THE county’s air ambulance has revealed a huge rise in call-outs with an upsurge 62 per cent.

In total for the first six months of this year Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) have undertaken 1,075 missions, compared to 662 for the same period in 2018.

The charity’s aircraft has also seen a significant increase of 31 per cent in incident responses for the same period.

The reasons behind the dramatic increase have been revealed to mark the start of National Air Ambulance Week, which runs till September 15.

HIOWAA have said one of the reasons for the increase is a boost in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) paramedics, starting the year with seven new trainees.

The new starters have allowed the charity to increase the number of vehicle and dispatch desk shifts it operates.

The rise has also been put down to changes made in November 28 to its Critical Care Team Vehicles (CCTV) which was re-positioned to operate within the M27 corridor.

New data collected by the charity revealed that this area represents a large proportion of their incidents.

The increase that HIOWAA has seen in the deployments of the three CCTVs now operated by the charity could be partly attributed to this shift in location, but the organisation says further analysis is required to confirm this.

Director of operations for HIOWAA, Nick Thuilliez, said: “The arrival of our new trainee HEMS paramedics has allowed us to increase staffing levels for our CCTVs and dispatch desk so that, ultimately, we can respond to more patients in their hour of need. In addition, thanks to improved data, we have repositioned our vehicles closer to where they are most likely to be needed. As a life-saving charity, our patients are at the heart of every strategic decision we make.”

The Charity, which celebrated its 12th birthday on July 1, this year, has now responded to a total of 8,862 call-outs since beginning operations in July 2007.

July 2019 was the charity’s busiest month to date, with the crew responding to 244 incidents across the region.

National Air Ambulance Week shines the spotlight on the work of air ambulance charities across the country and celebrates the life-saving services they provide to local communities throughout the year.