Wales Air Ambulance goes full time in mid Wales

A crash scene
Image caption Wales' three air ambulances have carried out more than 14,500 missions since 2001

Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) is expanding its emergency service in mid Wales from five to seven days a week.

The charity, which made the announcement at the Royal Welsh Show in Powys, said seven-day cover was vital in such a remote region.

The expanded service, costing an extra £300,000 a year, will operate for a trial period of six months with the aim of making it permanent.

Wales' third air ambulance was launched in Welshpool, Powys, in 2006.

The other two air ambulances, based in Caernarfon in the north and Swansea in the south, already operate seven days a week, while all three cost the charity £5m a year to keep in the air.

WAA is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and has carried out more than 14,500 missions in Wales since St David's Day in 2001.

Each mission is said to cost approximately £1,500.

'Incredible landmark'

Poor road links in rural mid Wales can delay patients receiving care within the so-called "golden hour", which increases their chance of recovery.

WAA clinical and operations manager Jason Williams said: "Time makes a vital difference in an emergency, and it has always been a huge goal for the charity to get seven-day cover in such a remote region."

The Welshpool crew can reach Builth Wells within 15 minutes, and then fly to a major trauma unit in another 15 minutes.

Charity chief executive Angela Hughes said: "This is an incredible landmark for the charity but our next challenge is to keep the service at seven days and we will need your help to do that - even the smallest of donations will help to make a lifesaving difference."

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