Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance was established to provide relief from sickness and injury for the people of Dorset and Somerset with an air and road-delivered critical care capability. They operate 19 hours a day (07.00am – 02.00am) using their AW169 helicopter and critical care car.
Their cohort of clinicians include a mixture of senior emergency physicians, intensive care consultants and anaesthetists and specialist practitioners in critical care. Each mission consists of a critical care team made up of a doctor and specialist practitioner.
They receive no direct funding from the Government or the National Lottery and rely on the generosity of the public for support. Their operational costs are over £5 million a year and the approximate cost per mission is £3,000.
Since launching in 2000 they have flown thousands of missions from their airbase at Henstridge Airfield on the Dorset/Somerset border. From there, they can be at any point in the two counties in less than 20 minutes. More importantly, the helicopter can, if required, then take a patient to the nearest Major Trauma Centre in the South West within a further 20 minutes.