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Arbed amser - Arbed bywydau Saving time - Saving lives

annual review Financial year August 2012 - July 2013

A year of saving lives

Get in touch

Find us online... Twitter @air_ambulance

Wales Air Ambulance has offices in: Wrexham Clwyd House 57 Regent Street Wrexham LL11 1PF

Swansea Ty Elusen Bay Studios Business Park Fabian Way Swansea SA1 8QB

Caernarfon Caernarfon Airport Dinas Dinlle Caernarfon LL54 5TP

Contact your nearest office on 0844 85 84 999 or Or visit your nearest shop: Llandudno Meet Dave (page 2)

Caernarfon Wrexham



Meet Tom (page 4)


Meet Gwyndaf (page 5)

Brecon Abergavenny Tenby

Llanelli Mumbles

Cwmdu Swansea


Bridgend Cardiff Meet Danielle (page 9)

Patron Bryn Terfel CBE Chief Executive Angela Hughes Head Office Ty Elusen, Bay Studios Business Park, Fabian Way, Swansea, SA1 8QB Front cover Wales Air Ambulance’s latest upgrade, based at Welshpool, flies over Powis Castle. This publication has been made possible by our corporate sponsors. Registered Charity Number 1083645


Thanks to your ongoing support, the operations of Wales Air Ambulance came on in leaps and bounds during our year 2012/13. Indeed, it all started with the launch of our Leap into Action campaign at Gregynog Hall near Newtown, Powys, which appealed to our supporters to help secure the additional funds needed to upgrade our Welshpool-based aircraft. The new aircraft was just the first of a number of technological advancements we put in place, which has helped make us one of the most cutting-edge air ambulance operations in the UK. I would like to pay tribute to the charity’s longstanding chairman, Robert Palmer, who died in February 2013. Bob’s passion as one of the founders of Wales Air Ambulance never faltered, and his drive and commitment helped develop the charity to the lifesaving service it is today. See more details about his contribution on page three. The remarkable accomplishments of Wales’ air ambulances would not have been possible without the charitable donations, the tireless volunteers and the spectacularly creative ways local businesses and groups support us. Thank you.

Dave Gilbert OBE Acting Chairman

Who we are

The Golden Hour

Since our launch on St David’s Day 2001, Wales Air Ambulance has provided Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) for those who face life-threatening illness or injury in Wales.

A patient’s chances of survival and early recovery are increased if they receive the right care within the Golden Hour. The fast response times and the expert medical care provided by Wales Air Ambulance crews gets patients to the care they need in the quickest possible time.

Having carried out over 18,000 missions, we continue to be guided by the same principles - to be here for the people of Wales.

Our mission It is our mission to aid the relief of sickness and injury, and the protection of human life, by the provision of an air ambulance service across Wales.

Our vision It is our vision to provide a 24-hour air ambulance operation, and continually strive for an outstanding air ambulance service available to everyone in Wales.

National Children’s Air Ambulance The Charity also operates the National Children’s Air Ambulance for Wales, covering both HEMS and urgent inter-hospital transfers for paediatric missions.

A Welsh cause The people of Wales are both passionate and patriotic for our Welsh cause – the helicopters are on standby for everyone in Wales, 365 days a year. The NHS in Wales is devolved from England and this incorporates all ambulance services, including air ambulances. All HEMS missions and transfers for both adults and children are tasked in Wales, and Wales Air Ambulance operates within this structure.


Tribute to Robert Palmer

Founding member and Chairman Robert Palmer passed away in February 2013 aged 64, following a short illness. Mr Palmer was a leading businessman in Swansea and pivotal in establishing an air ambulance service for Wales. He was remembered with a minute’s silence at our new shop in Mumbles, opened by his daughter Suzanne. Mr Palmer spotted the opportunity to rent the premises on Newton Road himself. Robert Palmer at the Charity’s £1 Appeal Roadshow in 2008

Chief Executive Angela Hughes said: “Bob's passion to establish and build an air ambulance service in Wales was unwavering — he always knew what this lifesaving charity could become. It is his vision that has helped us to carry out more than 18,000 missions and transform the lives of many people in Wales.” Wales was one of the last regions in Europe to have its own air ambulance, and Mr Palmer recognised the significant impact such a service would have over Wales’ diverse and challenging landscape. He worked tirelessly within the Swansea business community to raise funds for the first helicopter, and continued to dedicate his time in making the charity one of the most advanced air ambulance operations in the UK. Following the death of Mr Palmer, trustee Dave Gilbert OBE stepped in as Acting Chairman.

