THERE has been a huge rise in former patients of Thames Valley Air Ambulance seeking its aftercare services, since the start of the pandemic.

Figures for the 12-month period from October 2019 to September, show a peak of 76 former patients in March last year who contacted the charity for support.

The charity was one of the first air ambulances in the country to introduce the patient liaison manager, a role that has many facets, one of which supports former patients.

The service also extends to loved ones and the bereaved.

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After discharge from hospital, the patient liaison manager helps people on their recovery journey and signposts them to specialist providers to ensure they get help for their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

But also, where a life-changing incident has affected employment and financial circumstances, people are guided so they can understand if they are entitled to any support and help with accessing it.

Adam Crosby, who took on the role at Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: "The huge increase in former patients needing my help shows how long a shadow Covid-19 has cast on people's lives.

"They feel isolated and need support.

"But whether it is a phone or video call, the pandemic is not stopping us from providing the aftercare so many people require."