Last year was another challenging one for many public services and charities, not least for us as we were tasked to attend 2226 incidents across Devon and across borders in neighbouring Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset.  

Of those missions, 1040 were to help patients with medical emergencies (those suffering with a medical condition) and 1176 were trauma-related incidents (accidents and injuries caused by slips, trips, falls, burns and road traffic collisions to name just a few).

Nigel Hare, Operations Director for Devon Air Ambulance, said:

‘Yet again, the number of incidents Devon Air Ambulance responded to and the number of patients we treated has broken all previous records. 2023 saw us deploy to incidents a staggering 2226 times; 1333 by helicopter and 814 by Critical Care Car.

‘Sometimes we respond by both helicopter and car to the same incident to enable us to reach a patient quickly so we can start delivering time-critical care in the shortest time possible, whilst still having the ability to fly the patient quickly by helicopter to the hospital best suited to treat their specific injuries or life-threatening medical condition.

'The number of times we deployed one of our helicopters or Critical Care Cars increased by 18% compared to 2022, with the number of patients we treated increasing by over 12% to 1345.

‘People often comment that they thought Devon Air Ambulance only responded to patients suffering traumatic injuries or to places inaccessible by road. However, just under 50% of the patients we responded to last year were suffering from a life-threatening medical emergency, such as a heart attack, severe asthma attack or a cardiac arrest; demonstrating just how frequently we respond to patients who are in their own home, place of work or just out and about undertaking day to day activities.

With just under 12% of the patients we treated last year being children, and 27% over 70 years of age, Devon Air Ambulance truly seeks to be there for everyone in our community who is suffering from a life-threatening medical condition or traumatic injuries.

Further mission facts

In 2023, Devon Air Ambulance crews assisted 833 male and 507 female patients and 159 children (age 0-17) who also needed their expert care. Our crew was tasked to many patients taking part in their favourite sports and leisure activities, with equestrian related incidents, 39 being the highest.  
399 missions were in the hours of darkness where many of the charity's invaluable Community Landing Sites were used to enable our aircraft to land safely. We now have 199 community landing sites and we are looking forward to launching our 200th site in Fremington in just two weeks' time.

Road traffic collisions - our most alarming figures

Unfortunately, road traffic collisions continue to remain high on our annual incident report and last year we were tasked to 307 road traffic collisions on Devon’s roads.

Charlotte Leventis, Head of Marketing and Communications at Devon Air Ambulance said:

‘This year we will continue to collaborate with other agencies, to raise awareness of some of the dangers of our road network, while throughout the year we are proud to be attending the Plymouth Armed Forces Day, Devon County Show and Torbay Air Show alongside Vision Zero Southwest to demonstrate our commitment to reducing fatalities and injuries on our county's roads.’

In 2024, we continue to be dedicated to maintaining our focus on cardiac arrest, which remains our number one medical emergency that we are called to. In 2023 we were tasked to 395 patients suffering a cardiac arrest, an increase from 360 in 2022 and 315 in 2021.

Through our Help with all Your Heart CPR & Defibrillator training sessions, we will continue educating and raising awareness within local communities. These sessions will demonstrate that, should the need arise, anyone can help save the life of someone suffering a cardiac arrest. To be notified of future CPR & Defibrillator training dates and locations, please register your interest.
We are a charity that receives no Government funding, so it's thanks to kind and generous supporters across Devon and beyond that our life-saving team continue to deliver expert time-critical care every day of the year. If you feel you can lend your support by donating, you will be helping to make a life-saving difference and who knows when Devon Air Ambulance may be needed.

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