Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is a registered charity, established to provide relief from sickness and injury for the people of Dorset and Somerset, through the provision of an air ambulance. We receive no direct funding from the Government or the National Lottery and rely on the generosity of the public for support.
Our operational costs are over £2 million a year and the approximate cost per mission is £2,500, however it is inevitable that these costs will rise significantly in the coming year as we took delivery of our new AW169 helicopter which is bigger and uses more fuel per hour and our clinical team will almost double in size due to an increase in our operating hours. We have also invested in a great deal of new clinical equipment and training activities.
Since our launch in 2000 we have flown thousands of missions. We are tasked as part of the normal ‘999’ emergency process by a dedicated Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) desk located at Ambulance Control (paid for by the South West Air Ambulance Charities) and can attend up to eight or nine incidents in a single day during the summer months.
Our airbase is situated at Henstridge Airfield on the Dorset/Somerset border. From there, we 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.