Air ambulance charity reveals number of east London call-outs in 2020

The London Air Ambulance on the helipad at The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel,

London's Air Ambulance charity has revealed the number of critically injured patients it treated last year. - Credit: David Mirzoeff

London's Air Ambulance treated more than 250 critically injured patients across east London last year, the charity has revealed.

The service, run in partnership with London Ambulance Service and Barts Health NHS Trust, delivers an advanced trauma team by helicopter or rapid response car to the scene of emergencies.

Last year, the charity treated almost 1,500 critically injured patients across the capital.

Tower Hamlets was the fourth most-visited borough by the service with 69 incidents, followed by Newham in sixth with 67 call-outs.

The service attended Barking and Dagenham 49 times, Redbridge 42 times and 30 incidents in Havering.

Dr Tom Hurst, medical director of London’s Air Ambulance, said: "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.

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“Medical, aviation and operational crew all worked extra shifts to keep the service running. 

"Many were also helping with the frontline Covid response. Thanks to them, when London called, we were able to answer.”

Of the 1,494 patients the charity treated, 529 were a result of stabbings or shootings.

A quarter were caused by road collisions (371), while 22 per cent (330) were falls from height.

The charity, which said each call costs £2,080 to attend, said it is predicting a £6million funding shortfall across the next five years.

Its chief executive, Jonathan Jenkins, said the financial impact of Covid will be felt "for years to come".

He added: "The effect 2020 has had on our finances is sizeable as we were forced to stop many of our usual fundraising activities.

"We need the support of Londoners now more than ever to keep our service flying.”

But Mr Jenkins said he was grateful to crews and supporters for enabling the charity to be there for patients last year.

"When London calls, our teams are on the frontline, racing across the city to reach the capital’s most critically injured patients in need of life-saving care at the scene."

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