A cutting edge fleet of helicopters

Caring for our youngest patients

A number of innovative developments were introduced to the air ambulance fleet throughout 2012/13, helping our paramedics provide lifesaving support to even more people across Wales.

Another development across all three helicopters is the installation of Babypods – an innovative piece of equipment that assists the safe transfer and treatment of our youngest patients.

The new EC135 flying at Welshpool airbase

The portable incubators, purchased thanks to donations made throughout 2012/13, help seriously ill infants aged up to nine months receive the critical care they need while in the air.

One of the Charity’s most significant developments was the introduction of a next-generation helicopter at our Mid Wales base on 2 November 2012.

They are made of lightweight non-metallic materials, allowing the quick transferral of seriously ill babies to x-ray and MRI machines when they reach hospital.

The new Eurocopter-135 replaced the charity’s 20 year-old aircraft, bringing our full fleet of helicopters up to the highest modern standards.

Each Babypod is lined with a shock absorbing foam, which minimises vibrations from the helicopter’s engines, and has a transparent lid that allows parents and paramedics to constantly monitor infants.

The upgrade was made possible thanks to the Leap into Action appeal (see page 6), which followed similarly successful campaigns at our Swansea and Caernarfon bases. With the latest navigation and radar technology, the upgrade can fly in a wider range of weather conditions; while its enclosed tail rotor adds additional safety for landing. Purpose built for Wales Air Ambulance, the helicopter also has more space than its predecessor and an extra seat to accommodate a doctor or the parent of an injured child. The helicopter was designed with input from experienced aircrew paramedics, and has significantly improved fuel efficiency, enabling it to attend multiple missions before refuelling.

Paramedics Gareth Williams and Tom Archer fitting the Babypod

Get in touch: 0844 85 84 999 •

New airways technology

Night flight trial success

April 2013 saw the introduction of video laryngoscopes across the Wales Air Ambulance fleet, making it the first in the UK to be fitted with the pioneering piece of lifesaving equipment.

Wales Air Ambulance passed another milestone in March 2013 with the completion of its first night mission. Training with the video laryngoscope

The new kit, acquired thanks to two generous donations totalling £15,000, allows paramedics to clear a patient’s airway with the assistance of a microscopic camera. Blocked or damaged airways are among the most common problems that trauma victims face. The video laryngoscopes give paramedics an increased chance of ensuring patients’ airways are unobstructed, providing a clear image of any blockages or damage endured. Clinical and Operations Manager Jason Williams said: “This is lifesaving equipment that uses a fibre optic camera to insert a tube into an adult or child’s airway in order to assist their breathing. “The video laryngoscopes help our paramedics ensure trauma patients receive the most appropriate care within the crucial ‘golden hour’.”

The recentlyupgraded Welshpool Wales Air Ambulance on a hospital helipad at night helicopter made the maiden flight, treating a 59 year-old man who had suffered a heart attack. The night flight reduced the transport time for the patient by at least an hour compared to travelling on land, illustrating the importance of developing the crew’s capability to fly during darkness. The mission followed weeks of extensive night flight training for pilots and paramedics at the Welshpool base. Trials have since been extended to the crews in Swansea and Caernarfon. Chief Executive Angela Hughes said: “The vision of Wales Air Ambulance is to provide a 24-hour air ambulance operation in Wales, and our first night flight was an exciting step towards this goal.”

Paramedic Profile: Tom’s Story

HEMS paramedic Tom Archer is stationed at our South Wales base. Having clocked up ten years as a paramedic, Tom loves being part of the Wales Air Ambulance’s lifesaving team. Tom has a long-standing interest in the emergency services, having been part of the in-house lifeboat team at Atlantic College in Llantwit Major, South Glamorgan. “I’ve always wanted to be a paramedic,” Tom said. “I was fortunate enough to study at Atlantic College in South Wales and was on the lifeboat as a student, which gave me a huge appreciation for the emergency services. Swansea-based paramedic Tom Archer

“I went on to study paramedic science at university before working at Tottenham ambulance station in London for eight years.” He soon returned to Wales though, and is now an integral part of the Wales Air Ambulance crew based in Swansea. He added: “Flying with Wales Air Ambulance is an absolute privilege. The part I like the most is the ability to be in the right place at the right time for those that are critically unwell.” But it’s not just the operational side of the job that Tom loves – he also enjoys the fundraising aspect of working for a charity. “There is a huge satisfaction when everything comes together and it is only through fundraising that we are able to achieve this. “I love getting involved with fundraising and meeting supporters. I’m often left in awe by the incredible ways people contribute, especially when you hear the personal stories behind them. “Wales Air Ambulance really is about helping every single person in Wales and I’m proud to be a part of that.”


