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Extra hours for air ambulance staff save lives

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Since welsh emergency air ambulance crew members have worked longer shifts, a “significant” number of rescues have been successfully carried out that would not have otherwise been attended.  With hours increasing by four hours for each rescue worker, accidents such as early morning and late night crashes, that previously would not have been attended, are being responded to and therefore more lives are being saved.

Wales currently has three helicopter bases – in Swansea, Welshpool and Caernarfon – which now all have to operate under the new 14-hour operation service following a 6-month trial period at the Welshpool base. This revolves around crew members working staggered shifts in order to provide 14 hours of cover every day.  Since the 1st of September all three bases have operated in this manner, with a staggered rota operating seven days a week. Caernarfon operates between 7am-7pm, Swansea operates between 8am-8pm and Welshpool operates from 9am-9pm.  Since the launch of the charity, 12 years ago, the service has always operated between the hours of 8am and 6pm.

Call-out facts from ‘Wales Air Ambulance’: 

Last month the air ambulance service saw its 18,000th rescue after a 57-year-old man suffered a brain haemorrhage and had to be airlifted to hospital.  The service relies entirely on donations from the public and costs £6m a year to run.

A Swansea crew member said: “We’ve completed a significant number of missions that we would not have been able to do without the extended shifts.

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