WILTSHIRE Air Ambulance was called out to the Devizes and Chippenham areas once a week on average, during 2018.

The total number of missions undertaken by the county’s air ambulance rose by 26 per cent last year and the charity has revealed how often its critical care team was called out to different parts of Wiltshire.

In the Chippenham area the team was called out on 79 occasions, up 30 on 2017, while in Devizes it was 75 times.

There were increased numbers of call-outs in the following areas covered by the Gazette; in Calne up two to 34; Malmesbury up three to 21 and Corsham up one to 14.

Other areas the team were called to included Marlborough 28, Pewsey 14, Royal Wootton Bassett 11, Tidworth nine and Cricklade three.

The largest number of incidents that Wiltshire Air Ambulance responded to were in the Swindon area, 182, equivalent to a call-out, on average, every two days.

Overall, the total number of missions undertaken in 2018 by Wiltshire Air Ambulance were 1,103, up by 228 on the previous year. The charity’s helicopter flew 494 missions while its paramedics responded to 609 incidents in cars.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance operates until 3am and more than one in three of its missions last year were undertaken at night.

The largest number of call-outs were to cardiac emergencies, 248, almost one in four of the total incidents, while 220 - one in five incidents - were to road traffic collisions and one in ten incidents - 109 - involved children. In addition the team was called to 62 sporting accidents with almost half, 28, involving horse riders.

The charity announced last week that its annual costs have risen by 15 per cent to £3.75 million a year. This means it has to raise just over £10,000 a day to keep its lifesaving service operational. It is not funded directly by the Government and receives no National Lottery grants.

David Philpott, chief executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “The call-out figures for 2018 show there was an increased demand for our essential lifesaving service. When our helicopter is unable to fly our critical care paramedics are available to respond to medical emergencies in rapid response vehicles. These vehicles have the same specialist medical equipment that is on board our helicopter.

“We are only able to keep saving lives thanks to the generosity of the public and businesses who make donations. If you would like to support us, please get in touch by calling the charity team on 01225 300536 or email hello@wiltshireairambulance.co.uk.”