Patient Profile: Owen’s Story

Patient Profile: Gwyndaf ’s Story Gwyndaf Davies from Carmarthen was 21 years old when he was airlifted by Wales Air Ambulance in 2009. Working as a carpenter when he fell off a roof onto a concrete floor below, Gwyndaf sustained multiple facial fractures, spine fractures and a serious brain injury. The Swansea-based crew were quickly on scene and took him straight to the major trauma unit at Morriston Hospital. Gwyndaf’s injuries were so severe he was taken straight into intensive care, where he stayed for seven weeks. He was in hospital for nine months in total and underwent several operations. Four years on, Gwyndaf is still undergoing physiotherapy and speech therapy, but it has not stopped him from fundraising for Wales Air Ambulance on an enormous scale.

The Caernarfon-based Wales Air Ambulance crew can reach Abersoch in 8 minutes and the peak of Snowdon in just 5 minutes

The story of a young boy who became impaled by a falling tree branch illustrates the value of the air ambulance to the people of Wales.

With a custom-made workshop at home, Gwyndaf has been using his carpentry skills to build furniture before selling it on, with proceeds to the Charity. In April 2013 he donated over £28,000 to the crew in Swansea. Gwyndaf shared his story as part our television series on ITV and S4C (see page 8).

© 2013 Carmarthen Journal

In July 2013, nine-year-old Owen Jones’ stomach was pierced by a branch after falling out of a tree while on a camping holiday in Gwynedd. But the quick response of the Caernarfon air ambulance team saw Owen receive treatment just 12 minutes after the incident, before being flown to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor. Overall, the mission lasted just 50 minutes. Jason Williams, Clinical and Operations Manager at Wales Air Ambulance, said: “It was suspected that Owen had damage to his heart and lung as a result of the branch impaling itself through the lower left side of his rib cage. “Luckily the branch seemed to ricochet off the rib cage, with no major damage to either organ. “The paramedics were able to arrive promptly, provide treatment and airlift the young boy to hospital.” Almost a year on from the incident, Owen has recovered fully, and was back up and running at a fundraising football match organised by his father Darren, which raised £600 for the air ambulance. Darren said: “Wales Air Ambulance was fantastic. When something like that happens, you don’t know what damage has been done. “It was great that they got there so quickly to treat Owen, and thankfully there has been no lasting damage. “It’s a service you never know you’ll need until it’s too late, but I really appreciate them now.”

Gwyndaf back at home in Carmarthenshire

Get in touch: 0844 85 84 999 •

Wales Air Ambulance 2012/13


Our principal goal remains to provide emergency relief of sickness and injury through the provision of an air ambulance service to communities across Wales.

The Charity raised £6.9 million in donations from the general public in 2012/13, an increase of £900,000 from 2011/12. As a result, we were able to implement a 12-hour, 7-day service across all three Wales Air Ambulance bases.

The Charity does not receive direct funding from central or Welsh government. Furthermore, we do not qualify for National Lottery funding. Our funds are therefore raised through charitable donations, fundraising events and membership of our Lifesaving Lottery. Major support for the Charity comes from the general public and volunteers. To keep our air ambulances flying over Wales, we need to raise more than £6 million each year. Our future plans include extending the hours of service and night flying beyond the 12 hours a day we currently operate, enhancing our clinical skills, and establishing consultant-led support for the aircrew, which will include a dedicated flight desk.

Missions Wales Air Ambulance undertook 1,802 missions between August 2012 and July 2013. Our team based in Caernarfon carried out the most missions, completing 786 during the period. The Welshpool crew undertook 510 missions, and the Swansea team carried out 506 missions.

We have set a policy of building reserves to a level of nine months’ helicopter operating expenses. This will ensure that projects are capable of being funded on an ongoing basis. One of the main fundraising initiatives of the year was the Leap into Action appeal, a nationwide campaign for 2012 to fund the replacement of our aged Welshpool helicopter before it was decommissioned by the Civil Aviation Authority. The appeal raised £600,000 towards the next-generation aircraft, which began operations in November 2012 (see page 3). Wales Air Ambulance ambassador and opera star Rhys Meirion spearheaded a community-led event for the Leap into Action campaign, called Cerddwn Ymlaen (Walk On). The 200-mile trek from Swansea to Caernarfon passed all three of Wales Air Ambulance’s bases, raising over £90,000 for the appeal. A follow-up book written by Wales Air Ambulance pilot Capt Martin Darlington, who joined Rhys on the walk, featured the personal accounts of the principal walkers. A second walk in July 2013 brought the total raised to more than £250,000. A third Cerddwn Ymlaen fundraising trek is scheduled for July 2014.

