21 Jan 2016
- Your second helicopter is now operational in London
- Boris Johnson said: “The delivery of a second emergency medical helicopter is down to the dedication, determination and generosity of countless individuals and organisations across London.”
- The G-LNDN registered MD902 Explorer is here in time to cover our current helicopter (G-EHMS) which is now offline for its annual maintenance
- This is thanks to the generosity of the people and organisations in London, including London Freemasons, who pledged £2 million to the campaign
- The annual running cost of the service has now increased to £6 million
- CEO makes plea to London to continue to donate to ensure delivery of 24/7 service
Your second helicopter is now operational in London, thanks to generous contributions to the charity from the people and organisations of the capital. The G-LNDN registered MD902 Explorer is available to deliver our advanced trauma team to critically injured patients, and is here in time to cover our current helicopter (G-EHMS) which has now gone offline for its annual maintenance this week.
Following our ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ fundraising campaign last year to acquire and sustain a second helicopter and extend its summer daylight flying hours for five years, just over £4 million was raised allowing us to acquire the aircraft, convert the helicopter to meet aviation regulations and provide the same medical interior, and to cover some running costs for the extended service. The cost of providing our service has increased to £6 million each year and donations are needed now more than ever to maintain the delivery of our 24/7 advanced trauma care to London.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “This is a momentous feat for London, for Londoners and for the dedicated healthcare professionals of London’s Air Ambulance. It reinforces my pride in the capital. The delivery of a second emergency medical helicopter is down to the dedication, determination and generosity of countless individuals and organisations across London. Without them this wouldn't have been possible.
“We should all be proud of London’s Air Ambulance. The world-class care the doctors, paramedics, pilots and staff here provide is already saving lives and having a second helicopter at their disposal can only improve outcomes for patients across the city. That's why it is vital that this year our CEOs and business leaders dig even deeper into their vast war chests of profit in order to help London’s Air Ambulance to continue its life-saving work.”
To celebrate the arrival Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, the constituency where the helipad atop The Royal London Hospital is based, joined the team, representatives from Barts Health NHS Trust, London Ambulance Service, the London Freemasons and other supporters who supported the campaign, as the 2nd helicopter touched down on our helipad atop The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel this morning.
Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow where The Royal London Hospital is based, said: “I am delighted to join the London’s Air Ambulance team on this historic occasion at the launch of their second helicopter here in my constituency. I have seen first-hand the dedication that London’s Air Ambulance have put into campaigning for a second emergency helicopter over the past few years. This cannot have been achieved without the generous support of individuals and organisations across London.
“The invaluable contributions that the advanced trauma team make to delivering medical assistance to thousands of critically injured patients every year is truly world-class. I commend London’s Air Ambulance for ensuring that this service can now save even more lives.”
Also present was ex-patient Andy, an on-duty police officer who was knocked off his motorcycle after being hit by a car which crossed into his lane on a roundabout last year. Our advanced trauma team were at his side in minutes thanks to the helicopter.
Andy said: "The immediate care I got at the side of the road was second-to-none and saved my life. Working on the Roads Policing Unit, I frequently go to fatal and serious injury collisions, but I never thought I'd be involved in a similar incident myself. Thankfully London’s Air Ambulance had an aircraft available at the time of my incident and came out to treat me. I am really pleased to see this day arrive, the second helicopter will make a real difference. My family and I would like to thank everyone who supports the charity and encourage you to continue to do so as they really are life-savers.”
Through the acquisition of a second helicopter and by extending our daylight flying hours in the summer months, we estimate we will be able to reach a further 400 patients per year by aircraft. Last year, we flew longer hours in the summer months for the first time in our history and, as a result, we were able to reach, and treat, a further 67 patients by air.
The largest pledge to the ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ campaign was from the London Freemasons who promised £2 million, of which over £1 million has been donated so far. £1 million was also received from Her Majesty’s Treasury banking fines fund. Significant donations were received from BlackRock, Khoo Teck Puat UK Foundation and the Westminster Foundation, and Estate Agent Foxtons is generously sponsoring the second helicopter. All other donations came from individuals who gave generously, took part in, or organised their own fundraising events. Many other organisations provided pro-bono support, included Hogan Lovells who carried out the legal work for the helicopter acquisition. Santander UK provided a comprehensive financing package to partially fund the acquisition over five years.
London Freemason and its Metropolitan Grand Master, Sir Michael Snyder, said: “This is a proud day for London and for all London Freemasons. Our two million pounds’ pledge is being raised by personal contributions from London Freemasons meeting in Lodges across London. I am delighted that our members have responded to the need in such a generous and immediate fashion, helping to make London a safer city.”
Graham Hodgkin, Chief Executive Officer at London’s Air Ambulance, said: “Seeing the second helicopter touch down on the helipad today marks a historic milestone for both for the charity and the people of London. This simply wouldn’t have been possible without our wonderful supporters. We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to anyone who contributed to the campaign, in any way. I would also like to make a plea for London to continue to donate and support the charity, to ensure our advanced trauma teams can deliver life-saving treatments to our patients on the streets of London 24/7.”