Air ambulance charity reports record surge in demand

The Devon Air Ambulance charity has revealed that demand for its support has increased by more than a quarter over the last year to its highest level of activity on record.

The air ambulance charity’s latest figures come amid growing evidence of a surge in demand across the charity sector.

Its mission statistics for 2021 show it responded to 1,900 incidents across the county, as well as in neighbouring Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset and Hampshire.

This is up 26.6% on 2020’s figure of 1,500.

The charity’s patient services operations director Nigel Hare confirmed that 2021 was its “busiest year ever”.

“Alongside our pilots around three quarters of our deployments were by helicopter, with over 500 missions using one of our Critical Care Cars,” he said.

“Helping almost 1200 patients suffering from life threatening or life changing medical emergencies or traumatic injuries has required our clinicians and support staff to work tirelessly, often in challenging conditions during the pandemic, to ensure our patients were able to receive the highest level of care and have the best chance of a successful outcome.”

The surge in demand also comes as the air ambulance reiterates to the public that it is a charity that relies on donations and not government funding.

Hare added that its support for the public in emergencies is “something only made possible by the continuing generous support of the people of Devon to whom we are incredibly grateful”.

This year's Road Ahead report from the NCVO highlighted how demand for charity services looks set to continue growing during 202, amid increasing pressures on voluntary sector finances.

It warned that household debt and inequality between and within communities will rise and create more need for homelessness, debt, and employment support that many charities offer.

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