London’s Whitechapel-based air ambulance will not be in operation for almost three weeks whilst it undergoes annual maintenance checks.
London’s Air Ambulance charity has said that, despite there being no helicopter in action, it will continue to “deliver the same medical team, expertise and equipment to scene” via rapid response cars instead.
The charity works in partnership with the London Ambulance Service and Barts Health NHS Trust, and services all London boroughs including Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Croydon and Hackney.
The helicopter itself is based on the roof of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
The charity, which treated 163 patients last year, will be launching an appeal at the end of January in the hope of raising funds to secure a second air ambulance.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “The London Air Ambulance helicopter is currently undergoing its annual maintenance service which is due to take approximately 18 days. During this time we will continue to provide 24/7 advanced trauma care for London.”
“In 2015 there is currently no appropriately equipped helicopter available to operate under the current multi pilot rules. The intended acquisition of a second helicopter by London’s Air Ambulance will permanently resolve this issue.”
“When seconds count, the most effective way to reach critically injured patients is by helicopter.”
To make a donation and register your interest in the January appeal, text HELICOPTER to 70800 to donate £5.