Air Ambulances UK is urging the next UK Government to take decisive action

In anticipation of the 2024 General Election, Air Ambulances UK, alongside its Member charities, is urging the next UK Government to address the pressing challenges faced by air ambulance charities across the UK.  

With 21 independent air ambulance charities operating across the UK, air ambulance crews bring the Emergency Department to patients who have suffered a life-threatening or life-changing trauma or medical emergency; providing advanced critical care to save lives.

Anyone, anywhere can become a patient at any time. On average an air ambulance can reach someone in urgent need within 16 minutes. Air ambulance charities are collectively dispatched to an average of 126 lifesaving missions each day across the UK; each mission is funded almost entirely by the generosity of local communities.

In 2021, collectively, the UK’s air ambulances attended over 30,000 missions, and in 2023, over 46,000 missions, evidencing an approximate 53% increase.

Moreover, the average cost of an air ambulance helicopter mission increased from £3,962 in 2021 to £4,110 in 2023, highlighting a 4% rise.

Did you know air ambulance missions are almost entirely funded by the generosity of local communities? Air ambulance charities receive no day-to-day Government funding! 

Given these rising demands and costs, Air Ambulances UK is calling for decisive action from the next UK Government.

The four key issues serve as strategic recommendations, each dedicated to supporting the UK air ambulance sector to address key challenges, ultimately enabling them to save even more lives every day.

Access to, and Safeguarding of, Hospital Helipads and Community Landing Sites

Air Ambulances UK is calling the next UK Government to:

Part 1: Ensure that all new and existing UK Major Trauma Centres and specialist hospitals (such as cardiac centres) have 24/7 accessible on-site primary hospital helipads.

Part 2: Assist Local Planning Authorities in developing a specialised safeguarding process to protect UK-wide hospital helipads against adverse effects from planning and developments.

Part 3: Establish an efficient consultation pathway to proactively engage Air Ambulances UK and air ambulance charities in strategic planning discussions, concerning hospital helipads and community landing sites in the UK.

Increased Demand and Increased Cost

Air Ambulances UK is calling the next UK Government to:

Support the air ambulance community to enhance methods of income generation through the distribution of UK-wide grants and capital funding, ensuring that air ambulance charities can operate effectively with equitable service provision to continue to meet the surge in demand and increased operational costs.

Safe Access to Patient Data

Air Ambulances UK is calling the next UK Government to:

Secure safe access to NHS patient data for air ambulance charities to enable them to gain further insight into the full patient pathway and ultimately the patient outcome.

Statutory Levy for Lotteries

Air Ambulances UK is calling the next UK Government to:

Oppose the proposed statutory levy of 0.1% of ‘gross gambling yield’ (GGY) on lotteries. Advocate for a zero rate of statutory levy for lotteries and a continuation of the current system of voluntary contributions, in recognition of the unique contribution lotteries make to charitable causes, such as air ambulances.

If you agree that these four key issues need tackling and would like to support the UK’s air ambulances, you can add your signature to our open letter to the next UK Prime Minister here: Policy and Public Affairs – Air Ambulances UK.

Additionally, you might encounter local Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and party volunteers knocking on your door to discuss why you should vote for them and their party.

By using our suggested doorstep campaigning toolkit, you can effectively highlight air ambulance key issues with local candidates right at your doorstep, if air ambulance charities are close to your heart. You can access our Doorstep Campaigning Toolkit here: Doorstep Campaigning Talking Points (airambulancesuk.org).

You have the power to help air ambulance charities save even more lives and remain at the forefront of pre-hospital care.

Join us in urging all political parties to commit to supporting the UK’s air ambulances.

Every voice counts!