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Air Ambulance

Air ambulances for the South Central Region

I work for the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service – better known as the Air Ambulance Service – that is sent to the most ill and injured patients in the South Central region. Two charities – the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance – raise the necessary funds, through charitable donations and other support, to ensure highly skilled doctors and paramedics can be flown quickly by experienced pilots to the scene of serious incidents, bringing life-saving care that you would expect from a hospital emergency department directly to the patient.

We operate from 7am to 2am, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The majority of incidents we are called to involve patients who have been seriously injured in road traffic collisions, have suffered life-threatening medical emergencies or sustained serious injuries from incidents such as sporting or industrial accidents.

Missions carried out in 2015/16

What does the air ambulance do? A few questions.

The two air ambulance services ensure that life-saving care can be provided rapidly wherever it is needed across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Oxfordshire for 19 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance

What sort of medical skills do the crews have?

The highly trained paramedic crew has a wide range of specialist skills so they can cope with all situations, which can involve making life or death decisions. They also understand the needs of the patients and their families and will handle everything in a sensitive manner.

Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) experienced doctors bring specialist medical skills of the highest level to the patient. The presence of a doctor on board the air ambulance provides a further depth of medical knowledge and the ability to carry out additional medical procedures.

A full range of life-saving equipment is carried on board, including two state-of-the-art ultrasound devices, a blood transfusion kit and an immediate blood analyser, helping to save valuable seconds in the vital golden hour.

How long will it take for the air ambulance to reach me?

The air ambulance is usually airborne within four minutes. It flies at 140mph and reaches most locations in fifteen minutes. Flights to rural areas may take a little longer. A typical mission lasts about ninety minutes.

Who pays for the service?

With no Government funding the air ambulance charities completely rely on the support of generous people like you. Every donation, really does make a difference. It keeps them flying and saving lives 365 days a year. There are lots of ways you can make a donation. You can either make a monetary donation or find out about how to fundraise through one of the regional website links below.

Does the air ambulance fly at night?

Both air ambulance charities are able to carry out night operations until 2am every day. They are equipped to be able to land safely at the scene of an incident in the dark, including on to motorways during rush hour in winter which could mean any time from 4.00pm onwards.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight and Thames Valley Air Ambulance both operate an H135, the latest generation of EC135 helicopter, which is specially equipped for night flying.

Apart from speed what are the benefits?

Because the air ambulance is crewed by paramedics and doctors trained in advanced pre-hospital care, they can effectively bring the emergency department to the patient and then take them directly by air if required, to the most appropriate hospital best able to treat their injuries or condition. For example, if the patient was suffering from burns, they could be taken to a burns unit, or if there was a suspected head injury, the patient could be taken to the neurological unit.

Independent research conducted in 2015 by the Trauma Audit and Research Network, found that patients who suffer a major trauma now have a 63% better chance of surviving than they did in 2008. That significant increase has been achieved thanks to the skills, speed and expertise of ambulance service staff working in clinical co-ordination centres, on vehicles, on air ambulances as well as the doctors, nurses and other staff working in hospital emergency departments.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA)
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is based at Thruxton Airfield.

For more information about the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, please visit

The Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA)

Thames Valley Air Ambulance is situated at RAF Benson.

For more information about Thames Valley Air Ambulance, please visit

The Association of Air Ambulances

The Association was established as a membership body for those organisations which form the air ambulance services in the UK.  The Association’s membership which represents the majority of the air ambulance network is made up of charities, ambulance services and the supply chain that provides this valuable life saving service. Please visit for more information.


Amazing view of the Air Ambulance coming in to the Hospital from my bedroom window. Makes me very proud.