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Established as a charity in 2005 and currently governed by a Board of Trustees under the chairmanship of Councillor Barry Lipscomb, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) became operational on 1 July 2007. Flying seven days a week out of their base at Thruxton near Andover, they have already undertaken well over 4000 missions.
The helicopter, a EuroCopter EC135, is leased, that being the most practical way for the charity to operate the service. It travels at an average speed of 140 mph and the crew consists of three people, the pilot and two paramedics, or a doctor and a paramedic. There are two permanent pilots, and the crews are made up from 8 doctors and 15 paramedics.
Since October 2012, HIOWAA has had regular doctor-led crews on board. A pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine experienced doctor is always available for those critical Air Ambulance flights, leading to improved patient outcomes. A doctor-led Air Ambulance service brings specialist medical skills at the highest level to the patient. They can also now operate at night under certain conditions, thereby extending their capability to manage urgent transfers between key hospitals.
From receiving a call, the Air Ambulance helicopter can be airborne within four minutes. It can reach anywhere in Hampshire within 15 minutes and the Isle of Wight within 20. It only needs an area the size of a tennis court on which to land, and instead of wheels, skids allow it to land on the wide diversity of terrain that we have within our region. Once the patient is on board, they can be transferred to hospital within 10 minutes, falling well within the “golden hour” which is so crucial for emergency treatments. One of the major advantages of being transported by Air Ambulance is that, unlike land equivalents which tend to head for the nearest hospital accident and emergency department, they have the capability
to take patients to the most appropriate hospital for their needs.
The Air Ambulance carries not only adults and children who have been involved in some form of accident, but also those suffering from medical emergencies such as heart attacks, collapses etc. It is also used for patient transfers from one hospital to another, often at night between lit helipads. The EC135 has a number of added advantages compared to its predecessor. It has a larger cabin, which provides for better on board care, and an additional seat in the back for an extra paramedic or doctor, or a family member to travel with the patient.
It currently costs in excess of £125,000 per month to operate the service including the lease of the aircraft, pilots, fuel and maintenance, and yet the charity receives no government funding. The only formal help the charity receives is through the secondment of the paramedics from the South Central Ambulance Service. The remainder is raised by a small HIOWAA team led by Chief Executive John Perry in a number of ways, including:
•The “Flight for Life” lottery: for details contact the Lottery Hotline on 023 8005 7722
•Recycling clothing and fabrics through “Bag it Up”: there are over 275 yellow recycling bins throughout the region; to find your nearest look at
•The generosity of companies and individuals in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight dedicated to keeping the Air Ambulance flying.
Freemasons in Hampshire and Isle of Wight are also closely linked to the Air Ambulance and the HIOWAA in particular. The Grand Charity has also donated over £1 million to the Air Ambulance as a whole since 2007, and all the Air Ambulance services in England and Wales have benefitted from this sum and local donations from all the Masonic Provinces including Hampshire and Isle of Wight.
For further information please contact: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, 4 Kings Park Road, Southampton, SO15 2AS, Tel: 023 8033 3377,
Website:; E-mail:
Sherie Williams Ellen (HIOWAA)
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Insight • Issue 5 6

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