It was wonderful to attend the 2019 ‘Air Aid Ball’ and hear how the exceptional work of the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex service continues to help so many seriously injured people in their hour of need.
The evening raised over £100, 000 towards this life-saving service, and this is the second time we at Hudgell Solicitors have supported the night as sponsors.
Given our work in supporting people who suffer serious, life-changing injuries, there is a very close fit between our work and that of the emergency services and healthcare providers across the UK.
We are all part of an overall support team focused on ensuring people have the right dedicated support and care, as quickly as possible, to help them make the best possible recovery.
Without doubt, if organisations such as Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex were not operational, thousands of people across the UK would be denied the chance of survival following a serious accident or injury.
They simply wouldn’t be provided with expert medical care quickly enough to be given the chance of starting their journey towards rehabilitation and recovery.
The importance of our air ambulance services across the UK cannot be overstated. They are a crucial emergency service saving lives on a daily basis.
The Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex team were called out to help more than 2,000 people last year with life-threatening conditions – an average of six emergencies every 24 hours across the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
They are truly a world-leading, innovative and first class team which has led the way in recent times.
In 2013 they became the first to operate at night –moving from a 7am-7pm service to 24 hours.
In the same year they began carrying packed red blood cells to improve the outcome for major trauma patients, before becoming the first to carry freeze-dried plasma in 2015, ensuring all patients had access to earlier transfusions, rather than having to wait until they reach hospital.
A Care Quality Commission (CQC) review of the service last year said the onboard medical teams provide such good medical care that more people than predicted (86%) survive, highlighting how ‘major incident packs’ onboard help them decide the order of treatment for patients successfully, using immediate action cards and labels according to the severity injuries.
The CQC also praised how the team’s care extends well beyond identifying the most suitable and available hospital and transferring them safely, with staff also following the progress of patients for 72 hours after hospital admission.
The information they gather is then used to assess the effectiveness of care provided, helping the team, for example, improve how they spot abdominal injuries on the scene and better recognise which incidents would most benefit from an ultrasound.
These are examples of how Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex is meeting standards of excellence at all times – standards we sometimes are sadly not always emulated in publicly funded hospital trusts.
Yes, air ambulance services are not funded by the Government, and rely solely on public donations to remain operational.
It is a matter many people are unaware of, and in 2017 a survey conducted by London’s Air Ambulance revealed that two thirds of people living inside the M25 were unaware that it is a charity.
Those surveyed thought funding for the air ambulance came from the NHS, central or local government.
The cost of keeping Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex operational is more than £11.4 million each year, which without doubt is a huge amount to continue finding through donations. It is why events such as the ‘Air Aid Ball’ are so important to support.
We certainly support the recent calls for greater Government funding, and it is interesting to see that a petition calling for full funding support, launched by a woman whose sister was airlifted to hospital and later sadly died, has attracted more than 100,000 signatures, meaning the matter must now be debated in Parliament.
However, unless that happens, it will be down to businesses and the general public to ensure these crucial services not only remain in the skies, but increasingly are so.
Such a service not being available would be much more costly than the millions of pounds needed to keep them operational.
It would lead to avoidable loss of many lives, and that is not something anybody wants to see.