More than a quarter of all missions were for medical interventions, followed by 24% of call-outs for road traffic collisions (RTCs) and 20% for people suffering from cardiac arrest or chest pains. April 2013 also saw Wales Air Ambulance complete its 18,000th mission: a 57 year-old man who had suffered a brain haemorrhage. After finding the man unconscious upon arrival, the Wales Air Ambulance crew worked to improve his level of consciousness, before flying him 30 miles for specialist treatment at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. The journey took just seven minutes. August 2012 - July 2013 Mission Analysis 8%

Cardiac Arrest/ Chest Pain



Medical RTCs


Falls Sport/Leisure


Other 24%

Ambassador Rhys Meirion on his 200 mile trek to visit all three airbases


Corporate fundraising A number of organisations based across Wales supported the air ambulance in 2012/13. We are greatly appreciative to every business and organisation that donated time and funds to the charity. It is impossible to name them all, but some examples of corporate fundraising for 2012/13 include:

Total Income £6.9m Donations

0% 10%

In Memory 23% 4% 1%

35% 19%

• Wilkinson stores in South Wales generated £55,000 after adopting Wales Air Ambulance as their Charity of the Year 2012.


• The Royal Engineers’ Association, which celebrated its centenary in March 2013, donated £10,000. • Manufacturers Morgan GRP donated £2,000 after a host of fundraising events by staff. • As part of celebrations to mark its 30th year in business, CL Jones builders’ merchant, which has four sites in Gwynedd and Conwy, donated £1 for every big bag of aggregate sold, raising £5,496. • Toyota’s engine plant in Deeside, Flintshire, donated £5,000 as part of a £150,000 fundraising drive for local causes. • Looking ahead, Wales Air Ambulance has been named as the Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University’s charity of the year for 2013/14.

Shops Corporate/Trusts Merchandise Lottery


• The Wales Young Farmers’ Club also held a year-long fundraising drive, raising a magnificent £37,500. Activities included a 568-mile cycle around Wales.


Legacy Sundries

Community fundraising The support of communities located across Wales is vital to keeping the air ambulances flying. Every donation helps ensure the charity continues to provide a lifesaving service to the people of Wales. Here is a small sample of the brilliant support given throughout 2012/13: • The fifth annual WAAT4 challenge, a 40km and 30km fundraising navigation challenge on Pen y Fan Mountain held by Dyfed Powys Police, raised more than £100,000 for charity, including Wales Air Ambulance. • A charity race day and auction at Ffos Las racecourse raised £20,000. • Around £15,000 was donated from the fundraising efforts of the Ysbyty Gwynedd Social Club. • Llangollen couple Audrey and Ken Sims raised £11,000 with a series of events in memory of their friend Heather Davies, a Wales Air Ambulance volunteer who died in 2011. • Katherine Morris from Parc Howard Pony Club, Ammanford, donated £120 from a fundraising stall at the club. • The Aberystwyth and Cardigan Carpentry Colleges raised £8,000 by building a life-sized wooden helicopter and pushing it 38 miles between the colleges in just two days. • A gala ball at the Carden Park Hotel raised £6,000. • Country music fans raised £1,122 at the annual Country and Western Festival in Cemaes Bay, Anglesey. • Residents at Ty Gnoll Nursing Home in Neath donated £500.


CL Jones Builders’ Merchants donated £1 for every bag of aggregate sold

Legacies and trusts are another significant contributor to Wales Air Ambulance’s fundraising efforts. We received 49 new legacies in 2012/13, generating an income of £703,706.

Get in touch: 0844 85 84 999 •

Lifesaving Lottery

Wales Air Ambulance on TV

Wales Air Ambulance’s in-house lottery continues to go from strength to strength.

Wales Air Ambulance is incredibly proud of the lifesaving work carried out by our aircrews, staff and volunteers. With this in mind, we were delighted to share the work of the charity through a host of television shows on ITV, the BBC and S4C.

At the year-end, membership was approaching 45,000 members, each with a chance of winning a weekly jackpot of £1,000. There is also a second prize of £200, a third prize of £100 and 20 runner up prizes of £10.

Our fly-on-the-wall series Helimeds returned for a second season on ITV Wales, alongside S4C’s 999: Ambiwlans Awyr Cymru. Both showed first-hand the work of our paramedics and how we fundraise.

The lottery’s grand draw is now conducted once a year, and was again well supported in 2012/13.

