All six of our clinical services have continued to substantially develop over the past six months. These services include injury prevention, decision support, outreach, critical care, inter-hospital transfer and patient and family liaison.

Injury Prevention

Injury prevention aims to save more people’s lives. Our injury prevention team are passionate about doing everything they can to look after the people of Dorset and Somerset, through engaging in injury prevention; something that costs little to undertake, but for those whose lives are saved, the benefits are immeasurable. Our team have been immensely busy over the last six months, undertaking injury prevention activities in the following areas: young driver (Safe Drive, Stay Alive), water safety, motorcyclists (DocBike) and farming. They have also been increasingly active in the domain of secondary prevention for cardiac disease.

Decision Support

Our critical care team provide decision-making support for our South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASfT) colleagues, by phone or via radio communications. When it comes to tasking of specialist assets, this is a challenge for all emergency services. SWASfT is the largest ambulance service in the country and they task a total of five air ambulances across their domain. Understanding the significant complexity this involves, SWASfT is undertaking a wide review of the tasking of enhanced and critical care assets, in which Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA) is playing its part.


Our outreach team continue to be the main source of interaction and engagement with our emergency services colleagues. In Dorset, our outreach car operates for 12 hours a day, seven days a week and in Somerset, the outreach car is now operating 12 hours a day for four days per week. Both are manned by an enhanced care practitioner (a critical care paramedic or nurse). With the addition of our four most recent trainee specialist practitioners, we are expanding our outreach service in the Somerset area; increasing the days that the car operates. This will provide another step-change in the number of patients that we will be able to treat.

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% of these shifts were covered by a critical care team (practitioner and doctor). At times, staff absence at short notice, due to COVID-19 contact isolation, has made maintaining our rota extremely challenging. Despite this, the team have maintained complete service reliability. This absolute continuity enables the SWASfT Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (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 Transfer

Our time-critical inter-hospital transfer service 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. In December, an immense collaboration between DSAA and regional NHS networks, which formally supported the time-critical inter-hospital transport of children in the South West, was awarded ‘Innovation of the Year’ at the Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence. This innovation is the first of its kind in the UK and you can read more about this on our website.

Patient and Family Liaison

Our patient and family liaison nurses have continued to work extremely hard for patients and families who have been touched by our service. Their work was highly commended at this year’s Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence, which you can read about on our website. 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.