The Association of Air Ambulances (AAA), which represents the majority of air ambulance operators in the UK, says a £5m donation from Libor fines will make a significant difference to patients across the UK.
The funding was confirmed on 24 February 2015 at a meeting between UK Chancellor George Osborne and the AAA, whose charity will distribute the money among 20 local air ambulance charities.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said, “From enabling the fantastic air ambulance services to extend their flying hours, to helping build brand new specialist headquarters, this funding will play a vital role on helping to save hundreds of lives every year. It is absolutely right that we use funds from those who demonstrated the worst values to reward those who demonstrate the best, like our hardworking air ambulance crews.”
Each charity will receive £250,000 from the fund, which will contribute to a range of projects across the UK enhancing the lifesaving services provided by the local air ambulance charities.
Each local charity has outlined their plans for the funds, with projects including: the purchase of equipment to allow the extension of air ambulance operations into the hours of darkness, including night vision goggles and safety equipment for crews and aircraft; the development of new airbase facilities to better support clinical training, flight preparation and charity fundraising activities; and the procurement of additional medical equipment for the aircraft which will directly impact on patient outcomes.
Clive Dickin, AAA National Director, said, “The entire air ambulance community is delighted with today’s announcement by the Chancellor. This funding – the result of extensive lobbying by the AAA – is excellent news for air ambulance charities and patients across the UK. Each of the 20 charities will use the funds in ways that will increase availability, types of activity, and overall patient care at a local level and this donation will ultimately help air ambulances across the UK to save many lives.”
The announcement is in addition to the Libor funds already allocated to three air ambulance charities. It also follows the announcement of relief of VAT on air ambulance charities and aviation fuel, which was announced last year.
Combined the changes will be worth over £15m over the next five years. This excellent news will potentially equate to 800 more patients per year being saved.