MIB stories – TV Air Ambulance

Thames Valley Air Ambulance: the Charity responsible
for funding the service in Berkshire, Oxfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire



The Charity receives no Government or National Lottery funding relying solely on the generosity of the public and corporate fundraisers to help fund this vital service which averages three missions a day, at an average cost of £2,500 per flight.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) charity began in Bucks 17 years ago. During that time, it has significantly advanced pre-hospital trauma care to reach, treat and save more people than ever before.  The service is funded entirely by donations from the generous communities it supports.

In 2000, TVAA carried the same medical kit as a land ambulance but the service developed away from ‘scoop and swoop’ and began to introduce more advanced equipment like cardiac compressors (2008) and ultra sound machines (2013).

It has continued to push medical innovation and in 2014 was the first in the UK to have a blood analysis machine on board alongside carrying blood.  It now brings a fully equipped ‘mobile ER’ to treat patients at the scene with procedures including blood transfusions and intubations.

In 2016 it started carrying life-saving Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP), the vital clotting component of human blood. TVAA Emergency Medical Doctor, Dr James Raitt explains its importance: “Blood transfusions are given to treat a multitude of illnesses as well as to replace blood loss in major trauma.  Current trauma guidelines recommend that if a patient is bleeding to death, they should receive both ‘packed red cells’ (which carry oxygen) and ‘plasma’ (which carries the clotting factors to help stop the bleeding).

“Until recently, it has only been viable to carry red blood cells on board but thanks to a vital partnership with the John Radcliffe and the blood bank we are able to improve survival rates for patients needing red blood cells and plasma to treat severe haemorrhaging before they reach hospital.”

TVAA is committed to enhancing its helicopter emergency medical service to provide the highest level of emergency care outside of a hospital environment, helping to shave off valuable seconds in the golden hour following a major trauma and increase patient survival rates.