The data has been released to thank people for keeping the service operational day and night throughout the pandemic and to ask Londoners to continue to support the life-saving charity as it faces a £6-million gap in income over the next five years.
Figures show that across London, in 2020, 1,494 patients were critically injured to the extent that they required the lifesaving intervention that London’s Air Ambulance provides. Each mission costs £2,080, and every mission can mean the difference between life and death.
Stabbings and shootings majority of injuries
Key statistics revealed include:
- 1,494 critically injured patients were treated in 2020 across London
- Of the 1,494 patients treated, the mechanisms of injury were;
- Stabbings and shootings: 529 (36 per cent of total)
- Road traffic collisions: 371 (25 per cent)
- Falls from height: 330 (22 per cent)
- Other: 264 (17 per cent). These include rail incidents, industrial accidents, drownings and medical emergencies, including cardiac arrest
- July and August were the busiest months
- On average, Friday was the busiest day of the week
Dr Tom Hurst, Medical Director of London’s Air Ambulance, said: “Over 32 years, the service has treated over 40,000 patients and we have learnt that trauma never stops. So, as a service, we were adamant that even during lockdown, it was our duty to make sure we were available to treat patients when their life was on the line. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we remained operational 24/7 for the 10 million people who live and work in London.”
Effects of 2020 result in financial difficulties
Primarily funded by charitable donations, the service is also run in partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust and the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Barts Health NHS Trust provides the doctors, financial support, and the helipad facilities at The Royal London Hospital. The London Ambulance Service NHS Trust provides the paramedics and the emergency infrastructure to dispatch the service 24 hours a day.
Jonathan Jenkins, Chief Executive of London’s Air Ambulance Charity, added: “When London calls, our teams are on the front line, racing across the city to reach the capital’s most critically injured patients in need of lifesaving care at the scene. We are so grateful to our crews and to our supporters for enabling us to be there when those 1,494 people needed us the most. When London calls, we can be there because of you.
“However, the effect 2020 has had on our finances is sizeable as we were forced to stop many of our usual fundraising activities. This impact will be felt for years to come – we forecast a £6-million gap in our income over the next five years. We need the support of Londoners now more than ever to keep our service flying.”
MP encourages people to support air ambulance charities
The charity relies heavily on public donations and since the pandemic began has had to stop many of its usual fundraising activities and cancel or postpone a number of crucial events including its annual Abseil event, which the previous year raised £132,000. In addition, last year’s London Marathon had been expected to raise approximately £82,000 but was cancelled.
In a Westminster Hall debate about air ambulance funding on 26 April, Minister of State for Health, Edward Argar MP, praised the work of London’s Air Ambulance and encouraged people to support their local air ambulance charity.