Looking back on 2022

Over the last year, your remarkable support has kept us responding through busy times, challenging weather and additions to our critical care. We spoke to some of our crew to find out what 2022 was like for them on the frontlines.

HEMS Paramedic Lucy Cameron

2022 has been an interesting year for me with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. It started officially in April when I returned from maternity leave, feeling rather rusty about all things critical care and aviation. It was great to be back though. I really missed our brilliant team whilst I was away, and I was excited to see patients again.

The biggest change was the expansion of our team with some new pre-hospital emergency medicine trainee doctors, and critical care paramedics who’ve come to us from other services, each bringing a wealth of experience.

The hot summer sun stuck out as a challenge with our helicopter being renamed the flying green house and our fire-retardant uniforms feeling like running a marathon in a bin bag. We were also challenged to find new ways of keeping our blood and drugs cool in the scorching sun, but we rose to the challenge.

In the autumn our service grew with the launch of our Critical Care Paramedic Car, which is a real asset. And it has already proved to be really useful for a wide range of jobs. It’s also been great to see the return of regular face-to-face training, both in house and at University Hospital Southampton, and alongside our colleagues at South Central Ambulance Service and Isle of Wight Ambulance Service.

As always, a huge thank you to those who continue to donate in what we know are really tough times. Every day I come to work, I see the impact the charity has on people’s lives, and we’re really grateful to be able to provide the care we do.

We also caught up with Dispatch Assistant Claire who, alongside our paramedics, constantly monitor 999 emergency calls to establish if a patient is in need of our advanced life-saving skills. Claire tells what 2022 was like for her at the control centre.

A lady holding a flight helmet stood in front of a yellow and green helicopter with one of its doors openDispatch Assistant Claire Pond

I joined Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance as a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) dispatch assistant in May 2021. Within the past six months, six new dispatch assistants have been employed, bringing us up to seven in total. As dispatch assistants, we work closely with the paramedics to make important decisions as to whether or not our crew could make a productive intervention on scene – improving the patient’s outcome.

In September, our new Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) Car was introduced. This has already had an extremely positive impact upon our service, our patients and our emergency services colleagues we work so closely with. Members across the team have been given the opportunity to join the crew on the CCP car for observation days. These days have given us a real insight into the roles and responsibilities the crew face on a day-to-day basis.

We are certainly growing as a service. And we are eternally grateful for what all of our supporters continue to do for us. It is your trust, commitment and generosity that allows Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance to continue to pursue its values, vision and mission: To ensure that, through your support, we always bring exceptional critical care to people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Thank you.