Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) recorded its busiest ever year in 2021. The UK EMS provider reported that emergency call-outs exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with teams from its Aberdeen and Perth bases dispatched 810 times, which represented a 76% increase on 2020.

Now in its ninth year of operation, SCAA uses two EC135 helicopters. In 2021, it airlifted 333 people – 140 more than in 2020 – with nearly three quarters being flown to Scotland’s four major trauma centres in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh. Altogether, it transported patients to over 15 different hospitals.

The majority of the emergencies attended by SCAA’s helicopters were in the Highland (27%), Grampian (24%) and Tayside (19%) health board areas. A total of 160 missions involved air transfers from remote or island locations to mainland hospital care.

SCAA paramedics attended 219 emergencies – 27% of the year’s call-outs – by road in the organisation’s rapid-response vehicles.

David Craig, SCAA’s chief executive, commented: “We expected to become increasingly busy as the country returned to some semblance of normality following lockdown, but the demands on our two helicopters and rapid-response vehicles have been considerable throughout 2021.

“The fact that three quarters of our airlifted patients were flown to one of the country’s four major trauma centres shows the high-acuity trauma our crews are dealing with. Deploying with a specialist doctor-led team on 111 occasions has allowed us to deliver advanced critical care straight to the accident or emergency scene.

“SCAA’s speed and level of care have proven to be life-saving and our crews’ impressive work during another challenging year has seen us delivering more emergency care than ever before, which reflects the demand for our service.”

Leave a Reply