A CHARITY that has helped thousands of people in their most desperate time of need says it need more generous donations after its work doubled in one year.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance has seen a 110 per cent surge in call-outs in 12 months, being dispatched 2,670 times compared to 1,233 times the year before.

In Oxfordshire alone the helicopter medics – who also serve Bucks and Berks – were called to help people in danger 625 times between October 1, 2018, and September 30, 2019.

The increase comes after the charity – which used to be partnered with South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) – chose to become an independent health care provider, allowing it to significantly expand its emergency medical service and get to more patients.

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It recruited eleven more paramedics, as well as adding four critical care response vehicles to the emergency fleet which also includes its iconic red helicopter.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance does not receive money from the government or national lottery but is instead fully funded by the generosity of the community it serves.

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With the increase in calls it receives, it needs to develop the service which is only possible through the donations of the public.

Chief executive Amanda McLean said: "In order to be able to respond to more calls, we have employed additional paramedics and doctors and increased the number of critical care response vehicles in our fleet.

"That also means we need more specialised kit to equip all the vehicles to the same standard as the aircraft. All of this costs money.

"We had planned for this increase in cost to allow us to develop the service, but we remain reliant on the community we serve to maintain that level of income to continue to provide this level of response."

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She added: "We’re so thankful to our supporters for their incredibly kind donations. Without them, we couldn’t be there for our patients when they need us most."

At the end of its first year as an independent clinic body, the air ambulance also revealed how much it had been called out to different areas in Oxfordshire.

Oxford saw the medical team called out the most with 162 dispatches, while Bicester had the second highest number of dispatches at 86.

Banbury had the lowest number of dispatches with 18 calls made. Witney had 56 dispatches, Didcot 57, Abingdon 59 and Thame 25.

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Over the year, the three most common types of incidents the crew attended were cardiac arrests (23 per cent), road traffic collisions (22 per cent) and accidental injury (19 per cent).

The crew, which is made up of doctors and paramedics, administered enhanced pain relief to more than 680 patients in the region.

These specialist drugs which are carried on the helicopter and critical care response vehicles are not available on traditional land ambulances, adding to why the service is so vital as it allows the team to deliver advanced medical care to critically ill and severely injured patients.

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Within minutes, the highly trained team can perform hospital-level procedures at the scene of the incident, from blood transfusions to open-chest surgery to cardiac arrests.

Ms McLean added: "I’m incredibly proud of the fact that we have cared for so many more patients and I’m very grateful to our crew and staff who have worked so hard to make this possible.

"Patients are at the heart of everything we do, and we are continually striving to improve the care we provide. The changes we made last October allowed us to increase our resources allowing us to be ready to help more patients than ever before."

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Supporters will get to see the service’s pivotal developments from the last year, showcased for the first time in the third documentary series of More4’s popular Emergency Helicopter Medics at 9pm on Sunday evenings.

The television programme highlights the service’s vital work, and two other air ambulance services, as they bring hospital-level treatment to patients suffering from a range of potentially life-threatening illnesses and injuries.