Devon Air Ambulance has reported its busiest year ever, with the just-released figures for 2021 showing that the emergency service attended over 1,900 incidents across Devon during the year.

In what was a challenging year for charities, the crew at Devon Air Ambulance attended incidents across Devon and were also called to assist crews in neighbouring counties of Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset and with one mission in Hampshire.

The trust said that out of 1,900 missions, 844 were to help patients with medical emergencies (those suffering with a medical condition) and 1,050 were trauma-related incidents (accidents and injuries caused by slips, trips, falls, burns and road traffic collisions to name just a few).

Patient services operations director Nigel Hare said: ’Responding to 1,900 missions, our critical care doctors and paramedics have had their busiest year ever. Alongside our pilots around three quarters of our deployments were by helicopter, with over 500 missions using one of our critical care cars.

’Helping almost 1,200 patients suffering from life-threatening or life-changing medical emergencies or traumatic injuries has required our clinicians and support staff to work tirelessly, often in challenging conditions during the pandemic, to ensure our patients were able to receive the highest level of care and have the best chance of a successful outcome.

’People often associate Devon Air Ambulance with responding to people having accidents or sustaining serious injuries, and where last year we did respond to 275 road traffic collisions and 526 incidents where people sustained traumatic injuries, nearly half the patients we respond to each year are suffering a life-threatening medical condition. In 2021, over 40% of the people we deployed to were having chest pains or suffering a cardiac arrest.’

Children made up 11.5 per cent of the patients we treated and 24 per cent were over 70.

In 2021, 315 patients that the DAA crew attended were suffering a cardiac arrest.