Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) received a total of 1,808 call-outs to people in urgent need across its region in 2022 which includes Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and parts of Wiltshire.
28% (506 patients) of our total call-outs were to people suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, an increase from 26% in 2021.
Gloucestershire saw the highest number of call-outs for cardiac arrests, where the GWAAC Critical Care Team responded to 147 cardiac arrest patients.
Forrest Wheeler needed the help of GWAAC when he suffered a cardiac arrest while competing in a local Park Run in 2017. Luckily for Forrest, he received immediate care from bystanders at the scene. The crew then put him into an induced coma and rushed him to hospital. Forrest impressively completed his 100th Park Run in 2022. He said, “The GWAAC crew should give themselves a pat on the back for getting me to that milestone.”
Forrest, who now gives volunteer talks for GWAAC, often begins his story with a startling statistic: “Approximately 83 other people in the UK suffered out-of-hospital cardiac arrests on that day in April! Seven of us survived to tell the tale.”
This is one of the reasons why we are doing so much to help local communities respond to someone suffering a cardiac arrest. Last year, Great Western Heartstarters volunteers taught a record-breaking 6,469 people how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use a defibrillator — something that can make the difference between life and death for someone in cardiac arrest. The people trained included school pupils from years eight and nine, sports teams, and passers-by at events like the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.
If you would like to help increase someone’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest, we can help you place a publicly accessible defibrillator on your building or street. Find out more about our all-in-one defibrillator package here.
Our critical care service, which is charity funded, provides emergency medical care to the most seriously ill or injured in the region.
GWAAC’s crew of Critical Care Doctors, Advanced Practitioners, and Specialist Paramedics bring the expertise of a hospital emergency department to the scene of an incident. These skills can make the difference between life and death. From roadside blood transfusions to performing emergency surgery to anaesthesia, the crew is specially trained to deliver pre-hospital emergency care to both children and adults.
The increasing demand for our service means we need to raise over £4 million a year to remain operational, yet we receive no day-to-day funding from the Government or National Lottery, relying on the generosity and support from local communities.
“2022 was another busy year for GWAAC. Success stories like Forrest’s are wonderful to hear and it’s thanks to the skills of our crew and the generosity of everyone that supports us that we are able to help people having their worst day. Sadly, only 1 in 10 survive a cardiac arrest in the UK. We’re working really hard to improve this statistic by equipping bystanders with the knowledge and the tools (defibs) to provide that all-important immediate care.”
Anna Perry, CEO, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.
If you’re passionate about people, curious about CPR and delighted by defibrillators, you might want to consider a career with GWAAC as a Defibrillator Coordinator — a new role to help educate people on the importance of publicly accessible defibrillators and get them into local communities.
Sadly, only 1 in 10 survive a cardiac arrest in the UK. We’re working really hard to improve this statistic by equipping bystanders with the knowledge and the tools (defibs) to provide that all-important immediate care.