London’s Air Ambulance launches appeal for new helicopters

Charity makes biggest-ever appeal to replace ageing helicopter fleet by 2024 

London's Air Ambulance Charity
London’s Air Ambulance Charity’s helicopter fleet needs to be replaced

London’s Air Ambulance Charity has launched an appeal to raise £15million and replace its helicopter fleet with its current helicopters now “increasingly difficult to maintain”.   

As part of the launch, hundreds of volunteers, staff and off-duty crew from across the charity hit the streets of London this week to collect vital donations.  

Air ambulance medics perform life-saving treatment at the scene for those patients who are critically injured with life-threatening or life-changing injuries. However, new polling has found over half of Londoners (51%) think the main purpose of London’s Air Ambulance helicopters is to merely collect patients from the scene of an accident and take them back to hospital.  

One in four Londoners have been affected or have a friend or family member who has been affected by traumatic injury but only 38% know London’s Air Ambulance is funded by public donations and 36% think the service is primarily funded by either the NHS or central government, rather than being a charity reliant on donations.

Last year, London’s Air Ambulance assisted 1,714 patients at the scene, an average of five a day. 

Someone who needed the charity’s help was Claire, who survived an attack from her ex-partner who stabbed her repeatedly in her home. Claire’s daughter managed to call 999 and, because of the severity of her injuries, London’s Air Ambulance advanced trauma team was instantly dispatched; they gave Claire an emergency anaesthetic and a blood transfusion at the scene, which saved her life.

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Another patient was Matt, a medical student who was walking along a pavement when a car failed to follow the road. After Matt was hit by the car, the London’s Air Ambulance trauma team arrived and put him into an induced coma at the scene before taking him to St Mary’s Hospital. Alongside multiple broken bones Matt also had a life-threatening brain injury which required emergency surgery. Incredibly, he recovered to return to medical school and qualify as a junior doctor.

Dr Tom Hurst, medical director at London’s Air Ambulance Charity, said: “Both Claire and Matt have made an incredible recovery and it is amazing to see their resilience and bravery. In both cases, their injuries meant that it was absolutely critical that we were able to get to them quickly and treat them on scene; there was simply no time to get to hospital.

“Claire and Matt have their whole lives in front of them and their stories could have been very different; it is a poignant reminder of the urgent need to replace our helicopter fleet; we’re a charity and without your support, there is no life-saving air ambulance service for Londoners.”

To support the appeal from London’s Air Ambulance Charity:

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