Skills plus equipment: the essentials of a lifesaving service - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
Meet Dr Glyn Thomas
November 22, 2022
Meet Dr Nicky Moore
December 2, 2022
Meet Dr Glyn Thomas
November 22, 2022
Meet Dr Nicky Moore
December 2, 2022

Skills plus equipment: the essentials of a lifesaving service

When time is critical, sometimes it’s not an option to transfer a patient to hospital for lifesaving surgery. Sometimes, the surgeons go to the patient.

And when minutes or seconds count, years of training and experience mean that our Critical Care Team can make quick decisions and carry out procedures, like open heart surgery, at the side of the road, in a field, or in your living room.

It’s intense, it’s critical, and it saves lives every day.

Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care (SPCC) Mark Kinsella, says: “Critical care requires you to develop every aspect of your practice from technical skills to decision making and leadership.”

(Find out more about Mark below.)


We don’t just bring skills and experience                                           

But although GWAAC’s Critical Care Team has the skills, confidence and competence to give every patient the best chance of survival, they also need specialist equipment.

This equipment may not look like much to the untrained eye — a plastic tube or a box with a wire — but in the hands of our Critical Care Team, it saves lives, every day.

“What we bring isn’t just skill and experience. We also bring kit. And it’s the confidence and familiarity of using that kit that means we can provide early treatment that turns into definitive care for the patient. This reduces the need for the patient to be transferred from one hospital to another because we can take them to the one that is best able to provide that care.”

Mark Kinsella, SPCC, GWAAC

Having the right kit for every age, occasion, and medical emergency means that our crew can adhere to their ethos of human care. Mark says: “It shouldn’t matter if you’re two days old, two years old, or 20 years old — everyone should get the same treatment, and the aims are the same. There is nuance in how each patient is approached, but humane care is delivered regardless of your age or size."


Kit for every patient

Our crew’s specialist equipment helps diagnose, monitor, stabilise and treat patients wherever they are and whatever their age. It includes everything from ultrasound machines to arterial lines to umbilical catheters to blood-warming devices. And there’s even a specialist neonatal kit for the tiniest of patients.

Did you know that we need to have five sets of equipment? We need one for the helicopter, one for each of our critical care cars, and the fifth set for training and backup purposes. It’s vital that the crew can jump in any vehicle and be ready to respond with the equipment immediately to hand.

And did you also know that each set costs upward of £60,000?

It’s thanks to our donors that we have this vital kit, standing ready with our crew to save lives. Imagine if we didn’t.

Last winter, our crew was called-out to 415 people in urgent need across our region and we’re expecting to help even more people this year, during the months of December, January and February.

With that chilly thought, keep your eyes peeled for more information on our essential kit; it’s an opportunity to grab a mug of cocoa and take a few minutes to learn some fascinating facts.


About SPCC Mark Kinsella

When Mark started out as a graduate Paramedic, he was inspired by the GWAAC crew: “In my early days as a paramedic I worked alongside GWAAC and saw first-hand the lifesaving capabilities of the team and was impressed at the skill, knowledge, and cutting-edge technology utilised by GWAAC clinicians.”

Mark worked in ambulances in Bristol before becoming a Hazardous Area Response Team Paramedic in 2013. He joined GWAAC in 2017 and says: “I always want to provide the best care possible for my patients and challenge myself personally and professionally. GWAAC provides a constant source of challenge and satisfaction.”

Mark has a 1st class BSc (Hons) in Applied Paramedic Science and a PGCert in Pre-Hospital Critical Care/Retrieval and Transfer. And like all our Advanced and Specialist paramedics he undergoes regular training to keep his specialist skills up to date so he can help people like Helen.

Want to find out more about the kit we carry and how we use it? Find out here

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