Our community shops Wales Air Ambulance operates 16 shops across Wales; located in Abergavenny, Brecon, Bridgend, Caernarfon, Cwmdu, Llandudno, Llanelli, Mumbles, Newtown, Pontypridd, Rhayader, Swansea, Tenby, Tywyn, Whitchurch and Wrexham. Volunteers also operate a café in the courts in Mold. The shops rely on donations of unwanted goods, which are checked and distributed to our stores across Wales. Stock is collected and sorted at the Wales Air Ambulance warehouse on Cwmdu Industrial Estate, Swansea. We provide a free collection service for furniture and other large goods through our network of vans. In September 2012 presenter Phil Hoyles, from Swansea radio station The Wave, broadcast his daytime show live from the shop front of the Cwmdu depot, giving listeners the opportunity to meet Wales Air Ambulance crew while picking up the latest bargains. A Wales Air Ambulance shop manager was recognised at a national awards ceremony in 2013. Swansea-based Rhian Lewis was highly commended in the staff member of the year category at the Charity Retail Awards. Our warehouse was also commended in the innovation and retail category.

Helimeds on ITV reached over 200,000 viewers and 15% of the viewing public in Wales

Since the programmes were aired, donations and enquiries have increased, especially requests for information about our collection service for unwanted goods. The Charity also appeared on ITV’s Champion’s Apprentice, which followed Paralympic gold medalist Mark Colbourne. Mark visited our South Wales base to meet the medics that saved his life following a paragliding accident that broke his back in the Gower Peninsula.

Bear Grylls at the Caernarfon airbase resulted in hundreds of pounds in donations from Songs of Praise viewers

Adventure TV presenter Bear Grylls took to the Welsh coast for BBC One’s Songs of Praise and visited our Caernarfon base to learn more about the crew’s work along our extensive coast. The charity received hundreds of pounds in donations following the show.

From clothes to sofas, supporters donated across our 16 shops and added 25% Gift Aid to large items

Former patient and thrill-seeking teenager Nick Salter was in the spotlight on ITV’s Surprise Surprise, when his mother Gail told presenter Holly Willoughby about the adrenalinefuelled fundraising her son has undertaken since being airlifted in 2007, after a mountain bike accident.


Volunteering Wales Air Ambulance is extremely grateful to all of our volunteers who give up their time to assist the Charity in a variety of ways, including retail, community fundraising and photography. We have more than 300 dedicated volunteers and we value them all.

Volunteer Profile: Danni’s Story In July 2013, 19 year-old Danni Spicer became the first Wales Air Ambulance volunteer to be awarded a Millennium Volunteer award from the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action.

WAA and WRU team up for home advantage Wales Air Ambulance and the Welsh Rugby Union established an exciting new partnership in 2013 to locate hundreds of potential landing sites across Wales. The WRU will be working with the Charity to identify an extensive list of surveyed rugby pitches where the air ambulances can land. Since the Charity was founded in 2001, the air ambulances have attended more than 2,100 sports and leisure injuries, around 20% of which have occurred on the rugby field.

Danni, who volunteers in the shop front at our Cwmdu depot, was awarded 50 and 100-hour certificates for the time she has donated to the Charity. The GwirVol Millennium Volunteer scheme encourages 14-25 year olds to get involved in volunteering opportunities across Wales. Danni donates her time at the depot on a regular basis where she deals with stock, arranges displays and helps customers. She explained why she chose Wales Air Ambulance when she visited her local volunteering bureau: “My family are lifelong supporters of the charity, we’ve seen the air ambulance in action in Swansea and we know it relies on donations to operate. “I like to give my time to show my support for the cause. It’s a lot of fun and you get to meet new people all the time. “I’m really pleased to receive an award for helping out. I’m proud of my commitment and it’ll look great on my CV.”

The Welsh rugby squad helped launch the WRU partnership at their training grounds in Glamorgan

Paramedic honoured on BBC One Wales Air Ambulance paramedic Aneurin Heath received the first ever BBC 999 award for Outstanding Paramedic at an awards ceremony broadcast on BBC One. Aneurin Heath, from Carmarthenshire, received the award for helping a patient who had fallen 30ft down a cliff into a rocky cove near Porthcawl, sustaining spinal and pelvic injuries. Aneurin risked his own life to battle the incoming tide and rescue the injured climber, who went on to make a good recovery. The BBC 999 Awards, hosted by Lenny Henry and Kirsty Young in August 2012, honoured the tireless work of emergency service heroes.

Danni with her Millennium Volunteer certificates

Aneurin Heath (centre) with Eastenders stars Tom Ellis and Letitia Dean who presented the Outstanding Paramedic category

Annual review 2012 - 2013  

Financial year August 2012 - July 2013

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