DHSC awards £10 million funding to UK air ambulance charities

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London's Air Ambulance crew during an operation in June 2011

Back in February, air ambulances across the UK were invited to bid for a share of up to £2 million from a £10 million funding grant supplied by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). And the DHSC has now revealed the nine charities that are to receive a portion of the grant

Of the 14 applications put forward, the following nine air ambulance charities are to receive a share of the total grant money, which they will spend on upgraded equipment and facilities:

  • 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

“This one-off funding to help provide world-class facilities and equipment recognises the integral role they play in our health service,” said Health Minister Stephen Hammond.

UK air ambulance critical emergency services are not funded by the NHS; though they do receive some support from NHS ambulance services, the air ambulance charities rely on vital charitable donations from the public to cover their costs and keep them in operation.

The £10 million provided by the DHSC funding supports the NHS Long Term Plan to improve emergency care for all patients and will be available as part of the Autumn Budget. Included in the development plans are modernized operational facilities at seven air bases, a new state-of-the-art helicopter for Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, seven critical care cars with medical equipment and immersive training suites.

Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, which plans to use the grant to cover part of the cost of its £2.5 million new AW169 air ambulance, expressed its gratitude towards the Government. “We are delighted that the Government has awarded over £1.3 million to Cornwall Air Ambulance to benefit the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, as well as visitors to the Duchy,” said Paula Martin, Chief Executive of Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust and Chairman of the Association of Air Ambulances (AAA). “This one-off grant will speed up plans to extend operations and increase the number of hours Cornwall Air Ambulance flies, from 12 to 19 every day. This will mean the critical care crew could help up to two more seriously sick and injured patients every day.”

Patrick Peal, Vice-Chair of the AAA and CEO of East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: “Although air ambulance charities are primarily community funded, relying on the general public for millions of pounds every year to keep the helicopters flying, these one-off government grants for capital projects – such as for improvements to our bases and the purchase of rapid response vehicles – are a huge boost to our work and enable us to get there big, one-off projects moving much quicker.”

Martin also noted that, as independent charities, each of the successful applicants has the flexibility to deliver tailored services that best suit 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,” she concluded.

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