All our clinical services continue to be achieved to an extremely high standard. Our clinical team wish to thank the charity for enabling their amazing opportunity to advocate for the people of Dorset and Somerset. Some of them remember a time when such care was not possible in our region and they are proud to be part of a life-giving service that is charity funded and clinically governed by the NHS. Here is an update on the work of our clinical team over the past six months.

Injury prevention

Our injury prevention team continue to undertake injury prevention activities within the areas of Young Drivers (through the Safe Drive, Stay Alive initiative), Water Safety (alongside our colleagues at the RNLI) and Motorcyclists (through our partnership with DocBike). They have also been increasingly active in the domain of secondary prevention for cardiac disease.

Decision support

Our strategic objective for decision support is ‘Tasking that optimises the utilisation of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance for patient benefit.’ The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASfT) is the largest ambulance service in the country and tasks a total of five air ambulances across their domain, which is extremely complex. To progress our strategic objective, we have continued to advocate for increased regional investment in the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) desk located within SWASfT’s control centre based in Exeter.


Over the past six months, our clinical team have been extremely busy continuing to develop multi-modal outreach within Dorset and Somerset. With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, we have been able to provide more face-to-face outreach engagement and activity with those we work alongside at serious incidents.

DSAA has formed a wonderful relationship with Bournemouth University, which has seen members of our team speak and share their experiences with students. They have supported teaching with case study presentations, table-top practices and large major incident exercises. A pre-hospital care society has also been re-established at the university and our team were invited to speak at the inaugural meeting. This was well attended by a number of undergraduate healthcare backgrounds, who learned more about DSAA and future career opportunities.

We were delighted to once again host a cohort of RNLI lifeguards who were preparing for the summer season on local beachfronts. Having them visit us is a privilege and enables us to explain what to expect when our aircraft is dispatched to their location. We talk about what a landing might entail, demonstrate our equipment and carry out scenarios to give the lifeguards some hands-on experience.

Other outreach activities include joining the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service for an army cadets evening, attendance at community first responder (CFR) training to introduce them to DSAA and explain how we can support them at scene with critically ill and injured patients and giving presentations at SWASfT’s emergency care assistants’ training courses.

Our outreach cars continue to be visible across the communities of Dorset and Somerset. As the Dorset outreach car has already achieved, the Somerset outreach car has now substantially increased its hours of operation and is quickly becoming established in the pre-hospital community of Somerset. There have been numerous examples of the benefit of both outreach cars over the past few months and how our team have assisted our SWASfT colleagues and enabled patients to access pre-hospital critical care.

Critical care

DSAA operates a critical care team for 19 hours a day, (over two shifts), seven days a week. Over the past six months, 100 per cent of these shifts were covered by a critical care team (practitioner and doctor), maintaining complete service reliability.

Our team of clinicians, pilots and co-pilots have achieved absolute continuity of our 19-hour a day critical care service for the past six years; something that we are extremely proud of. Achieving this, despite all the pressures of COVID-19 and other operational challenges, demonstrates the enormous commitment of the operational team to our clinical service. It also enables the HEMS desk and our ambulance service colleagues to rely on us, which in turn, increases the utilisation of our service, contributing to why DSAA is the busiest air ambulance service in the South West.

Inter-hospital transfers of adults and children

Our time-critical inter-hospital transfer service for adults and children has been used to good effect over the past six months. These transfers ensure that patients get to a definitive point of care, as safely and quickly as possible, by using our critical care team and aircraft.

Patient and family liaison

Our patient and family liaison nurses continue to inspire us all with this incredibly important work. Many of the patient stories featured within this edition of Beeline highlight the remarkable journeys of our patients and their families, the care that our team provided and the important role that our patient and family liaison service played.

To enable development of this service, we recently ran a successful recruitment process. As a result, we are excited to have appointed three new part-time patient and family liaison nurses, who will join our clinical team in the Autumn. Our three new colleagues bring a wealth of experience from across healthcare and we will look forward to introducing them to you in due course.

Education and training

Our education and training team continue to work very hard on producing an extensive training programme for our clinicians. Since our last edition of Beeline, training has been varied. There was a session carried out on Zoom which saw an excellent selection of presentations on the topics of forensic pathology, traumatic brain injury, organ donation and burns management.

Caption Ultrasound Training day which took place at Henstridge

The team have also attended an excellent interhospital transport training day at the impressive simulation suites located at Bournemouth University and a fantastic ultrasound training day at Henstridge. The latter required an enormous amount of organisation; multiple volunteers and actors supported the day and internal facilitators guided our clinicians through inspirational learning.

DSAA launched an inaugural leadership development programme in 2022. Operational staff were asked to apply for the funded programme, which is completed in their own time. Ten of our team members were successful in their applications and have commenced their 12 month programme. We believe this innovation will further deepen the capacity of the DSAA operational team to enact positive change for patients