Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced in the budget yesterday that air ambulance charities are set to receive £10m in government funding to further aid their services. This news came as a welcome surprise to the 21 charities across England, Scotland and Wales that operate 39 lifesaving helicopters.
At this stage, it is unknown how this money will be distributed but if we envisage an even split between the 21 air ambulances, this means each will receive £476,000. This money will go direct to fund the helicopters that fly to the aid of the public every day, however it doesn’t change the fact that these charities will be reliant on continued donations to maintain the service. It cost an average of £2.5m a year to run an air ambulance, for many of the charities it costs more than this if they operate extended hours, so whilst the envisaged £476,000 is a welcome boost, this money will effectively be used within 2 months.