Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance aims to become 24-hour service

The Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance Air Ambulance plans to become a 24 hour service by the end of the year.

At the moment the service is available overnight three times per week, but it will need to raise an extra one and a half million pounds to fund a 24/7 operation.

The Ambucopter at night

The Ambucopter at night

It's estimated 438 people would be helped by an overnight air ambulance per year.

The air ambulance currently operates 365 days a year between 7.00am and 7.00pm.

During this transitional period, the critical care team will be on call to provide 24-hour care at least three days per week.

Next month, the 24-hour service will increase to four days per week.

The type of incidents the charity attend such as serious road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests, traumatic injuries and other medical emergencies do not stop when the Air Ambulance crews go offline.

Captain Tim Taylor, pilot at the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, is regularly on call to fly the Ambucopter during the nights.

He said: “Emergencies can happen anytime, day or night, and being able to operate 24 hours a day means that we can respond to many more incidents, ensuring the people of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire receive the help they need as quickly as possible.

“We have worked tirelessly over the last few months to undertake and learn the processes involved by using Night Vision Goggles and other illumination systems that the aircraft is now fitted with. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that once we are flying 24/7, we will be one of only three Air Ambulance charities in the UK operating a helicopter 24 hours a day.”

Whilst on call during the early hours of Thursday 18th July, the medical crew on board the Ambucopter were called out to a multi-patient road traffic collision in Grimsby. The night capable AgustaWestland 169 helicopter arrived on the scene in just 15 minutes, where the doctor and paramedics stabilised a number of patients before flying the most serious to Hull Royal Infirmary. The crew then returned to base at 4.30am, where they remained on call as part of the Charity’s 24-hour coverage through the night.

This mission is just one of the medical emergencies attended by the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance overnight, highlighting the need for an extended critical care capability in the area.

Karen Jobling, chief executive officer at the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, added: “With our crew attending various jobs overnight so far, it’s clear to see that there is a real need for our service during all hours of the day.

“By operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we hope to be able to treat approximately 438 additional patients every single year.

"Our patients are the heart of everything we do here at the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, so if we are able to help over 400 more people who are suffering from the most serious illnesses and traumatic injuries, then this proves to be an incredible development for our charity.

“Increasing the hours of operation is something that requires not only careful planning, but also significant investment.

"Vitally, the charity will need to raise even more funds, as the cost to provide a 24-hour HEMS service will increase from £2.5 million per year to around £4 million.

"We can only make this remarkable step forward with the help of our local communities, and we cannot thank them enough for their incredible support.”

The Charity has attended over 20,000 incidents over the last 25 years, and during this time has airlifted thousands of patients to hospital, helping them to receive the vital care they need as quickly as possible.

The Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance receives no direct Government funding, meaning it solely relies on the generosity and support of the local communities to keep the Ambucopter flying, helping to save many more lives across the two counties.

If you would like to make a donation or find out more about the life-saving work of the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, visit ambucopter.org.uk.