WILTSHIRE Air Ambulance is now carrying plasma to improve the chances of critically injured or unwell people.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has been carrying packed red blood cells on its helicopter and rapid response vehicles since August 2015 and 72 patients have been given pre-hospital blood transfusions by its critical care paramedics and doctors.

The cells help carry oxygen around the body and replace blood lost by patients.

Ben Abbott, critical care paramedic and operations officer said: “We believe the addition of plasma will make a significant difference to the care of patients who require emergency pre-hospital blood transfusions and improve their chances of reaching hospital alive in order for them to receive further emergency treatment.

“We’ve been giving pre-hospital blood transfusions since 2015 and we have seen the visible difference they can make to critically injured or unwell patients who are bleeding as a result of trauma or acute medical conditions. Blood products are a precious commodity and emergency blood transfusions can save lives.

“It is a privilege for the critical care team at Wiltshire Air Ambulance to be able to give blood and plasma to patients who require it in the pre-hospital environment.”

Clinical services manager Richard Miller said: “Our paramedics and doctors provide gold standard medical care to patients and the addition of plasma is an enhancement to our service.

“Having blood products on board our aircraft and Rapid Response Vehicles is only possible thanks to the kind donations our charity receives from the community, businesses and grant-making trusts to run our vital service.”