Press Enquiries

All Media and Press Enquiries should be directed to:

Tracy Bartram, Communications Manager: 07817 536440 or by email:

Lara Battersby, Communications Assistant: 01823 669604 (office hours) or by email: 

About Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance

  • Since launching in March 2000, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has flown over 11,000 missions.


  • Our operational costs are over £2 million a year.  The approximate cost per mission is £2,500. With no direct Government or National Lottery funding, we rely on the generosity of the public for support.


  • We are tasked as part of the normal '999' emergency process by a dedicated Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) desk located at Ambulance Control.


  • Our airbase is situated at Henstridge Airfield on the Dorset/Somerset border.  From there, we can be at any point in the two counties in less than 20 minutes of receiving an emergency call.  More importantly, the helicopter can then take a patient to any one of the Major Trauma Centres in the South West within a further 20 minutes.


  • Our Critical Care paramedics are employed by the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASfT).  As well as being very highly qualified and experienced paramedics, they are also trained to assist the pilot with navigation and the operation of some of the aircraft systems.


  • Our Doctors are a mixture of senior emergency physicians, intensive care consultants and anesthetists from hospitals across our region.


  • Our Pilots are provided by Bond Air Services, who operate our aircraft.  They are carefully selected because air ambulance flights are typically more challenging than regular non-emergency flight services.  They will have a great deal of experience in low-level operations and instrument flying.


  • In November 2016, we will be replacing our EC135 helicopter with an AgustaWestland 169 (AW169).


  • In 2013, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance sponsored a three-year post-graduate education programme for our paramedics.  This innovative project has received much recognition and was awarded top prize at the 2015 HSJ Awards in the 'Improving Outcomes through Learning and Development' category.


  • Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is a member of the Association of Air Ambulances.