Our talk this month was by Mark Wilkins on the work of the County Air Ambulance.

Mark started his career by joining the army and becoming a helicopter pilot, later joining the Air Ambulance in Scotland. All Air Ambulance pilots have experience in the Armed Force; and a team comprises a pilot, 2 paramedics or a paramedic and a doctor. Each helicopter is controlled by its own NHS Trust and its upkeep costs one & a half million pounds each year .They receive no government or National Lottery funding but rely on donations through collections, a lottery, direct debits & legacies. Some money is received for the transfer of patients to a centre of excellence hospital and for transfer of donor organs.

The Midlands area covers 10 counties and they have 6 helicopters. They can be airborne in two minutes and the furthest travelling point takes 19 minutes. The paramedics attending the patient are in constant contact with the pilot and the hospital consultant, who meets the patient at the end of their journey to continue their treatment in hospital. ‘Golden Hour’ is of utmost importance as specialist medical attention within this time can save lives.

A vote of thanks was given to Mark for his enlightening talk and a collection was taken.

Our evening continued with the minutes being agreed. Members were reminded of outings including a visit to Bletchley Park and our summer outing to Bourton Hill House and Batsford’s Arboretum.

The evening finished with the annual WI resolution. This year’s topic is about increasing Organ Donation. Jean Houlton read the overview, a discussion was held and a vote was taken.