Nine air ambulance charities across England will receive a share of £10 million funding. The 9 charities that will receive funding are:
- East Anglian Air Ambulance
- Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust
- London’s Air Ambulance
- Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust
- Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Charitable Trust
- Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
- Devon Air Ambulance Trust
- MAGPAS Air Ambulance
- Midlands Air Ambulance Charity
The funding means air ambulance charities will benefit from new equipment and improved facilities, including:
- modernised operational facilities at 7 airbases
- a new state-of-the-art helicopter for Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust
- 7 critical care cars with medical equipment
- immersive interactive training suites to better prepare crews for challenging conditions
The new and improved facilities will include immersive simulator suites, allowing paramedics to train with other emergency services, along with a dedicated wellbeing area for staff to debrief after serious incidents, offering a place to recuperate and sleep after challenging missions.
A call for bids for charities to apply for funding was launched by the department in February. This invited the 18 air ambulance charities across England to submit bids of up to £2 million for projects to improve their facilities.
Fourteen applications were received and 9 were successful. The applications went through several stages of assessment to select bids which were deliverable and offered the best value for money.
Air ambulance critical emergency services are not funded by the NHS. Although they receive some support from NHS ambulance services which provide them with clinical staff and equipment, vital charitable donations from the public cover the costs of keeping services running.
Air ambulance crews provide life-saving support to NHS emergency response teams on the ground in cases where critical care is needed in a short space of time.
Helicopters can carry more equipment than a standard ambulance, meaning expert paramedics can deliver lifesaving treatment at the scene of an incident that would typically be provided in a hospital setting, such as open chest surgery or a blood transfusion.
This funding supports the NHS Long Term Plan to improve emergency care for all patients.
Health Minister Stephen Hammond said: “Air ambulance crews work under extreme pressure in situations where every second counts.”
“This one-off funding to help provide world-class facilities and equipment recognises the integral role they play in our health service.”
“Air ambulance charities rely heavily on generous donations from members of the public and typical fundraising activities for their life-saving work and they deserve our enormous gratitude.”
Paula Martin, Chairman of the Association of Air Ambulances, said: “The air ambulance charities welcome this support from the Department of Health and Social Care. The £10 million which was announced in the Autumn Budget statement has been extremely well received and has enabled charities to bring forward capital projects to further enhance the level of care they deliver to patients.”
“Whilst hugely grateful of the support received from the DHSC and government, air ambulance charities rely primarily on the fantastic support from the public to ensure the long-term stability of the care they provide.”
“As independent charities, each has the flexibility to deliver tailored services which best suits the locations and patients they serve. The opportunity to access grants such as this plays an invaluable role in assisting these pioneering services, allowing for funding which is additional to the incredible generosity of the public.”