. GWAAC’s role in the establishment of the European Pre-Hospital Research Alliance and in writing European HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) and Air Ambulance Committee guidelines mean we have a direct influence on defining international clinical standards. The most explicit example of GWAAC’s international engagement and influence is our research and training collaboration with the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation, which has resulted in multiple joint research projects and training programmes. Since 2018, GWAAC has hosted the Traumatology modules of the International Masters in Pre-Hospital Critical Care, University of Stavanger, Norway. This means GWAAC is having an educational impact on clinicians from across Europe and from developing healthcare systems such as Nepal and Nigeria. This increasingly close relationship with the Norwegian Air Ambulance has resulted in GWAAC being invited to train national Search and Rescue teams in Norway and being invited to contribute to national strategy for paramedic career development.” Our involvement in this work and our status as a provider of excellent quality care help us recruit, train and retain the very best doctors and paramedics, ensuring that patients in our region get the highest quality pre-hospital care.

“The partnership between GWAAC and UWE is going from strength to strength. In 2019, our Great Western Heartstarters initiative trained over 2,000 people in basic CPR and First Aid skills. UWE is proud to work with GWAAC because we know that having someone close by who is trained and confident in these skills can save lives. As a university, we are also pleased to see GWAAC’s work with national and international partners contributing to research on improving the lives of patients all over the world. The enhancements to patient care that this focus on continual practice improvement can make should not be underestimated.” Steve West, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West of England



Looking forward

2020 will be a challenging year for our crew and our charity overall, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that affects all of us. Our crew are focused on supporting NHS services in many different ways, and our charity team are adjusting to new ways of working and the challenge of raising £4m a year without the usual fundraising events, lottery canvassing and face to face meetings. Despite the anticipated loss of significant income, thanks to generous supporters like you, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity will continue to be there for our communities. Regardless of 2020’s challenges, we know our supporters will continue to be there for us, as we are for them. We therefore intend to develop our service in the following ways:

Investing in our Critical Care Team • A  ppointing an Advanced Practitioner in Critical Care, to improve the clinical leadership and oversight of GWAAC’s work • R  ecruiting and training new Specialist Paramedics in Critical Care • S  ending all our crew on a Surgical Skills course, giving them a chance to train on cadavers • R  eviewing the support we provide for crew health and wellbeing

Investing in essential kit • U  sing new monitors and ventilators, to provide better patient care • R  eviewing our kit and how we carry it, to make us more efficient

“I became a Patron in 2019, having previously been a founding Trustee, Chair, CEO and Project Manager! I am so pleased to have seen GWAAC mature and grow as an organisation and as a charity. It’s fantastic to see the new air base operational, after its long inception and planning. The facilities make such a difference to the Critical Care Team’s welfare, and GWAAC owning the base helps secure the charity’s future for the next generation.” John Christensen


Building resilience • O  pening our first charity shop, to increase public awareness of our charity and generate sustainable income • P  utting into service three new, fully branded critical care cars, providing greater resilience and reliability

Engaging with communities • Improving our fundraising and communications approaches, to ensure that more people have heard of GWAAC and are motivated to support us

Support us with a gift in your Will A gift in your Will, of any size, will help us discover new approaches to pre-hospital emergency care, saving more lives and giving our patients a better chance of recovering to live a full and active life. Find out more online at www.gwaac.com/gifts-in-wills.

Thank you for your support! Ways you can help Great Western Air Ambulance Charity… Play our lottery Entry costs just £1 per week and draws are made weekly – meaning you have a chance to win our top prize of £1,000 every week. To sign up head to www.gwaac.com/play-our-lottery Donate We need to raise over £4 million a year to remain operational and each and every donation, no matter how much, helps us continue our life-saving mission. Donate online at www.gwaac.com/donate Leave a gift in your Will Once you have remembered your loved ones, you can choose to support us well into the future by leaving a gift in your Will. If you want to find out more about leaving a gift in your Will, please visit www.gwaac.com/gifts-in-wills or contact Valerie Harland at valerie.harland@gwaac.com. Volunteer There are many ways in which you can volunteer your time for GWAAC and join our vital ‘Ground Crew’ of supporters. To find out what volunteering opportunities are available or to get involved, head to www.gwaac.com/volunteer or contact Claire Harmer at claire.harmer@gwaac.com - we would love to have you on board our Ground Crew! Events If you are interested in hosting your own fundraising event for GWAAC, or have an idea for us, then please let us know by emailing tom.king@gwaac.com. You can check out what events we have coming up for you to take part in online at www.gwaac.com/how-to-help/#events

0303 4444 999 info@gwaac.com www.gwaac.com Great Western Air Ambulance Charity @GWAAC @GWAAC  reat Western Air Ambulance Charity, 3rd Floor, G County Gates, Ashton Road, Bristol, BS3 2JH Photography thanks go to: Paul Rubery and Tammy Lynn Photography

Registered Charity number: 1121300

Profile for gwaac

Our Impact 2019 - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity  

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity provide the critical care and air ambulance services for 2.1 million people across Bristol, Bath and Nor...

Our Impact 2019 - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity  

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity provide the critical care and air ambulance services for 2.1 million people across Bristol, Bath and Nor...

Profile for gwaac